How to grow your following with Facebook Groups
Facebook Groups has to be one of the most overlooked and under valued free ways to multiply your following and double your business among photographers and content creators. As soon as I started using Facebook groups to show off my work my following on Facebook & Instagram tripled and so did my business. In this article I will give you actionable steps on how to grow your Instagram following as well as your Facebook following using Facebook groups. Of course there are countless great ways to grow your following using YouTube, TikTok, and Pinterest but I will just be discussing Facebook groups in this article.
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Do followers really matter?
Before I explain how to get more followers on Instagram and Facebook you first need to understand why you want followers in the first place. I know to myself and many of you reading this it may seem like a no brainer if your trying to build a brand. But you would be shocked if I told you how many photographers and creators don't even use Facebook or Instagram. Maybe you've tried the social media game and you never saw results so you deleted your account. Well I'm hear to tell you, if your work is good, and you're consistent you should be getting new clients via social media. No question. If you aren't using Facebook to grow your brand YOU ARE LEAVING MONEY ON THE TABLE.
Let's look beyond the superficial reason we all want a large following on social media shall we? and instead look at the practical reasons we want more followers and how they correlate with our business. With every new follower comes more opportunity and more potential. I'll explain.
1. Every follower is a possible client.
Maybe not today, maybe not a week from now but at some point they will convert. I've had new clients contact me on Instagram and say "I've been following your work for 8 months and I have to work with you! I've been waiting for the right time and I'm finally ready to hire you" Even though that client (like many of my clients) followed me for months they rarely engaged with my posts. This is important to note because it shows me that people are always watching. Don't be discouraged if you're not getting alot of engagement. As long as your consistently posting quality content and not posting drama I promise you someone is planning on booking you as we speak.
2. Followers = free advertising.
Think about it, a certain percentage of your followers will always share your content. That's FREE ADVERTISING! It's like having your own little sales team out there constantly promoting you and your work for free! It's really simple, the more followers you have the larger your "sales team" will be. So why wouldn't you want to grow your following? People buy from those they know, like, and trust. Word of mouth will always be the best form of advertising.
3. Brands want creators with a large following.
If you're wanting to work with brands the hard truth is they wont even look at your work these days if you don't have a following. Big brands today look at following first and then quality of work. Sadly if it's between you and another content creator of equal skill the one with the larger following will always get the job. I mean it makes sense from a marketing stand point. As a brand I want to go with the photographer with the biggest following because that means my products will be seen by the most people. And that means more sales.
4. Free Stuff.
Who doesn't like free stuff? I'm what is considered a "micro influencer." Someone with 5,000 to 40,000 followers and over the years I've leveraged my following for free massages, studio rentals, discounts on hotels, free coffee, free sun glasses, free jewelry, free float tank therapy, free acupuncture, free liqueur, free laser treatment, and the list goes on. Even if you only have 4,000 followers you can leverage your following for free stuff as long as you have good engagement. Fact is influencer marketing is the future of advertising. Brands know they can pay you far less than they would on traditional adverting and still get more value. It's a win win for everyone.
How to use Facebook groups.
Now that you hopefully understand the value in building a following on social media and why it's important, let's talk about how you do it using Facebook groups. It's actually very simple. This works best for photographers and content creators. I will use myself as an example and tell you exactly what I do. Every time you post a new photo or photos on Facebook like you should be doing from your personal page (That's important) I want you to share that post in every Facebook group you can find that is related in any way to that post.
For example: If I posted a really stunning photo of a humming bird I would then search Facebook groups for any group that is not only related to photography, but also birds, hummingbirds, wildlife, or location specific. For example, when I shared my humming bird photos to the Facebook groups: Oregon City Chit Chat (a local group), Photoshop and Lightroom, Northwest Creative Collective, The Hummingbird Whisperer, Birds, PNW Photographers, Fstoppers, Hummingbirds Anonymous, and Birding Oregon. Example shown below.
As you can see just in the group alone my post got 343 likes, 49 comments, and 17 shares. and that's not counting the engagement from the group members who clicked the post and engaged with it directly from my page. I know those aren't crazy numbers but this is a small example of how a post can lead to many new followers on Facebook and Instagram. What you don't see in that screenshot is the link I posted to my Instagram on the original post. And that's how I convert Facebook followers to Instagram followers. Before I move on to another example there are a few important things to note:
1st. Make sure your account is public. You can't share your post in groups if your account is private. I'll save the details for a future post but I can assure you without question a post on your personal page will always get far more engagement than if you post on your business page. If you take anything from this article it's this: You will be far more successful putting all your effort into growing your personal page instead of a business page. Free engagement on a business page is absolutely awful and not worth your time. The goal after all is to get the most eyes on your work as possible so MAKE YOUR ACCOUNT PUBLIC.
2nd. Read and follow the rules of the group. Every group is different. Rules to lookout for are as follows:
Rule #1 Some groups don't allow you to share a post in the group from your page. They might require you to post straight into the group. No biggie, just make sure and check if they have a limit on how many photos you can post at one time. Some only allow 1-4 in one post.
Rule #2 Some groups don't allow links. So if you share a post from your personal page and you linked to your Instagram they may delete the post. For groups that don't allow links just say something like "@kickassdesigns on insta" in the caption. It is your job to read and follow the rules of each group!
3rd. Don't waste your time with groups that have little to no engagement. As shown below when searching for a relevant group to join only join groups that have 40K members and up. So out of the options below when I searched birding I would only join "Birds" and "Hummingbird Anonymous". After joining a group and being approved immediately check the engagement of the group. If there is alot of posts but no one is engaging with the posts leave the group and don't bother.
With all that in mind here's an example of how a post can go viral when a post is shared in the right facebook groups. The below post did good on my personal page but only hovered around 500 likes, 150 comments, and 300 shares until I shared it in the following groups: Oregon City Chit Chat (a local group), Photoshop and Lightroom, Northwest Creative Collective, PNW Photographers, Fstoppers, Art of Portrait Photography, Crisp nights & Halloween frights, I love Halloween, Extreme Halloween, Autumn fall and Halloween, This is Halloween, Cosplay, Spooky weird and cool, Amazing Cosplayers, Bette Midler Fans, Cosplayer Nation, and Mommy Needs a Vodka.
I really want you to think outside of the box. Notice how I didn't just share the below post in a cosplay group and a photography group and call it good. The key is joining and sharing in any group that's relevant. So What's relevant to my Hocus Pocus photos? Cosplay, Halloween, Autumn, Spooky, Photography, Portraits, Fall, Family, kids, Etc. So I searched all those key words in Facebook groups and joined all the ones I found that had good engagement. Needless to say that post alone got me countless new followers on Facebook and many converted to Instagram.
I have gone semi viral a few times thanks to this method and I promise you can too if your work is good and you follow the steps above. Another example: Let's say you're a landscape photographer and you shot a stunning photo of Mount Hood. Keywords I might search for in facebook groups are: Landscapes, PNW, Oregon, Photography, Hiking, Explore, Travel, Mountains, still life, nature, adventure, vagabond, Etc.
Another reason to share in Facebook groups, you never know who's in them looking for exactly what you have to offer. I shared a Photoshoot I did of a kid as Joker with batman in a group and the owner of Boredpanda saw it and wrote an article about the shoot and shared it to their massive audience which led to another article written by a Canadian news channel CTV and my local news.
My last tip: To keep your post showing up in the feed reply to every comment. But leave at least 45 minutes between each reply. and when you hit reply, type your comment and then click cancel, you'll then see a message that says "you're no longer replying to blank if you continue what you write will appear as a comment on your post." then click continue and post the comment. Facebook views this as a new comment each time and thus repopulates your post in the feed each time. ;)
I hope this article has helped. I'd love to hear from you in the comments below. More information on how to grow your Instagram Following HERE.
Author Lance Reis
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