How to Reach More People Online with Your Photos (Maybe 20,000 or so)

Annually Grand Rapids celebrates its own “30 Under 30” and “40 Under 40” honorees.

Now the area has “16 Over 60” as well and the only way to describe the inaugural event was viral.

When an organization reaches 20,000 people on Facebook, generates 200 comments ORGANICALLY and increases event attendance by 170+, the only way it can be described is VIRAL.

Here is how it was done with one single hour of photo time (and some great PR planning).

Senior Neighbors, a Kent County based non-profit with a mission is to serve and support the senior community, honored 16 community members over the age of 60 at Frederik Meijer Gardens.

Two goals were established by Senior Neighbors and their public relations team at COM 616:

  1. Increase visibility of Senior Neighbors and its services

  2. Support ticket sales for Senior Neighbors’ inaugural 16 Over 60 Awards Gala

As the creative was left to me, I decided that both a full body and a closer head and shoulders portrait would provide a two looks. One would be more formal, the other more intimate.

I wanted images that each of the honorees family and friends would say, “You captured them exactly as I see them…”

Photography was scheduled during a “meet and greet” event hosted at Linear Restaurant and each honoree had less than 5 minutes in front of my camera (if that, as our time window was small).

The resulting images were something I was very proud to share with Senior Neighbors and each individual honoree.

The next step was to use the images to increase awareness of Senior Neighbors and support ticket sales to the 16 Over 60 Gala.

The COM 616 team wrote bios for each honoree and designed 16 honoree graphics using the images provided.

The social media strategy was to “spark organic reach by garnering comments and shares.” To do this, COM 616 posted individual photo graphics over a two-and-a-half-week period and tagged as many community organizations as possible.

With each post, a link to the 16 Over 60 Awards Gala event page was included to help support and drive ticket sales and registration for the event.

So what were the results?

The 16 posts reached a total of 20,604 people on Facebook (all organically).

What was engagement like?

There were 7,423 clicks, likes, comments and shares.

There were 146 shares, 191 individual comments and 226 direct website referrals.

Considering Senior Neighbors only had 310 page likes at the beginning of the process, this engagement can only be described as viral.


Supporting ticket sales was one of the primary goals as well, so how did the gala go?

The 16 Over 60 Gala had the highest attendance seen at a Senior Neighbors event.

The event surpassed the previous record by 170+ guests.

Emcee for the evening was speaker and trainer Tim Cusack.

Tim was a gracious host for the evening which centered around each honoree sharing 5 photos that told their story. Each honoree narrated through the 5 images in their own words.

There was laughter, a few tears and many heartfelt moments.

If you’re hosting an event and would like to increase awareness and attendance, professional photography along with the right social media strategy could help you reach a new audience as well.

If you’re interested in having 20,000 organic views for your content, we would love the chance to speak with you and your organization!

We Are Here To Make You Look Great And Help You Be More Successful. If You're In Need Of A Photographer You Can Trust To Make You Look And Feel Confident, We Would Love To Connect With You.