Photo by Harry Cunningham on Unsplash
Marketing constantly evolves. It might seem like just as you get used to one way of promoting yourself, something new comes along that makes your current strategy seem ineffective and outdated. As new and innovative marketing strategies come about, it’s crucial for professional photographers who own their own businesses to be flexible and adapt to these changes.
There’s no denying that social media is one of the top marketing platforms. That’s why building your following, connecting with current and potential clients, sharing news, and making your work stand out are so important. The thing is social media, too, is always evolving. Here’s the good news: social media isn’t going anywhere. It is still one of the best places to focus your photography business’ marketing campaigns.
This guide will focus on one crucial part of social media marketing—Facebook Live. According to online media agency 99Firms, Facebook’s streaming video platform has recorded excellent growth recently with daily watch time quadrupling in a single year. Facebook Live broadcasts get six times as many interactions and ten times more comments than regular videos. Those stats are hard to ignore as a digital marketer.
Facebook Live is a tool that lets you broadcast videos live to your followers through the Facebook app and desktop website. All you need is a smartphone with a camera, a good connection, and a little bit of practice. The technical side of it is easy, but making something engaging and entertaining takes a little more creativity and thought.
After all, just because you’re “going live,” doesn’t mean people will watch your video. But with Facebook Live, you are offering your followers unfiltered, unedited, relatable content, which in turn makes them more you more relatable as a professional and more authentic as a brand.
Before you go to live on Facebook, it might be helpful to brainstorm how you want to present yourself on camera. It may feel awkward at first, but the tips and tricks below can help make getting started a little less intimidating.
When people book a photographer, they want to get to know the person they’re going to be working with. Facebook Live gives you a unique opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge of your craft, showcase your personality, and prove that you’re the right fit for the job. Basically, it allows you to show prospective clients a little bit more about who you are before they even meet you in-person.
Consider starting with a simple introduction of you and your business as your first broadcast on Facebook Live. Set up a simple shot so that your face is clearly lit with no distractions in the background, and tell a quick story about yourself. You can talk about how you got your start as a photographer, how you built your brand, what your values are, and even showcase your sense of humor. You want to be seen as relatable and approachable, someone they could see as a friend in addition to being an excellent photographer.
As professional photographers, people are truly fascinated by the work we do. It might even look and feel very glamorous to an outsider. This sense of wonder is something you might hone in on with behind-the-scenes content.
If you have an interesting or unusual photoshoot coming up, use Facebook Live to create a video diary of the days leading up to the session and record what goes on during the actual process. Props, wardrobe, models, planning—whatever lets the audience experience “a day in the life of a successful photographer”. Behind-the-scenes broadcasts like this is both educational and entertaining and will help get potential clients excited about booking a session with you.
Do you go to places that most people don’t get access to? Maybe it’s on the bus with a presidential candidate. Or maybe it’s a shoot in an exotic location that people dream about visiting. Take your Facebook audience on your adventures with you via live video when you go somewhere unusual. This lets them feel like they’re right there with you, and they can get a sneak peek into what you’re doing.
To avoid legal trouble, you should always get someone’s permission before including them in a live broadcast.
Chances are, your audience will really like what you’re doing, and you’ll start to build a following. It probably won’t happen overnight, but if you’re consistent, growth will be steady. The engagement that you get will be authentic, organic, and lasting. You may find that people who work in associated industries want to appear on your Facebook Live. This is a great opportunity to build brand partnerships and market your services together on the broadcast as a package deal.
Facebook Live is also a very cost-effective way of reaching fans. Because it’s live, people don’t expect the content to be over-produced. In fact, the point is to be authentic and real, which means you won’t have to spend a ton of money to make your marketing content stick. Especially now, live video gets a lot of interaction, and you can use this fact to drive traffic to your business’ Facebook page. It’s also a great way to test out new content or ideas and see if it is engaging before you put any actual money behind it.
Facebook values interaction on its platform. If you can get your audience to comment, like, and share your Live videos, you’ll be rewarded with even more organic engagement. That’s just the way it works.
Think about topics that get people fired up and engaged with what you’re doing. Ask questions, look for feedback, highlight your most active followers, and always remember to thank everyone for interacting with and supporting you. It may seem awkward in the beginning, but it’s worth pushing past that initial feeling. As you keep practicing, you’ll continue to get better, find your stride, and maybe even start to enjoy it.
For more information, check out the article "How to Maximize Your Social Media for Better Business Results" from Professional Photographer magazine.