I had the pleasure of chatting with Amy at Photo Business Tools about why photographers shouldn’t rely on Facebook as a main website. I was actually kind of surprised that any photographer would not have a traditional site to accompany Facebook. Any attempt to run an online business via Facebook alone would be a drastic mistake. Facebook misses 80% of potential traffic, is not a complete SEO strategy, and has the power to own and delete your content. Watch the interview for more detail about why owning a blog should be mandatory for all photographers.
Facebook Misses 80% of Web Traffic
Photographers #1 goal is sales, and to get sales from online marketing you need traffic. Traffic comes in three sources:
- Referral Traffic (visits from other sites’ links, including Facebook)
Usually most photographers have a pretty even split, with a third of traffic from each segment. For me, referral traffic is 40% of my total and Facebook is 20% of that. Facebook is a big chunk of traffic, but nowhere close to 100%. Therefore photographers cannot depend solely on Facebook to run an online business, which would exclude traffic from search and other social sites like Pinterest.
Why Facebook is not an SEO Strategy
Google looks for pages about the topic someone searched. If someone searches your name, they will find your Facebook page. But if they search a phrase like Sacramento wedding photographer, they won’t find your Facebook page because your Page is not about that phrase. While most of the searches on the web will be for phrases other than a name, photographers need a blog to rank for them. every time you create a new post, that creates a page about a specific topic that can be searched.
Facebook is great for the people that know you, but is horrible for the people who don’t know you yet (and will not be able to find your Page). There is a bigger pie of people who don’t know me so I’d rather position myself for that growth via search engines.
– Janelle Nutter, Square Root Photography
You Don’t Own Your Facebook Page
When you publish a Page on Facebook, they own the content and can do anything they want with your business, including delete you.
My photographer friend had 5,000 likes and 4,000 Friends and Facebook deleted her account without warning. She didn’t know why this happened, could not get a response from Facebook, and had to start all over under a different name. There are many reasons to get deleted, like a cover image that violates Facebook’s terms, using a profile to make status updates about your business, and many others.
I can’t imagine the loss of time, hard work, reputation, and income from a deleted Page. It reminds me that with online business we’re at risk to put an entire online marketing strategy with any one company (Facebook, Google, etc).
Clients on Your Blog Spend Longer with You
When your fans interact with you on Facebook, that engagement lasts only seconds. If they make a comment, click Like, or ask you a question, the amount of branding you get as a result is minimal. It takes many repeated exposures to build up your brand via Facebook.
When users click through Facebook (or any other source) to visit your blog, they will likely spend 2 minutes or more engaging with your brand. They’ll be looking exclusively at your work and not be distracted by new Facebook posts popping up.
Facebook has branding benefit, but again, cannot be an entire strategy. Business Pages should be expanded on with blog posts to recruit a captive audience to your website. Don’t forget to link status updates to your blog often!
Facebook has Demoted Page Updates
Don’t relay on all your Fans to see an update – the truth is about 10 or 20% will see your stuff. Facebook is not showing business Page updates in your clients newsfeeds as often. Why? They want you to pay to Promote your post. In addition to Facebook I maintain an email list to send fans my blog posts. This is a great way to own your contacts and maintain more control about who will see your business.
– Peggy Carty, Peggy Carty Photography
You Can Do More
Please don’t trust your entire photography business to Facebook. Facebook is a must, but photographers need traditional websites as well in order to gain traffic from search engines as well as limit reliance on any single company.