There is little doubt that Social Media is a valuable tool in any business marketing arsenal. Unfortunately the message that it is part of a suite of delivery methods seems to be lost on some people. I am amazed at the number of photographers who set themselves up in business using nothing more than a camera and a Facebook page and then wonder why they struggle to attract the clients they want. Maybe the answers lies in my comments below, which I will admit have very little scientific research behind them, but are my own opinions, and I may offend some people with them.
- Not all your clients use it.
I know that this will come as a shock to young people who seem to be glued to social media in all forms, but not everyone uses Facebook. In fact with scares over privacy there is quite a portion of the population who take delight in being the ones that don’t have an account. While you can look at a Facebook page without an account they don’t make easy for you.
- Your clients may not be able to use it
Now if you are shooting newborns and your market is new mums then this may not be an issue (because the odds are they will use the home computer). But if you are shooting weddings, portraits, models or commercial work then you may run into the issue that many businesses, having realised how much time is wasted on Facebook, have set up their systems to not allow people to view it from their work computers. And let’s face it lots of stuff that occurs outside of work hours is actually organised in it.
- It looks cheap & nasty
I may be old fashion but I do equate quality with what I am expected to pay for something and when I see someone using something free yet expecting people to pay then I see an instant mismatch.To me it says that you are too cheap or lazy to bother designing something better or getting someone else to do it for you. It does not show me that you have any creative thoughts in anything other than the images taken. It says nothing about your style other than you like to get things for free.
You have no control over it
Let be clear about this. As you have not paid to be on Facebook the page is owned by them and they set the rules. If you breach one you can end up being banned or you can have your page completely taken down. Sometimes it is easy to break their rules, because you think that you are doing something that everyone else is doing (like asking for the most “likes” on an image).
The design of a Facebook page suits Facebook and not you. If you apply a rule to the newsfeed page the actual content is actually led than 50% of the width of the page. The timeline page is marginally better. The compression routines on images quite often cause distortions.In the two years that I have been on Facebook they have changed the look of the site at least 3 times as well as the way that items are fed to the page. In recent months Facebook changed the routine that determined what people saw in their newsfeeds and sites saw their reach drop to around 15% of what they were previously achieving.
Other people can wreck your efforts very quickly
Finally this is a really important one. When you have your own website you can pretty much control the fact that other people (apart from hackers) can have an influence on it. Facebook pages on the other hand are easily sabotaged. This can be done a number of ways.
- Someone reporting the pages or an image and you getting banned or the image removed
- People posting malicious comments on your posts
I know two photographers who had this happen to them in the last 12 months.
So should you abandon Facebook?
Absolutely not! Just use it for what it was designed for and that was posting quick status updates that keep your name out there but link it back to a website when you really want to show what you can do, who you are, and what you have achieved.