Everyone (including us) is complaining about the recent changes to Facebook’s news feed. We get it: interaction and visibility on your posts is way down. You’re following the same Facebook strategy as before, but getting vastly different results. What’s up with that, Facebook?
Based on our analysis of their recent algorithm changes, we’ll break it down simply: Facebook needs to make money...and they’re using the unpredictability of their newsfeed to do it. Facebook earns revenue from businesses shelling out cash to make their content more visible to more viewers; according to their explanation of the newsfeed, Facebook’s goal is to “show people the right content at the right time.” Because Facebook’s idea of showing the right stuff at the right moment revolves around generating revenue from users like you, it is fundamentally at odds with your goal, which is probably to use Facebook as a free (or relatively low cost) form of advertising. After all, you need to make money too.
Facebook has figured out a complicated, scientific way to show news stories--that infamous, shifty algorithm--that involves posts’ “quality,” interaction, engagement, age, and relevance, as well as your depth of connection with who posts them. In fact, according to Facebook, over 100,000 factors could be controlling the posts appearing in your news feed. In other words, whether your content gets displayed in a news feed--if you pay to boost the post or not--is utterly out of your control, now more than ever. Facebook is forcing you to adapt to its ever-changing rules.
So what can you do? Diversify your marketing efforts. In our opinion (which is bolstered by our company data), email marketing is more important than ever. Blogs continue to drive significant traffic and visibility. Content is still king; you just might have to move your kingdom. Brainstorm how you can expand your marketing to grow beyond a reliance on Facebook. For many photography businesses, creating content/resizing photos/tagging and interacting with your Facebook community takes a significant amount of time and energy. What if you spent that 2-10 hours a week growing your subscriber list, writing a helpful how-to blog post for your clients, or (gasp!) networking in person? Think about how you can make your clients--past, present, and future--feel good about your business and your brand. Send them a kind email or write them a thoughtful note. Mail them some wallet-sized images. Get them talking offline, then direct them back to your online presence.
Make people want to sign up for your newsletter by offering a gift--a small discount for a future session or a token print. Make people want to visit your blog by transforming it into a valuable, inspirational place to be. Make people want to visit your Facebook page, not because it pops into their newsfeed, but because they like you, your art, and the content and services you provide. Take Facebook for what it is (or what it has become): an online space for connection and the occasional booking or referral, not as an overarching marketing strategy. That will move your business forward, far beyond paying to boost your posts. Because ultimately, a chorus of complaints won’t make Facebook stop doing what’s best for their business. And you need to do what’s best for your own.
~ The F Stops Here is an exclusive collection of articles by Design Aglow, designed to be used and shared by photographers. Look for this column twice monthly here on the Design Aglow Blog and feel free to grab & share on your site, blog and/or social media pages with a byline and link to DesignAglow.com.
From a very early age I loved taking pictures and looking at them in magazines and books, but the art of photography captured my heart when I was a teenager, on my first overseas trip to Wales. From that point, I began shooting with a little film SLR and having my friend model for me. In college I took some digital photography and visual communication courses as part of my communication studies major, and decided to pursue a career in photography. I became a legal business and took my first paid client at age 20, and it's been quite a journey and adventure over the past nine years.
I secretly bought a mail-order 35mm camera when I was 15, and took lots of ordinary photos of animals and nature for several years. Although I majored in art and studied photography in college, my career started in marketing and advertising, from the client service end. Then I had the most beautiful baby, found my old camera and realized how much I love photographing people.