When I first started my photography business, using a Facebook Business Page was like a gold mine. Stroll with me down memory lane if you will…for all you newbies out there…there was this glorious thing, where you would post something on your Facebook business page…and all the people who had “liked” your page…actually SAW it.
I know, it’s so crazy to think about, a post actually being seen in the Facebook newsfeed. But it’s true. Your posts were seen, tags were seen by client’s friends and they jumped over to like your page too- it was so easy. And free!! Building your Facebook page likes were an absolute must, and everyone knew it. Brands and businesses worked diligently to build their likes with consistent posting, sharing, and giveaways- getting up to thousands and thousands of followers.
And then… Zuckerberg turned the switch. As we all know, it’s now “pay to play”. A mere fraction of those who have chosen to follow your page with a “like” actually see what you post from a Facebook business page these days. I have watched the frustration of those who worked so hard to build their many thousands of likes, now barely reach a percentage with their important updates and promotions.
It was a lesson I paid very close attention to. I knew that I needed to from that moment on be very aware of any marketing strategies that I wasn’t in control of.
Social media is a crazy wonderful thing, and it’s exciting to live in the age that we do with the technology that is so readily available to us as business owners. But I don’t control any of the social media platforms that I use. Any of them could change tomorrow. In fact, in reality, any of your social media accounts could even DISAPPEAR tomorrow if they so wanted. Along with all your likes, follows, comments, and retweets. I know, it kind of makes me light headed thinking about it too.
Instagram is most definitely my favorite platform as of late, and I know I am not alone. For the most part, I feel like I see the recent postings of everyone I choose to follow, unlike Facebook. It’s a great social community builder, and I have even booked multiple families who found me because I share my portrait work there. Business owners have been paying attention. Using multiple hashtags, loop giveaways, and comment strategies to daily increase that number of likes.
Yesterday I shared about how important understanding the basics of SEO are to getting found online, and my top three tips for boosting your google rank. But what I wanted to share with you today, is that I don’t depend on SEO entirely for my marketing. Just like I don’t depend on Facebook entirely, or Instagram entirely, or any other marketing strategy that I am not in control of. I use them, and learn them- absolutely, but it is so important to have a marketing plan that involves the things you DO control.
Two spaces that I reach my business audience that I am in control of is my website & blog, and my email list. Even if you aren’t the Monday-Friday everyday blogger, having a space where you can share content with your followers that YOU are in control of is SO important! It was actually another huge reason that I committed to blogging more regularly last summer- because I knew I was starting to depend too much on social media platforms that could all be gone tomorrow. And while that could be only disappointing in my personal life, it could be devastating for a business that depended on it!
And let’s face it, email isn’t going anywhere! It’s one of my biggest regrets in my business, that I didn’t see the value of an email list before I actually had the need for one. That I let YEARS go by without collecting emails from those who wanted to learn from me, connect with my story, or follow my portrait work. But I see the importance now, so I have been working hard at creating content that is WORTH signing up for, because it’s a privilege to land in someone’s inbox. There are a bunch of platforms to use for this- I use Mailchimp and it’s free to get started!
I hope this inspires you to really think about what marketing strategies you are in control of when it comes to reaching your audience and what you REALLY depend on. It’s something I wish that someone had shared with me when I first started!