While it is a tough process to build that stack of followers to your blog, fan page, twitter, or even personal facebook page – I think there’s a lack of concentration on providing VALUE to that fan-base to reward them for taking the time to subscribe to you.
Today I’m going to talk about the common habits that I’ve seen across the digital social pipelines that might be HINDERING YOU from growing your fan-base, and with that – potential business!
1. Strong Personality - this can go either way, but it’s a very thin line between love & hate. By expressing your personality to a strong extent on facebook, you take greater & greater risk and narrow down your target demographic with each post. As a positive of that, I think your fan-base IDENTIFIES with you that much stronger. Here are a few categories *I* choose not to get myself involved in, mainly because I think it’s not worth the squeeze – as in, I don’t think by posting my opinion I’ll strengthen my followers even though I’ll be losing some at the same time.
Politics - just not going to even say anything about this one, or the 99% – even though they’re all just a bunch of complainers. (Kidding…kind of)
Racism - Making racist remarks is a great way to get people talking about you in the WRONG WAY. I can’t believe I have to even post about this one, but I have seen some photographers post some edgy stuff before.
Religion - look for an entire post on this tomorrow. While they’re are rules, sometimes you need to break them. I’ll show you how I’ll identify with my target market with this exact post.
Negativity - Duh. No one likes a negative Natasha.
Offensive Language - While I don’t personally mind it, it might come across as ‘unprofessional’.
There are certain people, however – that I intentionally keep on my friends-list because they’re updates are so dramatic/emotional/dark-humor funny that I feel they make logging-in interesting. Here are a couple examples:
2. Updating too often - I was just having a conversation the other day in which the person mentioned to me, “I know what Beth is eating for breakfast, I know she went to the hair salon, I know who she went to lunch with, I knew how she was bored at the DMV – it’s just like, COME ON!”
When the average person has about 300-400 friends on Facebook, it might be hard to get an idea of what they’re feed looks like when you have 2,000. If you’re going to post a lot, don’t make it mundane – and if it’s mundane – make it a little interesting with a reason for them to enjoy what you’re posting. Give them something to talk about & make their own jokes!
3. SPAM - There was a recent study about why users de-friend on Facebook, and “trying to sell” something is #3 on the list. (I’ll get to the others at #5 on this list) I don’t know about you, but whenever I receive ‘event invites’ on facebook from people I don’t know very well, it’s tempting to remove them as a friend. If there wasn’t the feature to block users from sending those invites, I probably would! That’s just an example. At the furthest extent, I’m willing to bet some people will even remove you as a friend for notifications showing up ” inviting you to their page”. Yeah, it’s extreme. But I’m willing to guess that people will do this – WITHOUT EVEN LOOKING AT YOUR CONTENT. (Even if you’re hitting it out of the park!)
Here’s a great method I use to avoid running into this problem – create a “list” – I just use “AAA” so it shows up first on the drop-down menu. Whenever you add somebody new, add them to this list – after about 50 or 100 people are on it, send out the invite to your business page to that list. Now that you’ve sent the invites to those people, delete that list and make a new one called “AA” for the next 50 or 100 people. Lather, rinse, repeat – avoid hitting them with the same notification again and again until they are tempted to delete you. (Some people just don’t like business pages!)
Another great technique is to just post the link to your page for others to freely click on to it & not get excited to see a notification only to realize it was just a pull to your page. I like this technique because it shows your follower count & allows others to “share” more easily.
Another note I want to mention on this one is posting about sales, specials, or your business ALL THE TIME. It’s important not to have a constant stream of advertising going out in your feed, others don’t want to just think of you as that guy that always tries selling stuff on his page. Which leads me to my next point…
4. Lack of variety - While this may seem hand in hand with SPAM, I’ll explain how it’s a bit different. Yes, of course you should post other things along with your promotional updates, but make sure that you have ‘variety’ within those promotional updates. I’ll be frank – while I love seeing photographers promoting their business & killing it doing what they do, if I’m seeing the same kind of sessions at the same kind of locations with the same kind of posing, I’m tempted to UNSUBSCRIBE. And think about someone that’s NOT in the photography industry. You think they want to see that kind of stuff day after day? Mix it up. Have some variety. TALK about what’s different in your headline – and make sure it’s not just their names.
*Sidenote – it’s very tempting to express your confidence in your work, but sometimes the phrase “Killing it” just doesn’t work.
“I just totally KILLED this mother & baby session!!” Thanks.
5. Inconsistency - The flipside of ‘posting too much’. I’ll admit, I’ve been guilty of this one in the past. This last summer I probably went about 3 months or so without blogging. This probably lost me quite a bit of followers. Was it because I was short on work? No – but I’m willing to make a bet that part of my fan base assumed it was. (It was actually the busiest I have ever been)
I can’t count how many times I see someone promote one of their other avenues – only when GOING to that page they’re promoting to see that it’s been stagnant for months! Why would I follow that? Moral support I suppose, but it’s not going to win over the masses. And it’s not going to get your fans spreading the word about you, either.
I think it was Gary Vaynerchuk who said that “if you’re not going to maintain a certain avenue of your brand promotion, it’s better to not even have that avenue”. Couldn’t agree more. It’s like a store with it’s lights dimmed while all the others around it are bright white. People will assume there’s just not much going on…try to maintain posting at least 2-3 times per week to keep things “active”. Your competition is anyways…
6. Over-saturation – Inconsistency’s ugly cousin. While it’s important to maintain all avenues of promotion for your brand, I think choosing wisely on which avenues you are present on is EVEN MORE important. With so much going on in the world of social media, it can be a full time job managing all outlets. Facebook (personal and private), Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Tumblr, 500px, Foursquare, Instagram, and Myspace. Okay, that last one was a joke – but I feel like those are the major avenues that you’ll be reaching a significant base of people from. I’d say a healthy balance is to choose about 3-4 of them, and go at’em hard. Several times a week.
For the most part, just try to keep a healthy balance and go hard at hitting your target demographic is. If your target demographic is the black panthers – you might lose me, but just be willing to make that risk on those black panthers wanting some holiday portraits done to send out Christmas cards next year, or else you might be out of luck!
That’s it for today, hope this helps!
In the spirit of Festivus, I’d love for you all to leave a grievance or challenge to a feat of strength in the comment section, along with maybe some feedback on this post.
PS – Tomorrow’s post will probably lose me a few followers, but it’s going to be a good one – so check in around noon!