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Author Topic: Does Facebook work for photographers?  (Read 29912 times)
biggiesnows
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« on: April 15, 2012, 08:38:29 PM »
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Hi All,

Many pro photogs are working the Facebook angle in the hopes of generating business but does it work? Can anyone reading this post verify that it makes a difference to their bottom line? It would be nice to get some input before venturing down that road. I don't want to get sucked into a black hole of work if it's not going to pay off.

Thanks for any help.

Bill Stevenson
www.beautifuloutdoorphotos.com
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EduPerez
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« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2012, 01:15:00 AM »
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"If you're not paying for it; you're the product"... just saying.
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Rob C
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« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2012, 05:35:19 AM »
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"If you're not paying for it; you're the product"... just saying.



Joder! never thought of life like that; now I shall worry about everything. And to think I imagined that I already doubted too much...

; -)

Rob C
« Last Edit: April 18, 2012, 05:37:17 AM by Rob C » Logged

Isaac
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« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2012, 12:11:23 PM »
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Even when you are paying something, even when you are the customer; your time and attention still might be the product being sold - TV commercials, magazine ads, calendars...
« Last Edit: April 18, 2012, 02:18:21 PM by Isaac » Logged
EduPerez
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« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2012, 12:53:17 PM »
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Even when you are paying something, even when you are the customer; your time and attention still might be the product being sold - TV commercials, magazine ads, ...

There is a difference between "customers" (those who pay for the service) and "users" (those who benefit from the service); and when those are separate groups, "the customer is always right" acquires a weird meaning. When I realized this (obvious) fact, it was like a revelation to me, and I began to understand lots of things: like why TV sucks, or why low-cost airlines treat their travelers like shit, or why computers come loaded with crapware, ...
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Isaac
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« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2012, 01:44:20 PM »
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There is a difference between "customers" (those who pay for the service) and "users" (those who benefit from the service)...
As-far-as customer A is concerned, they are paying for service A.
As-far-as customer B is concerned, they are paying for service B.
In the middle, we provide service A to customer A, and we provide service B to customer B.

It's just that customer A prefers to forget that they are the service we provide to customer B, and customer A prefers to forget that customer B pays us a lot of money.

 "Companies paid an average of $3.5 million for a 30-second spot..."
« Last Edit: April 18, 2012, 02:17:27 PM by Isaac » Logged
ckimmerle
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« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2012, 08:00:14 PM »
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Many pro photogs are working the Facebook angle in the hopes of generating business but does it work?

I think you're mistaken as to why photographers/artists use Facebook. Nobody is under the delusion that a Facebook account is going to generate much income, if any. Facebook's primary purpose is awareness. It helps us keep our names out there and increase our name recognition. It's marketing at the lowest level, sure, but since it's so quick and easy to update AND FREE, there is no "black hole of work" as you say.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2012, 09:39:19 AM by ckimmerle » Logged

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

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« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2012, 10:42:03 PM »
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Long story short.... Yes Facebook has substantially increased my revenue. I am routinely found, hired, commissioned and images licensed as a result of my Facebook presence.

Actually I was recently featured in an article about Social Networking in the April 2012 issue of Shutterbug Magazine, and also a report on Social Networking on PhotoShelter. Additionally I was part of the topic of discussion at the Palm Springs Photo Festival just a few weeks ago at a symposium "Monetizing The Internet".

So yes, not conjecture, it can work.
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Ian L. Sitren
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« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2012, 02:47:59 AM »
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Ian, looking at your work there's a lot of bodybuilding stuff there. Is it a case of your using Facebook to tap into a specific community, and how deliberate a strategy was it?
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SecondFocus
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« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2012, 10:47:46 AM »
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Ian, looking at your work there's a lot of bodybuilding stuff there. Is it a case of your using Facebook to tap into a specific community, and how deliberate a strategy was it?

Yes I do have a speciality in the bodybuilding and fitness industry. Prior to Facebook I was already very well known but Facebook allowed me to expand that and be more accessible as well as to "push" work out here all the time. I deliberately built my friends on FB directed to my specialty from competitors, to companies that market to the industry, to magazine publishers and editors. So now when I post a new photo and it's related story it goes out to my 4700+ friends and is geometrically seen across more of the audience. I am not entirely clear how that works but my experience is that my audience is much bigger than just the 4700+.
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Ian L. Sitren
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« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2012, 01:40:31 PM »
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Second shows that internet marketing can work if you learn how to do it, keep doing it, and learn from your successes and failures. Amazing how those individual strivings for success haven't changed in hundreds of years.
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ckimmerle
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« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2012, 10:18:42 AM »
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I'm not sure that Ian's situation is relevant to most other photographers. He is specialized in an area with a well-defined and and, I am sure, fairly tight-knit community. That gives him the opportunity for targeted marketing pushes towards a willing and eager audience. Most of us don't work in such an environment (or have his talents).

Still, I guess it is proof that it CAN work given the right circumstances.
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"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

Chuck Kimmerle
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« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2012, 11:51:09 AM »
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Chuck Thanks for the kind words!

I agree that I do not know if my circumstances would translate to "most other photographers". Sometime back I held on to the idea that specialization was key to success, at least for me. With that said it has also been a detriment to some extent, but that is another topic.

But I do think there is a way to make Facebook or other social media work for many photographers. The audience is there and willing. If I were in a different genre I would research how I would find, search and build my audience to fit. Perhaps it might mean zeroing in on a specific facet of what you do. It could be a specialty of photographing waterfalls, Fiat's or fruit. I do believe there would be a way of making social media work for many.

I'm not sure that Ian's situation is relevant to most other photographers. He is specialized in an area with a well-defined and and, I am sure, fairly tight-knit community. That gives him the opportunity for targeted marketing pushes towards a willing and eager audience. Most of us don't work in such an environment (or have his talents).

Still, I guess it is proof that it CAN work given the right circumstances.
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Ian L. Sitren
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biggiesnows
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« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2012, 09:26:19 AM »
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Hi Ian,

Can you post a link to the Shutterbug and Photoshelter articles? Do you think they are level-headed pieces or a little hyped?

Thanks very much,

biggiesnows
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SecondFocus
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« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2012, 09:54:18 AM »
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Hi Ian,

Can you post a link to the Shutterbug and Photoshelter articles? Do you think they are level-headed pieces or a little hyped?

Thanks very much,

biggiesnows

Go to http://Photoshelter.com and look under "Free Guides". I have not seen the Shutterbug Magazine feature online, yet anyway.

Also on the website for the Palm Springs Photo Festival there will be Symposiums 2012 under archives. Look for "Monetizing The Internet" when they are available.

There is good information from a few people, I don't know if I read them with thinking if they were a "little hyped" but I know what you mean. Of course any place where they speak very highly of me it is right on... LOL.
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Ian L. Sitren
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« Reply #15 on: April 23, 2012, 09:04:17 PM »
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Just saw these stats from a Feb 1st Facebook SEC filing. Thought I would pass it on...

Monthly active users now total 901 million (up from 680 million a year ago).
Daily active users are up to 526 million (up from 372 million last year).
Monthly mobile users now total 488 million.
300 million photos are uploaded to the site each day.
3.2 billion Likes and Comments are posted daily.
125 billion friendships are forged per day.
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Ian L. Sitren
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2012, 10:13:18 PM »
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There has never been a better example of quantity not translating into quality.
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Slobodan

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« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2012, 04:15:44 AM »
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As SB so correctly points out just because there are big numbers viewing it does not mean to say that there are big numbers actually using it to find services and goods. However, this is the same of much of the web, you will find plenty of stats pointing out just how many people are connected but as yet I have to come across any figures clearly illustrating how a web presence has increased sales for a broad sample of companies on a cost effective basis, unless the business concerned is web focussed and it is considered their shop front rather than just thought of as a bolt on lead generator.

This is the crux of the matter. If you are going to set up your stall on FB then you must attend to it 24/7 to obtain any results. FB is the ultimate time wasting gimmick purporting to be a sales aid, there is a tremendous peer pressure to be there but as yet I have to hear of anyone around these parts thinking it worthwhile in the final analysis. A FB presence in conjunction with a determined web based marketing strategy can work but it's not an easy or particularly cheap path to riches, it is also very dependent on the type of business you are in.

FB can also act against your interests, I have been involved with a couple of organisations where the lack of being able to control what is being said has adversely affected their image in one case and income in another. Be very careful with it and on a whole I would suggest that like any business it will only work for photographers if you work hard at it. Over here I don't believe it's worth the effort.
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« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2012, 10:39:52 PM »
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So I must ask... of everyone who has replied, other than myself, has anyone themselves actually made an effort to use Facebook for some level of marketing?
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Ian L. Sitren
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« Reply #19 on: May 02, 2012, 02:30:24 AM »
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So I must ask... of everyone who has replied, other than myself, has anyone themselves actually made an effort to use Facebook for some level of marketing?

Yes I did and much of my posting was based on that experience and the experience of others that I know have also tried in other business areas. My overall conclusions are -

1. Its a lot of work for little reward, constant attention and updating is required.
2. You have to be a Facebook sort of person to have any enthusiasm for getting involved.
3. It probably works better in some countries than others.
4. Petty gossip does not automatically translate into lead generation.
5. You are not always in control of how your business is presented.
6. It maybe free but you pay for what you get.
7. The web is the worst place for displaying your work as you have no idea how it is being viewed.
8. As No 7 but FB allows even less control over viewing conditions. Any background so long as its white!
9. FB are using you as much as you are using them.
10. Having FB as your only or main web presence can deter the more discerning customer.

I have come across one or two people who claim to have successfully marketed on FB but have yet to see any figures from anyone demonstrating that it is actually the marvel that many people believe. That's not to say it's not without it's uses but it's not a panacea, you really have to be focussed on using it to gain any advantage.

« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 03:14:12 AM by Justinr » Logged

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