One of the most valuable forms of marketing a photographer can tap into is word of mouth referrals. Though they can seem elusive, finding ways to get your current clients talking can be more powerful than dozens of site views from strangers who found you on Google.

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There’s a lot of research behind the psychology of word of mouth referrals (like this great infographic) and why people share, but the one we like to focus on when it comes to referrals is that our clients all want to be helpful to those they care about.  For many people, this also means being helpful (or seeming helpful) to those they come into contact with on social media.  And that’s where Facebook groups come in.

Using Facebook Groups as a Professional Photographer

Many companies, including KISS, use Facebook groups for customers and clients as a way to open and maintain communication – a place to ask questions, share rave reviews, and be seen and heard as part of a larger community.  The key to a successful group is that the focus be as far removed from selling as possible. No one wants to be constantly sold to, and especially not clients who have already bought from you.

How do you help clients be helpful to their friends and others they come into contact with in your group? By being helpful yourself! When it comes to creating a group for your clients, both future and past, consider the main “problems” they will be dealing with in the coming months and years. For a wedding photographer, a group that unites local brides for wedding planning advice and resources can give current and past brides a place to share and talk. You can ensure they stick around after their wedding is planned by also offering support for common struggles in the first year of marriage, by sourcing experts on topics like mortgages, will planning, home decor and relationships.  For family photographers, groups about pregnancy, early motherhood, or parenting will provide a platform for nurturing existing clients to book again and for new clients who want to be part of your group.

You can decide ahead of time if you want your group to be exclusive or inclusive. Will you only allow current and past clients to join the group? This can create a feeling of exclusivity that will drive your clients to share only with those friends they believe can also join the group. Inclusivity will create a wider audience, giving your clients a space they can invite other friends to, especially those who they feel can use the type of support of advice offered.  Whichever you choose, it’s important to stick to it once you start.

The best part of groups on Facebook is that they have yet to throttle the content inside groups, as they have done on business pages. This means that those who join your group can choose, and actually receive, notifications on every post made in the group, or posts made by their friends. They can ensure new posts appear in their timeline, or mute them.

How will you incorporate groups into your business marketing plan?