Facebook Slams the Door on Photographers

Facebook Slams the Door on Photographers

As photographers, Social Media takes a hit on all of our time. We do it for various reasons. Because it is fun. Because it is a good way to reach people who are otherwise not reachable. Because it is certainly a powerful part of the lives of all of us in business.

Facebook is certainly a big player in the Social Media world. Many photographers have used it to great advantage to help market their work, or grow their reach.

What were once called “Fan Pages” were changed to simply “Pages” a few years ago. And many of the people who are in small business saw this as a great opportunity to grow a community around their brand, share new work, create interest in innovative products.

And there were custom landing pages that allowed small businesses and photographers offer a premium for “liking” their page, as well as present a custom look to the normal Facebook UI. These custom pages could be set as the default home page for “Pages” allowing the FB business to control the entrance to the page.

Then that changed, and we have the timeline. The only customization that can be made is the top graphic. OK, fine. If it is across all pages, then it is somewhat “fair” I suppose.

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But many photographers and small business owners have worked hard to get a lot of subscribers to “like” their page. These are people who ASKED to be kept apprised of posts and changes to the page.

Facebook just inserted them into the middle of this now by requiring the photographer to PAY to reach out to the people who ASKED to be kept apprised. (Right about now, someone is going to say… “well, FB is free so you shouldn’t complain”. Oh, please… that is simply bullshit and we aren’t even going to go there. FB charges advertisers to get access to me. A lot of money.)

So they expect me to spend from $5 to $20 to reach out to the people who have asked me to send them stuff. I will not comply (well, there have been two that I did ‘Promote” as they were essentially advertisements for my UDEMY course. For an ad, I have no problem with paying for the placement, so no problem there.)

From Photographer Neil van Niekerk;

“The linked articles above mention a loss of up to 60% of people that see the pages. I’m in the region on 90% if I have to roughly estimate it. By reposting the album of photos, I have been able to get more people to see it, but the numbers are still way down.

If this trend with Facebook continues, I’ll just put more accent on my blogs. FB doesn’t bring discernible income to me. It’s a marketing thing, sure. But I can’t say that I have had any income which was solely because of FB. I don’t have anything to sell in the way a retailer has … so there isn’t much driving me to pay FB money for other photographers to see my FB page.

I will just send the link to the FB albums to my clients, and they will share with family and friends, and I am content. That’s all I really need from this. But there is no reason for me to use Facebook to the extent I have in the past.”

You should absolutely read all of Neil’s post. It is far more detailed than I am going to get.

Like Neil, I find it difficult to continue to create content for Facebook if I am forced to pay for the reach I earned. I will probably hook up my twitter account to feed it, but the idea that I create specific work for my Facebook people when MOST will never see it makes me weigh the ROI of the work.

You can see in the chart below EXACTLY when FB changed their (secret) algorithm sending posts out to folks. From an average of 1670 readers to an average of 460 readers in a few days. The same days that FB changed it up.


Seriously?

I am preparing a longer post on what I think photographers should do now. But quickly, it is that it is now even more apparent… your BLOG / WEBSITE is still your best marketing tool. Every time we get a third party intermediary they begin to chip away at our wallets. Ya know!

There is no easy way to do anything, and working on a blog and a website can be hard work. You have to WORK for your readers, and you have to WORK for your content.

But no one is going to come between you and your readers.

See you next time.

Related:
“Want to Highlight Your New Facebook Pictures? Pay to Promote Them”
by Samantha Murphy at Mashable.

Yes, FB wants you to PAY to promote your personal shots of lunches and laundry.

Seriously…

A Hipstagram photo from recent trip through Maine.

A rock beach near Camden, Maine

A rock beach near Camden, Maine

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About 

I am in love with light.

Also known as Don Giannatti, photography has been the focus of my life for most of my adult years. I have written three books for Amherst Media (available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble: keyword 'don giannatti'. Lighting Essentials is my flagship blog and ezine with a slightly different slant than most photography related blogs. If you are interested in becoming a better photographer, check out www.project52.org. Thanks for visiting.

14 Comments

  1. Did you expect any less when they went public, and since that point have been dropping like a rock in value, all the while decreasing the age limit. Facebook led the charge when My Space dropped the ball. Now, Facebook is really the king of anything for a buck and shameless cooking of numbers to inflate their usage stats. If it were not for my daughter in Seattle, I would not even bother logging on to what Facebook has become.

  2. I have to say that I have been hearing a LOT about this lately and tend to not be hit as much as everyone else is saying they have been.

    I strongly agree that your website and or blog are THE most important thing in marketing and always have been. NOT Facebook. Facebook has always been and should always be considered icing on the cake when marketing, since you never really had control over what they did/do. It’s like counting on a quarterly bonus to make sure you pay your bills on time…

    I have not seen a discernible change in the interactions of my FB page, because I tag everyone possible and I share posts with as many people as possible.

    It will always be a matter of keeping people engaged. If they want to see your posts they ultimately will create an “Interests” group for your content.

    It is NOT about how many people “Like” your page, but how many actually care about it’s content. If you have 10K followers and only 5% interaction then its a worthless process. If you have a couple hundred followers and you’re doubling that in your “reach” then you are doing something right.

    I am going to check out the other blog you mentioned above, but I am hoping that it lends to a little more technical information as I have heard mostly people complaining about how FB has changed the rules… again… for the 700th time.

  3. Get on G+ none of that nonsense there and a huge crowd of great photographers and photography fans
    Doug Alder recently posted..Who’s There? by Irene MeiMy Profile

    • Yeah… I know.

      But there is no one there, really.

      Small business is having no traction there at all and all I see are photographers hawking their own works. It is less community than community lecturing.

      I will be taking another look at it, but I find the circles to be stupid and an impediment to seamless integration.

      A SM platform that exists only for it to exist is not that interesting to me.

      But – again, I will be looking at it more closely to see if anything has changed.

      Thanks.

  4. Edward,

    “It will always be a matter of keeping people engaged. If they want to see your posts they ultimately will create an “Interests” group for your content”

    Yes. Indeed.

    But now FB has inserted a paywall between the people who want my content and my content. You are correct, but looking at the graph is is plain to see that my content, which was ASKED for by the recipients, is not getting through.

    Your scenario is a paradox.

    Create more content that less people can see and get more people to see it?

    Really?

    “It is NOT about how many people “Like” your page, but how many actually care about it’s content. If you have 10K followers and only 5% interaction then its a worthless process.”

    And how does one get people to care about their content? Pay?

    Of course… but that is not what was promised implicitly and overtly by FB when the Page was introduced. A person who “liked” my page was then subscribed, and would get my posts in their wall and side panel. That is EXACTLY what was promised… now there is a gatekeeper in place with their hands out.

    To have interaction, one must be able to see the post. And now the posts are not being seen because I am not “promoting” them.

    I cannot understand your reasoning, but thanks for your comment.

    I know that a lot of people get all worked up over simple and small FB changes, but I hardly see this as something small. This effects many small businesses who were led to believe that investing in “FB Marketing” was important.

    FB Marketing is now totally irrelevant in my opinion. I am advising all my clients to simply slow down on creating content. The ROI is terrible, and not at all worth any investment.

    • I hate to quote your blog, but it IS free and we cannot LIVe by a free site. If they change we must change. We cannot live by relying on an ever changing entity that we have no control over.

      Obviously FB is ALWAY changing so no one should ever rely on it for anything. It is, again, icing on the cake.

      It change for the better or worse, but will always change to serve IT’S better purpose, especially now that it is publicly traded.

      We are very naive to think we could make money off of a free service when it is publicly traded…

      Like I have stated, I have seen NO affect on my stats. I may not have a large following, but my content does still get noticed by my user base.

      Possibly we may be looking at local as apposed to global stats? Either way, I would rather be connected locally than globally. To be able to offer personal services and products and not be known around the world as a FB page….

      You have a great article here. I hope you take no offense at what I have written, since your experience does mimic the majority.

    • Great! Another naive photographer complaining about Facebook.

      First – when you decided to post your photos on Facebook they became Facebook’s photos – they are no longer yours. (Read the fine print).
      Second – a genuine business does not use Facebook as the primary means for presenting itself on the web. While Facebook exists, use it if you think you can get business from it, but don’t be such an amateur about it (unless of course you really are one). A professional website is where your images & services should be presented. Use FB as a convenient shortcut if you must.

      Personally, I would never engage a photographer who set up shop on Facebook.
      Stephen McGrath recently posted..2012 Aussie Grand FinalMy Profile

      • “Great! Another naive photographer complaining about Facebook.”

        Thanks for the kind words. If you believe me to be naive, you are certainly welcome to those thoughts. Obviously you do not have a clue about who I am. But don’t let that stop you from insulting me or anyone else.

        It is always a great way to start a conversation or build dialog.

        “First – when you decided to post your photos on Facebook they became Facebook’s photos – they are no longer yours.”

        Yes. Sure. Been debunked again and again and again. I will not go through it again, but ANY site that allows posting of content that will be seen on the same page as an advertisement (like FB does) will have the same TOS. To document this again for you… when it has been done to death is tedious.

        And, hell, why would I bother to, you have already decided that I am a friggin’ idiot. And, actually, I don’t care that you believe something untrue. Just keep on with that… it will serve you well.

        “… a genuine business does not use Facebook as the primary means for presenting itself on the web”

        Wow.

        1. I never said that anyone was using it as a primary source of advertising. That is part of your feverish desire to make me look stupid.

        2. Many, MANY businesses have been built around Facebook. That, unlike the silly ‘rights grab’ bullshit is TRUE. You did notice that I mentioned small businesses as well.

        Of course many photographers do not use FB as a primary source of anything. But a few do, and what really does that have to do with anything?

        Are you the new “I am the only light in marketing” guy now?

        I am certainly aware of how FB works, and was discussing a change in access (paywall) not whether someone should market to them.

        3. You didn’t even look at my page, obviously, as I am not seeking photography clients. I only have a community, NOT client/marketing based.

        That is a fact.

        But, hey, with the desire to snark first, look later, I totally understand.

        “A professional website is where your images & services should be presented.”

        Wow. Exactly what I said. Did you even read the article, or was the desire to insult so strong that the fingers started typing at the first sight of a comment box?

        “…but don’t be such an amateur about it (unless of course you really are one).”

        Amateur? Seriously?

        OK. We’ll go with that.

        (Dude has some issues… that’s all I will say.

        “Personally, I would never engage a photographer who set up shop on Facebook.”

        While I am so confused by this I am not sure how to discuss it.

        You hire photographers?

        For what?

        And, is that your criteria for hiring said photographers?

        “I love your portfolio, and the bid is right on, but I found that you have a FB page. I am NEVER GONNA HIRE YOUR ASS! Take your filthy portfolio and get the hell out of my office…. you piece of shit FB photographer.”

        Something like that?

        OoooooKaaaaa…

        (wow – just wow… )

        But thanks for your comment.

        It was indeed lovely.

        BTW…

        I am unable to find your Website.

        Professional or other.

        Found your Flickr page.
        And your Twitter page.

        Do professional photographer market on Twitter?

        Or Flickr?

        Just wonderin’?

        I have a website.
        It has words and pictures on it.
        Very cool. Did it myself.

        ;-)

        • 1 – Of course you’re going to get your knickers in a knot when someone doesn’t agree with you. What I wrote is my opinion & I stand by it.
          2 – I am not a photographer. Haven’t been directly connected with that industry for years. I have, however, had a lot to do with decisions regarding the contracting of and outsourcing to freelance, web & other professional services, for a giant company with practically unlimited resources.
          3 – Facebook + photographer = no thank you.

          End of story.
          Stephen McGrath recently posted..2012 Aussie Grand FinalMy Profile

          • Well, as you admit you are not a photographer and this can have no impact on you your opinion is akin to hemorrhoids. Eventually every asshole has one. Yes, that is an ad hominem attack… you deserved it.

            I am a photographer and although FB is not my primary marketing tool it is a big part of building a community and outreach. These changes are not acceptable and create a huge problem for countless artists. I have never had a client look askance at my work because it was on FB. When companies like Coke, Ford and Rolex have a presence on FB why would they then snub me for doing the same?
            The only thing I can see is that you may have passed up some brilliant photographers because of your bigotry.

            The idea that, yes FB is changing may be true, but there is an implicit use case they have built and continuing to alter that is not going to do anything to help their own business in the end. Look at how many time they have rolled out new “features” that they have back-tracked on our completely removed. They make decisions based on the whims of one man and his decisions are based on nothing but gut feelings. They don’t reach out to their uses, which considering what FB is all about is odd.

          • Again… your ignorance of who I am is astounding. I welcome all divergent opinions, and am happy to discuss differing opinions.

            What you are saying is that any discussion with you must be wrapped in snark and insults.

            My ‘knickers’ are not in a wad, whatever the hell that means, because of WHAT you said, but because of HOW you said it.

            Rude, childish and arrogance is simply the currency of the internet, and you are obviously rich in that regard.

            Smug arrogance is so unattractive and boring.

  5. Sorry Stephen,

    But I have to call you out on that one. It’s not a naive point of view. It’s all well and good that Facebook own the pictures I post on there, that’s not the argument here. If I’m comfortable with that (which I am) then I can do that. It’s more the fact that having worked to get a following on there of people that want to see more of your work, you have to pay to reach them?

    I understand if you had to pay to reach an unengaged audience (like old Facebook ads). If you use an RSS feed, it’s similar to you as the “feeder” having to pay to get to the “feedees” so to speak. That is absolute garbage in my opinion. Adverts should be for the unengaged audience, not people that have chosen to engage with you. Nobody chooses to read an advert in a paper, which is why they cost money. To engage the unengaged.

    From a “fan”s point of view, I use Facebook to keep up to date with bands I like, or authors I like and as a fan I expect to get all their updates, and now I’ll only get them when they want to pay to reach their fans?! So I’ll miss out on exclusive offers, or new books. That almost annoys me more than the above point!

    Nobody said that it’s a primary way for presenting yourself on the web, but using Facebook is an extremely useful marketing technique. Portrait and Wedding Photographers such as myself use Facebook a great deal because that’s where the majority of their clients hang out. You tag them in their photos, their friends see them and comment on them, their friends see that and go and check them out because the photos look cool and end up booking you for a session or a wedding.

    It is a very useful marketing tool for people in that line of business, and to be shut off from people who have chosen to like our page is a little like a kick in the teeth.
    Chris – Smudged Photo recently posted..Harrogate Studio Engagement : Steve + JadeMy Profile

    • I did state that one should use whatever marketing options make good business sense. However, FB must be used carefully, as it can have a hidden effect you didn’t intend – such as professional clients not taking you seriously. Regardless, use it, by all means, but don’t post your photos there. And that was my point. I’m not terribly interested in the issue the poster is complaining about. I just shake my head that he (and others) run their business in such a way that FB’s direction affects them so much.
      Stephen McGrath recently posted..2012 Aussie Grand FinalMy Profile

      • Oh, never mind.

        You didn’t even read the post, nor do you have a clue what it is about.

        No where in the post does it even INTIMATE that the OP uses FB as a major part of his business.

        “…such as professional clients not taking you seriously.”

        LOL. Just incredibly naive and disconnected from the world.

        YOU may think that YOUR particular opinions are that of everyone else, but, you would be wrong. If you are not aware of how many businesses DO use FB, and how many very substantial photographers have FB pages, then I can only surmise that you are not aware of what you are talking about at all.

        And, as you stated above, you are not in the business.

        That may be a good thing, given your level of knowledge of it.

        But thanks for the fun.