What Not to Do on Facebook
Neha Mutreja lists some common mistakes that you must avoid while promoting your photography on social networking websites like Facebook.
Earlier, the best way to promote your work online was through photo sharing websites like Flickr, Picasa and deviantART. However, in the past two years, the popularity of social networking has meant that the importance of Facebook and Twitter has grown several times. These websites are popular and have almost become like an adda, where photography is put up, discussed and dissected. But then, though these websites seem easy to use, there are several things that photographers must keep in mind while using them. There are a few common mistakes that most people end up doing, and these are what you must avoid.
Facebook is a great way to promote your photos, but you should avoid a few practices that may end up irritating your target audience.
Leaving Your Profile Empty
Creating an account or Page on Facebook is simple, but it is pointless if you leave the profile anonymous. Add all essential details like contact information and the link to your work, so that potential clients can get in touch with you. Also, integrate your profile and Page with a blog/twitter feed/website as it is gateway for you to direct everyone to your work.
Creating an Organisational Mess
This is quite a common mistake, wherein photographers upload random images on to Facebook and do not segregate them into the right folders. Give eyecatching titles to your albums to generate curiousity and organise your work well.
Tagging People All the Time
Once you have uploaded a photograph, how do you think you are going to attract attention to it? Getting the right people to follow your work on Facebook is something that requires sustained dedication, and not arbitrary tagging. Being tagged as one amongst a hundred users can be a big put off for most people. This is because every subsequent comment, after someone is tagged, is sent as an individual notification. This also gets sent as a separate e-mail to the user—which can be quite an irritant.
Instead of tagging people all the time, set up a Page or a Group, which lets you send regular, but well spaced out updates.
Not Being Selective
A website should showcase only your best work, but that does not mean that Facebook should be the dumping ground for all your other photos. In addition to your regular work, you can put up some behind-the-scenes photographs or pictures that show how you planned and executed a particular idea.
Not Creating a Buzz
Firstly, inform your close friends that you are using Facebook. Also, ensure that the followers of your blog, Twitter feed and website are also made aware of your presence on the site. Creating the right amount of buzz without being irritating or sounding like a marketing machine is an art. The easiest way to do it is to update your page regularly, but not all the time. Keep your updates timely, for instance, at 9am on every alternate day. This will make people expect your updates and wait for it, instead of ignoring it as just another post.
Indulging in Mass Communication
Yes, it is surely easier to send the same message to every contact of yours, but nobody likes reading the same message that has visibly been marked to fifty other people. The best way to really engage your followers is to be a little more personalised.
Do not make a few updates and then forget about the Page. Just going online and being on Facebook is not enough. It is important to keep in touch with people too.
Being Unsure of Technical Parameters
Since there are chances of theft, it is better to not upload high resolution files. That said, the picture should look good and not be pixellated. While downsizing photos, ensure they are around 900 pixels on the longer side, and the compression settings are such that the quality does not suffer.
Creating a buzz without sounding like a marketing machine is an art in itself.
Using Ugly Watermarks
This is a precautionary measure taken by many photographers, but watermarks detract from the visual appeal of an image. If someone really has bad intentions, they can always remove the watermark in Photoshop. It is best to upload a low resolution image without a watermark.
Facebook is a great tool to market your work without spending any money, but how well you do it depends on your social networking skills. Clarity of thought and a smart, but subtle strategy are the two most important things than can make your work popular. Do remember that one cannot achieve fame overnight. Most importantly, your work should speak for itself. The best marketing strategies can prove pointless if your photography is not exciting.
Facebook or Other Sites?
Facebook is not the only forum that can help you market your work. Every few years, there is a new social media and photo sharing website that catches everyone’s attention. Flickr, deviantART, 500px are some other popular sites you can use. The best thing would be to cross integrate them, by putting up information about your Flickr stream on your Facebook page and so on.
Facebook has a feature called Timeline, which lists the recent activity of all your ‘Friends’ and the Pages and Groups that you follow. Even Timelines can be displayed in terms of the most recent posts, and also the most popular ones. Now, how irritating is it if one person ends up occupying half the space on your Timeline? That is why, you should avoid posting multiple posts and rather club together as much content as you can, in one post. If you are about to put up an interesting photo series or information about some activity, consider putting up a teaser, but again, without spamming Timelines.