What’s the value of a Facebook Like?

Like any other small business, photographers look to Facebook and other social media as a way to increase sales at a low cost. However, other than putting a special on Facebook and waiting for the phone to ring, how do you know whether Facebook is actually increasing sales?

To answer this question, the Harvard Business Review conducted experiments over the last four years involving more than 18,000 people. They wanted to research whether attracting and engaging social media followers leads to increased sales.

The researchers focused on Facebook because of its popularity. However, they believe their findings apply across all social media platforms.

Here’s what they learned:

1. Across 16 studies, they found no evidence that following a brand on social media changes, affects or influences people’s purchasing behavior.

2. Seeing a friend like and engage with a brand on Facebook had no effect on the purchasing habits of other friends.

3. Boosting, sponsoring or advertising brand content to followers can have an impact. When a brand paid Facebook to display two posts each week to members of the group, those people participated 8 percent more.

What does this mean for your studio?

• Collecting likes doesn’t increase sales. For example, contests to get Facebook “likes” or asking for “likes” are a waste of time.

• Facebook is still about a conversation with your fans, not a cheap ad campaign. Use Facebook to interact with your fans, tell them stories, ask for their opinion. When they see one of your posts they like, they will share it with their friends. This is the kind of organic growth you need to stay “top of mind” to your fans when they think about professional photography, and to grow your business on Facebook.

• Once you’ve developed a conversation with your fans, you can increase sales with specials. If you have a business page, boosting a post to your followers – according to the research – is the most effective use of your advertising dollars.

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