cameraSeveral months ago, I realized our Facebook page was, well, kind of bad. Sure, we had optimized the page, added a Timeline photo and were posting regularly. But we weren’t getting the kind of engagement required to help our page realize its full inbound marketing potential. As a new, inexperienced social media manager at an agency that touts its expertise in social media marketing, it was my job to make sure our page was serving its purpose as a branding tool and piece of our overall marketing strategy.

I started by taking a look at what bigger brands were having success with on their pages and adding social media marketing blogs to my daily reading. My biggest initial takeaway was the fact that photos seemed to be driving a ton of Likes and comments for both the big brands and social media marketers. With all the changes Facebook had made in the last year or so to make its network more photo-friendly, it seemed logical that photos should provide the core for a winning social media marketing strategy.

Around the same time, I got my first smart phone (I know, I know) and a friend introduced me to Instagram, then a hot new social network that allowed users to take, upload, edit and share photos on the fly. I thought it was pretty neat, and it turned out we already had an Instagram account set up for the agency. My boss had his eyes dilated that week, and almost without thinking about it, I “Instagram’d” a photo of him wearing sunglasses while working and posted it to Facebook with a snarky caption.

Much to my delight, that silly photo got more engagement than almost any update we had previously posted. Thus began my obsession with a photo-driven social media marketing strategy, which I’ve outlined below.

1. Integrate Instagram with your page to give fans a behind-the-scenes glimpse into your business

While its marketing capacity is limited, Instagram is a great branding tool, especially for small companies. I say this because at many small businesses, personal relationships are a driving force in business-customer interactions. Chances are, your most loyal customers (those who are most likely to interact with your page) know a lot of people who work at your company. If they see someone they know in a photo you post to Facebook using Instagram or another photo uploader, they’re more likely to comment on or Like the photo.

Additionally, behind-the-scenes shots like the one I snapped of my boss give your followers the feeling that they’re getting exclusive content by following your Page. It gives followers a reason to come back to your page.

chris facebook screenshow

2. Attach an image to link posts

Our biggest problem with our Facebook presence before I started putting an effort into it was the fact that most of our posts were just plain boring. Blog posts can be really exciting, but when they’re shared as a headline with a link and Facebook’s lame pop-down preview, they’re certainly not going to catch anyone’s eye.

You can get around this problem by attaching an image to each post. By doing so, you’re ensuring your post takes up more room on news feeds and at least gets your fans to notice that it’s there, rather than merely skipping over it. Ideally, people will see the photo, click on it and then follow your link.

Hubspot does a nice job using eye-catching photos to draw attention to their link posts.

hubspot facebook example

It’s best to use commercially available photos instead of any old photo you find on the internet to avoid legal issues, so use Creative Commons to search for commercial photos on photo search engines like Flickr. Also, do realize photos appearing on your fans’ news feeds look different when they appear on your page; 403 pixels by 403 pixels works best for both.

3. Include a screenshot of your content when you post a link to it

I stole this one from Social Media Examiner. They include screenshots with almost all of their blog posts.

sme facebook example

Including a screenshot of your blog post (or of the first page of your eBook, for example) serves as sort of a teaser: it encourages your fans to click through to your website. Once again, just make sure your screenshot isn’t too big to display on your page properly.

One last thing: is there such a thing as too many photos? I think so. Facebook marketing queen Mari Smith recommends including a photo with 90% of your posts, but I think that may be pushing it, especially given Facebook’s recent move against link and photo posts. Still, recent research from Hubspot indicates photo posts tend to draw significantly more engagement, so don’t be afraid to include photos with a hefty majority of your posts.

Want to learn how your business can make use of social media marketing? Get a free social media assessment from CloudTactix today.