Ah yes, I remember the good old days of Facebook. You could set up your business page and pretty soon the followers and fans started racking up. People wanted to see, share and comment on your “work”. You could easily garner 1000 Likes over the course of a few weeks. Cue that warm fuzzy feeling in your stomach.
Ahhhh, nostalgia isn’t quite what it used to be!
Fast forward 10 years and Facebook is a very different beast. A kind of multi-headed behemoth that slithers its way into almost every facet of our lives, engaging us, enraging us, influencing us, enabling us, disabling us, notifying us and taking up way too much of our time and attention.
Note To Self: Read and remember the last paragraph.
Despite this constant barrage of content, this huge marketplace, is Facebook really of any use to your business? Can you discount all other marketing and advertising streams in favour of the big F? Should this “free” resource be the primary link between you and your customers? Can I pose yet another question in this paragraph? 🙂
Recently I have found it increasingly difficult to attract new followers and therefore get new eyeballs in front of my images. At the moment, I have just over 5000 Likes on my business page but this appears to have plateaued during the last few months.
I mentioned in a previous article about how you can buy Facebook Likes but I’ve strongly warned against doing this. It will hurt your page, your post engagement and ultimately, your business.
This year, Facebook has been urging my business page to “Get Sales”, “Get Phone Calls” or “Create an Offer”. But despite this, engagement is still very low – lower than it has been for some time. Why is this?
I believe this to be the reason. First up, let’s be fair. Like all of us, Facebook is in the business of making money. Making money from you and me. And that’s totally understandable.
But if you want more traction on your page content, more eyeballs and maybe more sales, then you’re going to have to pay for it. So, you pay to boost an advert. In fairness, that advert does pop up on more pages and in front of more eyeballs than it previously would have.
I’ve boosted adverts quite a few times, especially whenever I have a workshop to promote. And I do believe that people have responded to and attended because of them. However, there was another price to pay, other than the monetary one.
After paying to boost a post, I believe Facebook will punish you by showing your other posts to even fewer people than it did previously. I guess the thinking is, if you’ve paid once, you’ll pay again.
Taking into consideration that it was only showing your content to about 5% of page followers, your engagement may now be even less.
So, you need to consider this before you decide to pay Facebook to boost a post.
Let’s look at something else. We post our photos to Facebook in the hope that someone may actually buy a print. But unfortunately, it rarely happens like this. I do sell prints, but not very often through Facebook.
People just don’t come to Facebook to buy prints. They come here to look at cute animal or kids pics (not again), repost conspiracy theories (block), post pics of their beautiful selves in awesome locations (I hate you but damn, you look great) and share some inspirational quotes (Yea, I know – we’re all poor but we’re happy). Oh, and some come here to browse the humongous amount of landscape images uploaded every day. Photo uploads total 300 million per day. Source.
Er, does that mean that Facebook is useless? I suppose that depends on what you expect from your business page. What it does for me is to create an awareness of what I do. My commercial work – family photo shoots, sporting events, architectural work, corporate events, workshops and yes, even my prints.
I promise not to plug myself again for another few weeks. 🙂
So for me at least, Facebook is not a shop or a place to sell my wares or services, but rather it’s a billboard – no wait … not a billboard … more a very small advert on the back page of a huge publication!
Don’t get me totally wrong, though. I like Facebook, both my personal and professional pages. I’ve meet lots of great people from all over the world there, read some great blog posts – thanks, Ken and Graham, saw what you had for dinner last night (please don’t) and scrolled quickly past your cute cat pictures – I’m looking at you, Henry and Mich. 🙂
But I no longer view it as a space to promote my work in a worthwhile way.
So what does work then? I have found that good, old-fashioned word of mouth works the best. A sisters brothers aunt of someone’s daughter I shot will often message me saying, “I saw the pics you took for them. Can you do the same for me?”. This is how I get most of my work.
I can honestly say that you will get more satisfaction when someone in the real world says to you, “I loved the photos you took for me” than you will from a thousand likes on any facebook photo.
I’ve been using Instagram for a few years and I enjoy it. I think I may invest some more time in that and see what happens and if I can wrangle some more engagement out of that space.
I’d be interested to hear what social spaces work for you. Have you had success on Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter? If you’ve read this far, thanks.