Better Living Through Social Media

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I was inspired to record this post by reading a post on Facebook by a friend of mine, who recently wrote:

“I belong to a LOT of photography groups here on FB. I thought they would help me to become better at my art. Really all they’ve done is make me want to quit. If you haven’t noticed I haven’t been posting a lot(well, except from the gym because that’s been fun). I’ll still be taking photos and doing shoots but I’m no longer going to pursue this as my sole profession. I gave it a good try.”

This is what I replied to her, slightly edited:

“It’s sad that you are quitting, but understandable. This profession is not easy for anyone. I haven’t given up on my day job yet precisely because of this.

However, if I may respectfully add my own two cents, maybe you made a mistake in thinking that Facebook groups (and Facebook in general) could give you recognition, inspiration, peer encouragement, customers, or anything you were hoping of getting out of them.

If you are very very selective and proactive and careful, then maybe you can find a group of peers that can give you guidance and support, but random groups that everyone can join? Forget about it.

Also finding customers on Facebook is next to impossible. If you want to reach potential customers, you got to find them somewhere else, unless you have very deep pockets, spend a lot of money on ads and have an extremely optimized sales funnel to send people to.

I mostly use Facebook to share the things I put on my various websites. I know Facebook shares won’t attract much traffic, but they don’t cost me anything, so I just do them and if I get a handful of visitors, I won’t complain.

I hope you will still be doing photography professionally, even on a part-time basis, because your work is great.

If you can pursue that on weekends and grow your business from a small group of clients that are willing to refer you, that would be the way to go, in my humble opinion.

I am sure there are gazillions of customers that would want to pay you to have their portrait taken. You just have to reach out to them, via word of mouth, local advertising, partnerships with local businesses, creating great content for your website, and all the things that will make people know, like, and trust you.

In short, everything BUT social media.

I know you can make it.”

Now, my dear reader, I would like to hear your thoughts about this. If you have related experiences to share or any opinion on this matter, please leave a comment below. I will reply to everyone. Thank you.

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Comments 6

  1. I can’t agree with you, Ugo, more on your assessment that facebook is NOT the venue to seek customers or recognition or feed back. There are a lot of specific photo forums on Google + catering to the interest of the individual photographer.

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  2. I really recognized myself in those friend of your words. I thought the same 1 year and half ago. Before that FB and social media in general were just a way to stay in contact with family and friends, true friends. Then the hell started… I joined several FB photography groups hoping to improve my art indeed. The result was a burnout that is still here… I had all kind of bad experiences, I would call many of them harassment! Yes not exaggerating. Don’t want to be too long but it came a day in which I told Gea “now stop”! I have to say that I am slowly finding back my peace and I hope that also my creativity will come back very soon. This is my experience so I could not agree more with you Ugo.

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  3. Social media, in general, is (at best) challenging to use effectively. At worst, almost completely worthless. All I see is a lowest common denominator in what seems appealing. And although everything I read about using IG (e.g.) effectively talks about engagement, those I follow that have thousands or tens of thousands of followers get only several hundred to a few thousand responses to any post. How is that engagement? It means people don’t look, or people don’t care.

    Photography is about real-world networking, word of mouth, and hard work.

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