I’ll admit: I’ve never been much of a Facebook-type.
I’ve been on Facebook for a few years but I simply don’t post much on a personal level anymore. Anything that I want to voice that’s even remotely personal, I have my friends and family I can do that in person with. Gives us something to chat about when we meet!
Professionally, you hear it all the time: If you have a business, you MUST utilize Facebook! So when I started my photography business, of course I started a Facebook page for it. Just about every book that talks about Social Media marketing says that Facebook is an absolute necessity. It does make some sense: Facebook is the second highest most visited website IN THE WORLD and the United States according to website ranking service Alexa.com. So yes, it makes sense to have a Facebook page for your business. Sort of.
Probably the first and biggest issue I’ve had with Facebook on both a professional and personal level are the algorithms they use to decide who wants to see what on your personal Timeline. When I click ‘Like’ on someone’s Facebook page, I want to see all the updates that person creates. Same with my Friends. But Facebook works like a television commercial:
- Time Frame. If you create a post at a certain time, your friends will only see your post within a time frame Facebook has designated. For example, if you post something at 2pm, only your friends will see your post between 2pm – 3pm. If they log into Facebook at 3:05pm, they will not see your posting.
- If you Like certain types of postings or fit a certain demographic, your posting will appear more or less often. If you are an attractive 20-something woman, your postings will show up on many a person’s Timeline. Especially men. But if you are a 40+ year-old man, you’re postings won’t appear as often. Trust me, I’ve studied profiles of popular people of both sexes and no matter what; the response men get is always much less. Television commercials are played during specific parts of the day. For example: health-related commercials are played during working hours since retirees and sick people are most likely home.
A thorn that’s always been on my side with Facebook is the option of paying for your Facebook Business Page to get more reach. It certainly makes a difference. A geometric difference. You might get a 1 – 10% reach with a typical post. But if you pay to have your posting expanded, you could get a 100x the reach number. It’s not necessarily expensive. But it feels greedy and totally unnecessary.
My inspiration to finally leave Facebook came when I read about a successful photographer giving an interview. He’s a professional and he had some interesting information about the business of photography. He’s successful, plenty of clients and has an agent. And if you have an agent, you must be successful. Because an agent makes money from you and if you aren’t in demand, they want nothing to do with you.
But the biggest shock to me when researching this photographer was that he did not have a Facebook Page! I kept looking around and doing search. Nope. Nada. No Facebook page. So I eMailed him to congratulate him on the great article and asked “Why no Facebook?” Thankfully, he responded and he told me “It doesn’t help to get commercial clients and it’s generally annoying for me to use professionally.”
I decided to take the leap from his lead. Here are factors that finally lead me to do this:
- Google Analytics. I check to see where the traffic to my website comes from. For Facebook, it’s quite negligible. It could completely disappear and it wouldn’t matter much to me.
- Facebook Page Posting Reach. Even today, I saw a photographer with over 100,000 Followers. How many Likes did his highest posting receive? About 125. This is .1% of his total followers. I know too many photographers who may have hundreds and maybe thousands of Followers but still only get 2 – 10 Likes for a photo. What does that say?
- Photographers spend most of their time in front of the computer for many reasons. Social Media is a big one. Why invest your time in advertising somewhere if the return on it isn’t very good. Find something that works for you and spend more time on that. Make it quality.
- Public vs. Commercial. For me, Facebook is geared for public consumption and not commercial purposes. When I post something, I want people to like my work for sure, I also want potential clients to see my work. With a .1% response or reach, potential clients don’t.
I do think that some photographers benefit highly from Facebook. Photographers that do ‘retail’ photography: their clients are from the general public. Wedding, Event and Senior Portrait photographers could definitely benefit. Landscape photographers also tend to do well. But Fashion and many other types of photographers that I admire who do exceptionally well on Facebook? I can count them with one hand. So now what?
I’ve been using Instagram for a little over a year and love it. In my opinion, it’s based much more on merit. Post a great photo properly tagged, and you’ll get a good percentage of people that Like it. Yes, you still need to time it so it get’s maximum exposure, but at least there is no filter process like that of Facebook. I occasionally have an image that is Liked by another person with 10’s of thousands of followers. Simply because they were online when my image appeared at the top of the group they searched. That’s it.
I only follow one super-model. A very sweet woman who does interesting work and fun-looking life. She get’s a fairly high percentage of Likes with all her photos. But just the other day, she posted an image that may have translated in a way she didn’t intend. It made her look conceited. What happened? It was one of her lowest rated images. I know what she meant. But not many did.
So yes, I much more enjoy Instagram and I’ll be spending much more time on it now that I’m leaving Facebook. Yes, enjoy. I think it’s professional and it can be fun. It’s easier to follow someone’s work and find it. The attitude of many on IG is so much more enjoyable.
Follow me on Instagram: @RGomezPhotos
But you should use what you enjoy and gives you the biggest return. I know of a photographer who uses Google+ and has over 7 million Followers! I like Twitter, but it’s more about adding my lifestyle to my job. And I know artists who love Tumblr.
I may come back to Facebook at some time. But maybe Google+ will finally be taking off. Or maybe another, totally new service will work better than both of these. Is it risky to leave Facebook? Sure but…
Nothing ventured nothing gained!