The plight of non-photographers
A common conundrum for many Facebook admins is coming up with photos for posts. It’s a commonly-known fact that photos and videos generates far more engagement than text-only posts. If you’re not a photographer, this can be a daunting reality. Social Media is a marathon. It takes a level of commitment that many find difficult to keep. For many who aren’t accustomed to snapping and sharing photos, posting pictures with posts daily over the lifetime of a Facebook page – years! – can drain the ‘ol creative juices.
This was the case recently for a veterinary clinic. They found themselves looking for creative ways to generate beautiful looking posts, but lacked the necessary photos. They reached out to us for help.
My team and I had lots of ideas for posts, but as we began to discuss ways for taking photos at the vet, we realized it was going to be a challenge. Our strategy was to promote top pet health practices in order to create awareness for the many benefits of visiting the vet regularly.
Let’s define “good” photos
Before I continue, you should know what I mean by “good” photos. First, what I don’t mean.
It doesn’t mean you have to be a professional photographer, or have an expensive camera. An iPhone has an incredibly powerful camera. There are entire communities devoted to sharing outstanding photos from smartphones. It doesn’t take special training or equipment. But, it does take a good strategy, and a little good taste.
There are several key criteria for “good”. Good photos for business must be (1) relevant to the strategy of the page content and (2) original. If possible, stay away from stock photos (photos available online). Pam Grossman, a highly-influential curator says, “never before has the human race been better at spotting a fake. The viewer’s eye has become a lot more sophisticated. And what it wants – above all – is something real.” Stock photos should only be a last resort, or used for a very specific purpose. There are certainly situations where a stock photo can be quite effective. As a general rule though, it’s far better to use photos you own.
In summary, (1) be confident – even if you just have a smartphone as a camera, (2) create very specific goals for your content and (3) do not use stock photos.
Turns out veterinary clinics don’t take kindly to being used as photo studios
I quickly realized it would be a struggle to generate relevant photos on my own due to the nature of the vet clinic. As is the case for many businesses, taking the time to snap pictures during busy work hours in a highly-efficient clinic environment posed a particularly difficult challenge for us.
So, I decided to take another route. I looked outside the box, err, outside the clinic.
Here it is. Here’s my big, brilliant – nay, revolutionary – idea.
Asking followers to help
I asked the Facebook page if I could have their photos.
Quickly, we started to receive exactly the kind of photos we wanted. To be specific, they were photos of pets who were (1) well-groomed, (2) playing outdoors, and (3) captioned with names, and often paired with a fun story. Photos like these, I surmised, were the perfect appeal for effectively telling our message and engaging the interests of our audience.
Today, we find ourselves in a beautiful reality. With pride, the Facebook page audience is handing over perfect photos to my team. We reward them by mentioning them by name (with permission). This reinforces our appreciation by recognizing them as great pet-owners. A secondary benefit of this process has been the increased brand loyalty among our followers. They’re much more likely to become actively-sharing Facebook followers.
And, you know what that means…
The perfect user-submitted, word-of-mouth-powered, mega-machine
Isn’t it obvious? When individuals take the time to submit photos to your page, it means two things (1) they really like your business and (2) their Facebook friends will see the activity in their News Feed. And (bonus) they’re more likely to share your posts.
Hence, a beautiful cycle begins. Our page followers engage. We share perfect photo posts. Their friends engage. And our page grows. The Social Media/word-of-mouth machine powers along at record speed!
Meanwhile, my camera is collecting dust.