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Author Topic: Does Facebook work for photographers?  (Read 27624 times)
Sareesh Sudhakaran
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« Reply #20 on: May 02, 2012, 02:40:38 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?

I had, and failed - and my product was a low-budget indie film.

My market was almost non-existent (unfortunately it still is), and my FB page was part of my online strategy - website+FB+Amazon+Indieflix. I did have some local PR but my plan was to not pay for anything.

I must also mention that I'm sort of a marketing expert, having been a media manager for a real estate firm and five star hotel. So I fancy I know a thing or two about marketing.

In my analysis of FB in 2009-10 I came to the conclusion that FB ads weren't for me, the ROI just wasn't there. I came to the same conclusion about Google ads.

Here's my thought process in general terms:
1. Define your market - identify those metrics that you will use to make the distinction. E.g., age, income, gender and so on, as specific as you can make it.
2. Find the size of your market - how many individuals matching your criteria exist on this planet ready to buy/hire you?
3. Identify your budget - how much can you spend now and how much are you comfortable spending on a monthly basis?
4. Identify your goals - What is your income projection? Note: I don't care about exposure if it doesn't result in sales or work. Having a million followers is an ego boost but if doesn't translate into business what's the point?
5. From 3 and 4 you will know how many from 2 you can realistically reach - this is your target market
6. The big question: Which tool(s) can help you get your target market with minimum expenditure in time and/or money?

Analysing FB as a tool:
1. How many of your target market is using FB - this figure is estimable, and is critical. You might discover you have millions, or only thousands - let's call them your FB market
2. How is your FB market using FB? You must realize most people use FB for personal reasons only, and it is important to identify how many of your potential FB market actually hunts for whatever it is you're selling?
3. This will bring you to a fork on the road: Advertising vs Fan Page - if your FB market are hunters, you can skew your FB strategy towards your fan page - if they are passive users you'll need FB advertising.
4. Using FB ads, try to calculate your outlay via FB for ads - how much do you have to spend to reach your target audience. How many clicks will you get?
5. From the number of clicks how many can you convert into sales? Do you expect this process to happen passively (people buying via Amazon for example) or do you have to follow up and convert (insurance salesmen, e.g.)? Do you have the time and money and/or expertise to make any of this happen on a continuous basis?
6. If you go the ad route, you will have to ask yourself - Can you better reach your online potential target market with google (or other) ads? After all, google can go where FB cannot, as far as advertising is concerned. Can FB ads offer you something that google cannot?
7. If you go the fan page route, can you generate interesting content regularly - can you maintain the chatter? What do you want your average fan to do once they click the 'Like' button? Do you want them to engage you, converse with other members, buy, subscribe, etc. It is important to trace this route very clearly since this will decide the design of your marketing material.

For my movie, I decided right off the bat that since my market didn't exist (99% of my sales comes from US/Europe, and my movie isn't even in English!) it would be a fruitless exercise to either use FB ads or generate a continuous online page - that's the reality of my market. 99.9% movies have a shelf life of a few weeks at best. I didn't want to spend the time or money since my ROI didn't work out.

This is my general impression about FB as well. From among all the other potential tools I can use in my marketing arsenal, I've come to realize FB generally isn't very productive for my purposes. This is also the general case in my industry - whether multi-million dollar budgets or zero budget productions.

So, can you get the same sales with one well-placed ad in a local magazine as you would with months of FB activity? Can you provide better service to your customers via FB or your personal website/telephone/email? Does a FB page do justice to your brand image? Is the design of a typical FB page layout / constraints of a FB ad enough to communicate your marketing message without compromise?

This can go on and on...so I hope this helps in some way.
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Justinr
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« Reply #21 on: May 02, 2012, 03:16:45 AM »
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@ Sareesh

Yep, That's pretty much what I was trying to say but you did it so much better and more thoroughly.
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figure1a
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« Reply #22 on: May 10, 2012, 09:01:12 PM »
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Facebook does help. But only a little. If find that 99% of my "Likes" are other photographers and only 1% are art buyers, art directors, etc. I usually post behind the scenes images and some new work now and then—it's a good way to show people how you work and to keep your fresh work in front of them in their Facebook news feed.

http://on.fb.me/JhKsCy
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #23 on: May 15, 2012, 07:08:41 PM »
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This might be of interest:

General Motors to drop Facebook ads due to low consumer impact

From the article:

"While GM gave no specific reason for dropping Facebook ads, a source familiar with the automaker's plans said the company's marketing executives decided Facebook's ads had little impact on consumers."
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Slobodan

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fredjeang
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« Reply #24 on: May 16, 2012, 11:58:16 AM »
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Walls...

here is a pic of the Who when it comes to walls.


Who's next?
« Last Edit: May 24, 2012, 01:29:13 PM by fredjeang » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #25 on: May 16, 2012, 12:39:35 PM »
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Is anything real anymore?

Glad to see you are still in good spirits, Fred; the good weather here has suddenly turned cold again. But I did manage to get my washing done, so clean T-shirts etc. when I need them... Life is one big party. Somewhere else. At the very least, I hope so!

;-(

Rob C
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fredjeang
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« Reply #26 on: May 16, 2012, 12:58:21 PM »
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Is anything real anymore?

Glad to see you are still in good spirits, Fred; the good weather here has suddenly turned cold again. But I did manage to get my washing done, so clean T-shirts etc. when I need them... Life is one big party. Somewhere else. At the very least, I hope so!

;-(

Rob C

Glad to read you too Rob. Well, I'm quite enjoying the cold actually. Man, we where freezing and almost the next day we reached 40º c in Madrid. Not fun ! Never seen that before. Too hot too fast. You have the sea just next to your home and not yet the tourist invasion. Here we have the cars, the risk prime broke the 500 points today, Bankia (my bank) in banquerupcy, Greece in flames...you got the beach, lucky man!
« Last Edit: May 16, 2012, 01:01:31 PM by fredjeang » Logged
Rob C
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« Reply #27 on: May 17, 2012, 08:11:45 AM »
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Glad to read you too Rob. Well, I'm quite enjoying the cold actually. Man, we where freezing and almost the next day we reached 40º c in Madrid. Not fun ! Never seen that before. Too hot too fast. You have the sea just next to your home and not yet the tourist invasion. Here we have the cars, the risk prime broke the 500 points today, Bankia (my bank) in banquerupcy, Greece in flames...you got the beach, lucky man!


Trouble with that, Fred, is that it makes the temptation to go for a one-way walk outwards very easy...

The banks in Spain do worry me a bit - not a lot, because we always kept a minimum float here - but we also experienced the real fear of late 2008 when at least two big British banks were seriously touch-and-go. Today I still pay the penalty for other people's mistakes: no interest from the bank and my 'stock pension' also worthless since the advent of those bloody microstock companies. Please, don't anybody  bother replying with crap about those mothers democratising photography: if you were good, there was never a barrier to anybody, pro or am, getting into a great international stock library... other factors scewed it for everybody who depended upon the industry to make the difference between make or break...

Oh, and from reading recent posts here I get the impression one should feel sorry for flikr, or whatever the hell it calls itself. Yeah, right!

Rob C
« Last Edit: May 17, 2012, 08:14:46 AM by Rob C » Logged

Justinr
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« Reply #28 on: May 17, 2012, 03:50:59 PM »
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This might be of interest:

General Motors to drop Facebook ads due to low consumer impact

From the article:

"While GM gave no specific reason for dropping Facebook ads, a source familiar with the automaker's plans said the company's marketing executives decided Facebook's ads had little impact on consumers."

It never ceases to amaze me that these big corporations with marketing teams who are supposedly worthy of both acclaim and vast pay cheques ever got involved in the first place. It is the triumph of hubris over expectation, did they never do their homework before getting all wet in the knickers about it?
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MikeWhitten
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« Reply #29 on: May 18, 2012, 10:29:20 AM »
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To the OP's question -

I have watched a family member build a wedding / portrait business up from scratch to the point of replacing her day job using nothing but Facebook for marketing. It took her something like two years. Easy? No. She has an incredible work ethic, a great personality for Facebook, puts in the time and energy it takes. She works hard for her clients and her market (younger crowd; she's in her twenties) is heavily involved with Facebook.

It can work. But it's just a tool. I believe this young lady would have succeeded in the days of yellow pages and Sunday circulars; it's her persistence and energy that make the difference. Facebook just lowered the cash outlay cost of getting going.

Mike
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Justinr
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« Reply #30 on: May 19, 2012, 02:28:37 AM »
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To the OP's question -

I have watched a family member build a wedding / portrait business up from scratch to the point of replacing her day job using nothing but Facebook for marketing. It took her something like two years. Easy? No. She has an incredible work ethic, a great personality for Facebook, puts in the time and energy it takes. She works hard for her clients and her market (younger crowd; she's in her twenties) is heavily involved with Facebook.

It can work. But it's just a tool. I believe this young lady would have succeeded in the days of yellow pages and Sunday circulars; it's her persistence and energy that make the difference. Facebook just lowered the cash outlay cost of getting going.

Mike

Which goes back to what I was saying about needing to be a Facebook sort of person. You don't mention where she is based but I guess it is America where FB tends to be taken more seriously from what I have gather from various other sources and friends.

To be honest I'd feel a bit of a pervy going on and chatting up the girls in the hope of a some business, and they'd probably think the same.
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Rob C
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« Reply #31 on: May 19, 2012, 03:54:12 AM »
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Which goes back to what I was saying about needing to be a Facebook sort of person. You don't mention where she is based but I guess it is America where FB tends to be taken more seriously from what I have gather from various other sources and friends.

To be honest I'd feel a bit of a pervy going on and chatting up the girls in the hope of a some business, and they'd probably think the same.



Justin, I think you've just said far more than you imagined.

I have felt the very same about almost all of the various personal connections that I have made in my life, to the extent that I have not allowed personal friendships to become business. Yep, that's a form of slow suicide, but there you go - it would feel like I was taking advantage of people and nothing was about friendship any longer. On the other side of the equation, I have relatives who are of the opposite persuasion and have flourished from personal contacts...

Of course, I'm speaking here of friends that started as friends without business interest being any part of it. Connections made directly through business are something totally different.

Rob C
« Last Edit: June 15, 2012, 02:20:17 PM by Rob C » Logged

Isaac
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« Reply #32 on: May 24, 2012, 12:46:19 PM »
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Also -- Google+ for Photographers
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SecondFocus
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« Reply #33 on: June 14, 2012, 02:30:17 PM »
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SYMPOSIUM: Entrepreneurial Photographers & Monetizing the Internet... A program from the Palm Springs Photo Festival this past April 2012. This Symposium started out after 8 minutes of introductions and such with Allen Murabayashi, CEO and Co-Founder of PhotoShelter opening the program with a discussion about me and Facebook....

http://secondfocus.blogspot.com/2012/06/palm-springs-photo-festival-symposium.html?spref=fb
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Ian L. Sitren
SecondFocus
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« Reply #34 on: June 14, 2012, 09:43:15 PM »
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SYMPOSIUM: Entrepreneurial Photographers & Monetizing the Internet... A program from the Palm Springs Photo Festival this past April 2012. This Symposium started out after 8 minutes of introductions and such with Allen Murabayashi, CEO and Co-Founder of PhotoShelter opening the program with a discussion about me and Facebook....

http://secondfocus.blogspot.com/2012/06/palm-springs-photo-festival-symposium.html?spref=fb


... 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.

Hustling always works. You would have found another platform if FB didn't exist. Now you're using this forum.

FB doesn't have a good return for those that have the means to work another method more effectively, hence GM and others have abandoned it.

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.

Well said and validated by several market studies.

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SecondFocus
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« Reply #35 on: June 14, 2012, 10:19:38 PM »
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That is one thing I am certainly not doing. I have nothing to market here and no aspirations to do so.

Now you're using this forum

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Ian L. Sitren
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« Reply #36 on: June 15, 2012, 02:12:27 PM »
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FB is rapidly changing things, just about every week now especially for businesses.

The big thing is now businesses (fan pages) need to pay to post if they want updates even seen by followers.  Short version, about 15% of your fans will now see an update post.  If you want to boost that, you can pay up to $20 per post (depending on how many followers you have) to 'promote it'.  Yes, each post.  For three days that post will then show to a greater percentage.  Still not all, just more, and they don't guarantee an exact percentage.

Personally I'm letting my fan page go away on it's own and doing everything through my personal account.  I will now just be creating galleries on my account page and just posting new blog posts through the fan page. 

I experimented with the pay to post feature and found it cost just under $1 per click in the end.  Way over priced, especially considering it's just hitting your existing fans.
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TMARK
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« Reply #37 on: June 21, 2012, 12:14:31 PM »
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It depends on your market.  I think it works locally, for retail businesses, as one channel of getting your message out there.  For agencies, its a different story. Facebook is incidental for agencies hiring photographers.  Now that I'm at an Omnicron agency, and have input on hiring photographers, Facebook can't hurt, and its a good way to build awareness.  But you have to know your market, understand who and what your market is, to get any use out of it.  We aren't going to call in a "book" from a Facebook posting.  But seeing recent work that may be right for a job has happened, then its off to the photographer's site, then we poll people to see if s/he is an incompetent asshole, do a search for their online asshole factor.  If their are no significant negatives, and we like the work, we have a conference call.  Then bids, etc. The Facebook element is minimal, at best.

I'm in strategy now, and I'll tell you, I've seen the numbers.  Media planners are realizing that people in the US using Facebook are not in an aquisitive mode of behavior when they log on.  Facebook's "succes" is based upon the human desire to talk and gosip, with all that entails.  Psychologicaly people in the US using Facebook alone in an airport are "chatting with friends" as if in a coffee shop.  I hate to bring up symiotics, but the deconstruction of the Facebook experience, and why I don't have much faith in its viability as a media channel for above the line advertising, can be simply put:  what makes Facebook great is also its failure as an advertising channel:  When was the last time you wanted to research and buy something while you hung out with a group of friends, sharing a (virtual) intimate moment?  Facebook's value to a brand is awareness (some), but is more in the realm of local retail advertising.  For instance, a local vintage motorcycle store posts when they are having group rides, events, sales, and pics from events.  This is effective in a local retail market, for a small shop with NO BUDGET.  The reason it works is that the market is a small group of like minded motorcyclists (cohesive), a group of which the shop owners are members, and people have to overcome inertia to Friend their page, so they are already hooked.  They also use a soft sell, which always helps.  In my case, when I needed new tires, I spent more with them than ordering from the web, because I LIKE them a speople, and they really are genuinly part of the community.

So the lesson for photographers?  Know your market.  Be honest.  Don't try to come across as marketing yourself.  If your market consists of agency art buyers, CD's and AD's, just post new work, but more importantly, maybe try to get rid of that LL post where you came across as such a dick arguing about medium format digital versus 35mm digital.  No one wants to work with a dick.
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DennisWilliams
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« Reply #38 on: June 22, 2012, 08:42:04 PM »
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FB offers no bounce for me but there are two likely causes which may not translate to other's business models.

I am hired  to shoot so there are no print sales or shoots with  ''people" who might cross my path through  FB.
Jobs are by invitation or viable referral only.

I actually am friends with 90% of the people I am friends with on FB. The other 10% I am acquainted with.
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sailronin
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« Reply #39 on: July 16, 2012, 08:26:10 PM »
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My son and daughter in law have a wedding photography business. Facebook is an integral part of their marketing with ads targeting a specific demographic (women, 18-30 yrs old and local zip codes). This increased their business significantly in the first year and the numbers are remaining steady so that they are booked to capacity during the wedding season.
They spend a lot of time not only on the pop up ads but keeping their page up to date and responding to posts. They also link to related but non competitive businesses which return the service. For a specific business model and age group, FB seems worth the effort.
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Thank you for looking, comments and critiques are always welcome.
Dave

http://sailronin.smugmug.com
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