Nature photographers today have the ability to share their images on multiple social media accounts. Currently, Instagram and Facebook are the most popular. So why would you need a nature photography website if you can create, share and run your business on your favorite social media?
Don’t get me wrong. I completely agree that there are many benefits to sharing on popular social media platforms. Here are few of them:
- Increasing your audience – You can build a following of fans and potential clients. Statistics show that people spend a lot of time on social media platforms. So it makes sense to share your content there.
- Business Tools – The major social media platforms have the tools your business would need to collect emails, advertise, host videos, build communities and attract potential clients. Many of these tools available are free and there is no complicated development to worry about.
Given how easy it is to get a photography business page started on social media it is no wonder that using social media to run your business sounds so appealing. However remember that social media platforms are in it to turn a profit. It is true that although many tools for businesses are offered for free on social media platforms, eventually they will require payment to promote your photography business. So before you decided to abandon the idea of creating your own photography website consider the following reason on why you should not rely exclusively on social media to run your business:
#1: Maintain control over your photography business
By putting all your content on social media platforms exclusively, you loose control over your nature photography business. As mentioned, social media platforms are there to turn a profit. Their goal is to make money. The biggest way they can get money is to charge for advertising. Where it once was free to show the content you developed to all your followers, it will now cost you money to boost your posts to your own followers. Not all your followers see your content that you post. This is how platforms like Facebook and Instagram now operate.
Let’s assume that you have 100K followers on Facebook, in reality those 100K users on Facebook “like” your work. The difference is subtle but significant. Because they are Facebook users, they control how many of these people get to see your work and when. And if you want more of them to see your work you have to pay them.
This is not the case with having your own nature photography website. Everyone that comes to your website can see your work without any overriding authority asking you for money. It’s much better to have 100K people visit your website than to have 100k followers on Facebook. Don’t get me wrong, I would rather have both, but if I have to choose one, I would choose to have them come to my website.
#2: Relying on Social Media alone can be risky
Photographers were very lucky when social media first came out, as it was free advertising and many were able to thrive and grow their audience to large numbers. Google+ is a prime example of this. As you know, Google shut it down and creatives’ content and efforts on the platform are now gone forever. Those that did have huge followings were able to move to Instagram or Facebook and build those platforms up. Many photographers lost their followers when it shut down and found it hard to gain traction on these other platforms.
Social media accounts can come and go but you will ultimately have the most amount of control over your images and content on your own website. You just need to purchase your own domain name and find a web host to build your website on.
#3: Your fans & customers are not for sale on your photography website
All social media platforms track all activities on their platforms. This includes your activity as well as the activities of your fans or clients if you choose to do business on social media platforms. These activities are offered for sale to anyone willing to pay for it on the various social media platforms. This includes your competition. So 100k visitors can easily be targeted by your competition to sell the same services that you are selling.
Having your own website will have a singular focus on your products. There is no way for your competitors or your social media partners to track their activities on your website if you choose.
#4: Photography website allows you to build long term credibility
Having a professional looking website gives you credibility as a professional artist. Your community and beyond will have more respect for you as a business owner. When people browse your website, they will be able to learn more about you and the work and services you provide. A continuous stream of visitors will tell the search engines where to find you. This will continue to build your credibility over time.
#5: eCommerce Website can produce higher Profit Margins
A professional website can showcase your portfolio and you’ll have more potential to earn revenue. Even if you don’t have a shopping cart for people to purchase your prints or products on the fly, there will be at least a way for customers to contact you. Whether you do workshops, sell prints or products, or do assignments, your website has the potential to reach a much wider audience.
The best part is that you don’t have to share the revenue you gain through your website with any social media company by paying them to advertise. Another advantage for you is that you can do what Facebook does for businesses, advertise on your own website to earn revenue.
#6: Photography website can be highly customizable
A strong portfolio to represent your body of work is a very important aspect of marketing your business. Having a website, along with your social media accounts, can make your name and portfolio easier to find in the search engines. For example, someone may search for a photographer in your local area or state. Your name comes up in the search, and they take a look at your website and portfolio to decide if they like your work. That is how I have received most of my photo assignments and custom print inquiries and continue to do so.
Having your portfolio on social media platforms will not always appear in search engines. Remember that Social media platforms control the algorithms on what shows up in the search engines.
#7: Photography website allows you to build a brand name
Adding a blog on any website can help your site get good search engine traffic. A blog has content that changes, so web crawlers come back often to index your content. You can have a blog on any social media platform as well, but the search engines will only index it as social media content. If any social media giant decides to cease operations, you will loose this indexing and people will NOT be able to find your work. Another more likely scenario is for social media to start charging for appearance in the search engines. Once again, this will keep you under their control and they can possibly continue to expect payment from you to grow your photography business.
We are not advocating that you should not create a business page on social media platform. We recommend that you create a photography website for your business and then use that to drive social media platforms.
There are so many social media platforms around. Many startups however, have a hard time competing with Facebook and Instagram. They lose steam quickly after launching. So how do you choose which one is the right platform for your nature photography business? To me, it seems logical to choose the biggest ones today, Facebook and Instagram. If you are trying to move to a newer platform there is no easy way to migrate your followers from one platform to the next automatically, even if they are owned by the same company.
The best thing to do is to have your own website and use it as your main hub to create your content, display your portfolio, and blog posts. All your social media postings on the various platforms can point back to your website. And all your website content can be shared on all your social media accounts. This will drive more traffic to your website where you can control your content. Don’t let an algorithm dictate what your viewers see.
Nowadays there are many ways to create an affordable nature photography website for your business. Make it a priority to either hire someone to assist you, or do it yourself. If you are thinking about creating a website for your nature photography business, I highly recommend that you get started today!
For more help with business tips, check out the following resources to help with your nature photography business: