A Guide To The New Facebook Pages Timeline

You knew it was bound to happen. In January when Facebook changed Profiles to Timeline, you knew Pages would soon follow in its footsteps. And sure enough, they’ve just announced the launch of Facebook Timeline for Pages. But what does it mean for your business? How will it help you attract more business? A variety of new features are now available to help you out – here is how they work and how to use them to benefit your business.

Step One Activate Your Timeline

When you open up your Facebook Page, you will find a Preview button located at the top of your Page. Or you can visit the Timeline for Pages manager and select the Page you wish to add Timeline too.

One you enter your Page Preview, you can tour the new features, redesign your Page until you are happy with it, and Publish it once you are set. You can Publish it at any time. But be aware that on March 30, 2012, your Timeline will automatically take affect, so be sure to play around with it between now and then. [Read more…]

8 Ways To Gain More Followers On Facebook And Keep Them Interacting

According to many of the top SEO companies that study social impact, the two things that matter most when using Facebook to gain authority within the search engines is:

1. The number of Facebook shares you have

2. The authority of your sharers

Which means if you want to rank well under your keywords and search terms, Facebook can help you do so… if you understand how to use Facebook. Its more than adding a few posts here and there. Facebook offers a wide array of tools that help you build your authority and get people interacting as well.

1. Implement the Facebook Like buttons

To make your blog posts more shareable, make sure you add the Facebook plugin to implement Like buttons both at the top and the bottom of each post. While the standard Facebook icon is acceptable, look into newer options as well. You can now incorporate other options into your Like options, including:

  • Versions that show thumbnails of friends
  • Widgets that allow people to add comments both to your blog and to Facebook

Make sure you put Like buttons both at the beginning and the end of your posts, and also include it next to highly visual content, such as videos and photographs. People are more likely to click the Like button if you give them a reason to do so.

2. Add a Facebook comments plugin

If you are a regular on any blog, you know one of the benefits of blogging is the ability to have comments at the end of each post. They allow interaction amongst your visitors and can really help you educate your readers just be carrying on normal conversations.

Blog comments are great to help you grow your blog, yet they do little for external growth. By incorporating a Facebook comments plugin into your blog, you can allow the interaction to flow between platforms. [Read more…]

How To Use The New Facebook Timeline

Facebook has announced that profiles will soon be disappearing, being replaced by Facebook Timeline. It’s a new interface equipped with multiple features, all of which are supposed to make your experience on Facebook easier and more beneficial for you and your friends.

Facebook is implementing it on a rollout schedule. Depending on what part of the world you are in, you may have already converted. If not, it will happen soon – they are hoping to have rollout completed in the next few weeks.

When you login, you will be notified you now have Timeline and will have seven days to complete it the way you choose before it goes live for your friends to see ( you can publish it earlier if you have it complete). Keep in mind Timeline is the new Profile – you won’t be able to go back and Profiles will disappear whether you convert or not.

While Timeline will not affect your Pages, it is important to keep in mind that when people look for you personally, your Timeline is what they will see. Choose what you want to show and what you want to hide – here are some tips for understanding the new Timeline.

1. Start With The Introduction

The quickest way to learn about Facebook Timeline is to head over and read through the Introduction feature. You’ll find a quick help section that will show you the new features and give you some tips to use on your own design.

[Read more…]

Your Photography As We Know It Is Dying

10 years ago the term “social media” had a completely different meaning then it does today.

Facebook? Twitter? What?

10 years ago things were changing – and they were changing rapidly. That much we knew.

But we had no idea how fast things would continue to change as we moved into a new era.

AOL had a huge market share. No more.

So did Microsoft. And General Motors. And Kodak.

But in every case we look at, something changed. Or in many cases, it didn’t change.

If we look at Google today, the reason it has become a huge player in the industry is because it never stops changing. It stays with its most successful product – a search engine – and continues to morph in all directions.

Facebook of six months ago is completely different than it is today. I know. I teach a Facebook class here at a local community college three to four times per year. Every time I begin the class I have to update it, and in some cases I have to completely rework my recommendations. It’s a never-ending evolution of growth and change – just like it should be.

The people at Google and at Facebook know the world is changing rapidly. And if they sit still too long, someone else will jump in and take their places. They are constantly moving, changing and morphing into the next phase of business.

And while its easy to see with companies in the technical sector, people tend to ignore the same changes in other industries and expect things to remain the same. Like photography for instance.

When digital first jumped into the scene, many photographers swore they would never make the change – they would retire long before they were ever required to pick up a digital camera or use a computer to manipulate an image.

And they were right. If you didn’t make the change and jump into it, life passed you by. They were forced to “retire” because they simply couldn’t keep up with what was happening – and expected – within the industry.

So the question for all of us now is

Who do you want to be? Do you want to be the AOL? Or do you want to be Facebook?

Are you ready to jump in and give things a try? Are you willing to test to find out what works and what doesn’t?

Not everything you do will win. Facebook tries many things, tests them for a while, and redesigns based on their findings. You may buy equipment, software, or online programs, only to find out they were a complete waste of time.

That’s okay. Because you learned something along the way. It made you focus in on your photography in a different way, learn something new, and apply it to the future of your business. Whether you continue using it or not, it will always be there guiding your future decisions.

Every step you take may not bring in a profit. But it will guide you towards success. The “wrong” moves teach you just as much as the right ones. But only if you apply it in the right way and use it to move you forward.

5 Reasons Not To Quit Facebook

A few months ago, I spoke with a friend who was fed up with Facebook. She spent way too much time on it, wasn’t quite sure how to bring her business into it, was tired of the constant “noise” in her newsfeed, and decided it was time to say goodbye. So with well over 500 friends in her list, she clicked the button and shut down her Facebook account.

A few weeks ago, I noticed she’s back on. With a few weeks away, she began wondering what everyone was doing, and started reading more information on building a business using Facebook Pages. So she headed back online and opened up her account. Now she’s at 200 friends, and is looking closely for guidance on how to use Facebook the right way this time.

She’s not alone. In fact I see people all the time that have a “Facebook breakdown” and make a quick decision to call it quits.

Would you do the same with your website?

Of course not. That’s your business.

Yet shutting down your Facebook account if you run a small business is pretty much doing just that.

Yes, Facebook is free. Yes, it has its own purposes. But it’s a tool you can use to attract and gain new clientele. If something like that has purpose, the last thing you should do is shut it down. Instead, take some time away  no one will realize you’re gone – and restrategize. Discover the true reason you want to use it, and start in again. You won’t have to rebuild your profiles and pages, add friends and followers, and you’ll have a much easier time of moving forward.

Facebook is the Social Reach of the World

Facebook has only been around a few years. The world survived before Facebook, and I’m pretty sure it would survive if Facebook suddenly went away. Yet Facebook has become the window of opportunity to learn all about your friends and family. If your niece posts new pictures of her baby, where else are you going to see them? If your son shares his college experiences, don’t you want to know what he’s doing? (Okay, maybe not) And what about the bookclub, yoga class and travel meetings? How will you ever know what’s going on without Facebook? Because people are on it all the time, it’s a great place to meet new people, network with new people, and find new clients. If you are in business, can you really ignore one of the most active places on Earth? [Read more…]

8 Creative Ways To Grow Your Photography Business With A Facebook Page

Have you built your Facebook Page, and are still wondering why more people haven’t liked your Page? Fans don’t automatically appear, ready to like you, follow you, and do business with you. People must be lured to your Page in hopes to attract enough people that will ultimately turn into a regular stream of business.

However, the greatest myth out there is that if you build a Page, advertise it to your entire list of friends and acquaintances, and you’ll quickly build up a respectable following. Unfortunately this strategy may actually backfire. If you’ve been on Facebook for a while, you probably have a variety of family and friends outside of your photography business. While they may love you and appreciate you own your own business, they probably don’t want to be marketed to again and again. You may suggest they like your page, and the suggestions are overlooked again and again because they simple aren’t THAT interested in the marketing side. Also, even if they do choose to like your Page, they probably won’t take an active part in discussions and commenting, and won’t help you grow your Page. Your Page is all about building relationships with prospects and customers, and use those relationships to build your business over time.

Instead of relying on your family and friends, lets look at 12 creative ways you can get more fans to your Facebook Page.

Tip 1: Embed Facebook Widgets on your Site and Blog

Facebook makes it easy for people to share your content and information in a variety of ways. Select from a variety of Social Plugins to place throughout your website and blog.

Use the Live Stream plugin to share activity and comments in real time as they interact.

Use Facepile to showcase the Facebook profile photos of users who have liked your page.

Or use the Activity Feed plugin to show users what their friends are doing on your site through likes and comments.

All are an excellent way of building your fans by allowing them to interact with people they already know through Facebook.

Tip 2: Invite Your Current Email, Snail Mail and Ezine Subscribers

While you shouldn’t invite family and friends you are connected to on Facebook, by all means promote to your current client lists. If you send regular emails or ezines out to your prospects and clients, make sure you include a link to your Facebook Page on all of your outgoing correspondence. And if you send postcards out to entice your clients, why not send a special one and invite them to your Facebook Page? Instead of telling them about it, give them a reason to join. Maybe a coupon or discount when they join, or even the enticement of being able to see their photos on Facebook when they come in for a portrait. [Read more…]

The Guide To Growing Your Facebook Page With A Contest

It sounds great in theory. You set up a Facebook Page, and wait for people to join. But in the end it’s not that easy. And you really can’t market to 25 friends – you’ll never grow your business that way.

So maybe its time to look for a new way to promote your Page – how about using sweepstakes and contests?

A sweepstakes is defined as the winners being chosen by random drawing. A contest is the winners are selected either by jury and/or audience voting and the entries are evaluated according to the skill of the submission. A photo contest is a great example of a contest. And while the two are distinctly different, they both have potential to help you grow your Facebook list, and increase the number of people interested in what you do.

Understand The Rules

Before you start planning your promotion, first spend the time reviewing Facebook’s promotions guidelines. They have changed significantly along the way, and its important to understand their rules before you begin.

For example, Facebook clearly states that your promotion

Must not use Facebook features or functionality as a promotion’s registration or entry mechanism. For example, the act of liking a Page or checking in to a Place cannot automatically register or enter a promotion participant.

They are very specific about what you can and cannot do. And if you don’t stick with their guidelines, you risk having your account deleted – so it’s important to stick with the rules.

Once you’ve read through the rules, the planning starts.

We ran several contests about a year ago, and ended up doubling our Likes month after month. It can be very effective; but it does take a little planning.

Who Is The Contest For?

As a photographer, consider what type of followers you would like. Are you looking for potential customers for portrait sessions? New brides to be? Or maybe you’re selling a camera bag you’ve created – you need photographers who would love what you have to offer.

Once you have your market defined, its time to think about what they would truly like.

I usually look for things that will get the greatest number of people participating. Giving away a free portrait session won’t attract a large number of people. Giving away a gift basket with fun photo related items will. Think outside the box. It doesn’t have to be worth a ton of money – just be something a ton of people will like.

Now its time to set up your sweepstakes or contest. While you can do much of the work yourself, I’ve also found a shortcut to the process by using a third party system.

Making It Easy

Wildfire is a promotional application that makes it easy to set up contests on your blog, Facebook account and your Twitter account. It isn’t free, but if you use their basic account, you can run a month long promotion for around $35. And if you gain even one new client through the process, you’ll more than make your money back. They have many different promotion types, including sweepstakes, contests, coupons and quizzes, and by walking through the system you’ll learn more about each and how to decide which is right for you. Start small and grow in sophistication as you learn more and become more successful with it.

While Wildfire is what we used for our promotions, there are other companies out there that offer similar services – Offerpop, North Social, Bulbstorm and Votigo are just a few.

Then start talking about your contest. Blog about it. Send a postcard out to your client list. And talk it up at your networking groups. The only way to grow it is to promote it. It doesn’t work on its own – you still have to do some promoting. But if the offer is right and they are having fun with it, you’ll quickly see your numbers grow.

Will Facebook Comments Be The Way Of The Future?

One of the reasons I fell in love with blogging is it allowed me the opportunity to connect with people all over the world. I could write an article and post it, and people can comment and write what they choose in response to what I’ve written. It’s a great way to communicate, and to add value to what we do every day.

A few months ago Facebook came out with a new social plugin that people can use to power the comment section of their blogs. I’ve played around with it on several of my sites. It offers two main benefits over using the typical comments section that comes with your blog: (you can get the plugin here as well)

Social Relevance: Comments Box uses social signals to surface the highest quality comments for each user. Comments are ordered to show users the most relevant comments from friends, friends of friends, and the most liked or active discussion threads, while comments marked as spam are hidden from view.

Distribution: Comments are easily shared with friends or with people who like your Page on Facebook. If a user leaves the “Post to Facebook” box checked when she posts a comment, a story appears on her friends’ News Feed indicating that she’s made a comment on your website, which will also link back to your site.

Are companies accepting this as the new norm in commenting?

This past week, Big Picture announced it is moving to the Facebook comments platform. And I completely agree with their reasoning.

1. Facebook is the major player in the online world. With a growing base expected to reach 700 million users in the next few months, and a worldwide presence with over 70 different languages, you can’t ignore it as a marketing tool.

2. Commenting with this system means your exposure increases tenfold across many platforms instead of staying within your site or blog. Because people have the opportunity to include their comments in their newsfeeds, you have the potential of increasing the viewers of your content and information.

3. No more anonymous comments with rude and vulgar remarks. This stops when you require people to use their real names.

While more people are starting to use this new form of commenting, I do think it will be even more commonplace here in the coming months. The true reason for social is to easily share anything anywhere, any time. This makes it even more possible.

Are you using Facebook comments on your site?

Is Facebook Killing Your Website?

Just a few short years ago, the online world was pretty simple. Design a website, make it pleasing, and you could find success online.

Then things started changing. Social hit and nothing has been the same since. While MySpace gave a first shot at connecting up with like-minded people, it wasn’t until Facebook made waves that we began to see an alternative to building a presence that is both professional and personable.

The best feature of Facebook is it’s free. Where else can you create a presence and market your business – all for the price of FREE? So of course many new start up photography businesses are using it instead of building a website.

But is that the best course of action? Can you really build a strong, successful business with just a free Facebook account?

Yes. And no.

Facebook’s War On Websites

Historically we went online to search out content relative to what we were searching for. If someone typed in a keyword or phrase, they were looking for a website filled with content that could answer their questions, and possible provide them with enough information that would convert them into a customer.

Today, time is short. And our methods of gaining information make the necessity for short information even greater. If we’re standing in line at the post office and do a quick search from a smart phone, we want short tidbits – directions, 140 characters of content, photos, videos, an app to get the details we need. Which makes the Facebook platform perfect for what we need.

We can use a Facebook app to get to our account. See what’s new in our newsfeed. And connect to any messages or requests we’ve received since we logged in the last time. The “like” feature has added tremendous value over the past few months because we can control what we want to see and what we want to share. It helps build your credibility as a company.

Dig Deeper: How To Use The Facebook Like Button

With a few simple steps, you can create a Facebook Page that emulates your brand. And because you can build as many “tabs” into your page as you desire, your Page can be quite complex.

Dig Deeper: How To Make Your Facebook Page Attract Customers

And with many of the apps now available both within Facebook itself, and outside with third party developers, your Facebook Page can do just about anything your traditional website can do. With galleries, shopping carts, and more, a customized Page is just a few clicks away. [Read more…]

How To Make Your Facebook Page Attract Customers

Putting up a Facebook Page is easy. Click on the Create A Page button, and it walks you through a few screens to add content.

The challenge comes from turning your page from a stand-alone, no one knows you’re there Page, into a Page that brings in new clientele every day. After working with Facebook steadily for a couple of years now, I’ve discovered there are four key steps that will help you move from a Page know one knows about, to a Page everyone raves about.

Use The Features

One of the reasons Facebook is so popular is its user friendliness. You can check in on your desktop, laptop, tablet or smart phone. You can use your browser window, or use an app. Phones, cameras and video equipment now come with “push one button” technology that allows you to go from concept to sharing in a matter of minutes. And in today’s me-society, that’s powerful stuff. Everyone is a reporter. Everyone stays connected.

With Facebook features, all of this is easy.

It may seem overwhelming at first, but most features can be enabled and used in a matter of minutes. Start with the basics. Then commit to trying something new everyday.

“I’m scared to post anything. I know it will be there forever, what if I make a mistake?”

I had a client ask me that recently. So we talked for a while. We had just set up her page, and she had 25 people liking her page – most were friends. With 25 friends, they will be forgiving. So I had her start out small. She photographed a few images on a hike, and sent them to her Page with a simple caption. She included photos of a conference she attended, and learned to tag the people in the photographs. And she made a couple of “mistakes” – spelling errors, and incomplete thoughts. But she learned, and is now much more confident about posting. And her friend base is growing in the process.

Develop A Strategy

What if I asked you what your marketing strategy is? What would your answer be?

I’m betting you would have a variety of ideas in place.

  • Advertise in the local magazine every month.
  • Monthly mailers to my client base.
  • The local bridal show.

I’m sure you have a number of campaigns and tools in place in order to keep clients coming in all the time.

Now let me ask what your Facebook strategy is? Hmmm… [Read more…]