Should photographers use social media to grow a business?

Much has changed in the world of social media in the past two years. What was once a vibrant way of growing your business has become nearly impossible.

Facebook changed the game when it implemented the algorithm into our feeds. We no longer see all posts. We see what they have decided is important for us. Should we be upset about this? I don’t believe so. Facebook had to change the way posts were displayed as there were simply too many people and too many businesses constantly posting. If you were to see this never-ending flow of posts, you would become overwhelmed and likely walk away from Facebook. Chronological worked back in the early days when there were far fewer people; it simply does not work anymore.

These days, you have to pay to play on Facebook, at least for business purposes. Which I can understand. You have to pay for advertising elsewhere, why shouldn’t you on Facebook? Leveraging ads on Facebook has a lot of potential if done right.

Boosting a post will get you some likes and views, but in the long run, it gets you nowhere.

You need a specific plan to give something away for free or some incentive for the viewer to sign up for your newsletter. Trying to sell to Facebook users will likely fail unless you already have a relationship established with them. Otherwise, it’s like knocking on someone’s door trying to sell them a vacuum.

A spectacular sunset erupts over Dallas Divide in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado

Instagram has implemented the same algorithm, so you do not see everyone’s posts. Trying to grow an Instagram account today is incredibly hard and will likely not gain you substantial business.

Of course, I have not even touched on the latest news of all the misused data from Facebook and Cambridge Analytica. This breach has left everyone feeling uneasy about Facebook and Instagram (who is owned by Facebook). People are leaving in droves.

So if social media is largely dead for growing a business, where does this leave us? We need something we own.

Having a great website loaded with content and a mailing list are the only things you can truly own. Content is still king; it’s the best way to drive people to your website. Regular blogs is a key tenant to a successful business.

Equally, if not more importantly, is growing your mailing list. I know, email is boring and our inboxes are overloaded. But if you put out great content, people will not mind receiving your emails. They will appreciate it.

Getting them signed up is the hardest part. The best way is to offer them something free in exchange for their email. I offer free Lightroom presets and free eBooks; this gains their trust. They know you put out a quality product and are more willing to purchase something in the future.

The great thing about having your own website and mailing list is that you own it. You are not held hostage by another company’s decisions on how to run their platform. There was a great success to be found in the early days of social media, but that ship has largely sailed. Take the time to build your own ship and you will determine the course.

About Author David Kingham

David is a professional landscape and nature photographer originally from Loveland, Colorado who is now traveling the American West full-time in an RV with his photography and life partner Jennifer Renwick, and their two cats. David creates his artwork to trigger an emotional response with the viewer; his goal is to bring joy into peoples lives through his work.

David has published an eBook called Nightscape and has in-depth videos on post processing. David and his partner Jennifer Renwick find joy in teaching others photography in their photography workshops, and through their blog.