Is Facebook Too Expensive for Small Business Owners and Photographers
I currently have both a Facebook pages group (5,088 followers) and a Google+ account (14,641 followers) for Luke Zeme Photography. I’ve noticed a sharp decline in the amount of interactivity my Photography Facebook Pages account has been receiving when posting the same work.
Why? because Facebook is now charging users to have their posts show up in its followers feeds.
An important disctinction needs to be made firstly. Facebook Pages differs to your everday Facbeook personal account where the Pages accounts are meant to be used by business owners, this includes photographers. If you were to just use a Personal account for your business you risk having the account deleted by FB. This would result in all your hard work just vanishing over night so Facebook has forced its business users to open a Pages account.
The Psychology of posting:
No matter how many followers you have there is an impulse to seek the approval from your fellow photographers and the general public through social media. You find that photographers often gauge the quality of their own work by how many likes it gets or the amount of hits per month they have on their website. As artist’s we have a constant struggle between finding our own voice without allowing this journey to be influenced by how many +1’s images receive. Obvisouly both avenues can be advantageous to the business owner in the long run, but I think the most important of the two to follow is your own personal journey and discovering who you are as an artist and photographer.
Why aren’t your followers on Facebook Pages seeing your posts?
The reason is simple, Facebook started making its users pay for their posts to be seen by their followers. This strategy was put into place simply for Facebook to make money, full stop.
So even though I have over 5k followers on Facebook unless I pay set fees for each individual post they won’t show up in all of these 5 thousand news feeds, only a select few. This system has been very detrimental to small business owners as they might not be trying to make money out of everything they post or can’t afford the new system. For example, I might just like to post a blog or share an image with no intention of making money from it but unless I pay a substantial fee the post will go mostly unnoticed.
So to have your posts show up in your followers feeds you have to “Boost” the post and these prices don’t come cheap! Facebook states that
“Boosting a post increases the likelihood that your audience will see your post in their News feeds”
So they don’t even guarantee that your post will show up in your followers feeds, just that it might.
How much does Facebook Post Boosting Cost?
The cost to boost a post depends on several factors, including the geographic location of the people you target and how many people you wish to reach.
I’ve found it to be extremely expensive and I did some trials back when Facebook implemented this new system back in 2013. Here is an example of what kinds of costs you are looking at for a single post. So for me to even have the possibility, remember it increases the likelihood and isn’t a sure thing, that my post will reach every one of my followers (5,088 people) it will cost around $40 as you can see in the graphic below. Small business owners start to run into trouble when they are making multiple posts per day and of a various nature.
Is it worth it?
Well this really depends on how much you are willing to spend and what type of return you are looking to get out of each post. If you are just sharing blogs that involve your thoughts and opinions then obviously there won’t be any return on your investment. You have to consider whether or not you are just throwing money away. The age old statement is that you have to spend money to make money, but in this case I think you seriously have to consider if you are comitting a wise investement.
FB Boost cost example:
Lets say I made 2 posts a day, for the week I’d be looking at $40 x 2posts x 7days = $560/ week just for 14 posts.
The alternative for photographers:
A great alternative is Google+ and it’s free to have your posts seen by all your followers. What is also great about Google+ is that users have the option to receive an email notification everytime you make a post. There is no “boosting” or post payments and you have the benefit of joining and posting in communities as well. These range from the sciences to very specific things like drone planes. What I like about Google+ for photographers is that there is a large community growing there and it’s a friendly and reciprocative enviroment. You can always get a healthy amount of feedback for your work and there’s always projects and things to get involved in if thats what you are looking for.
I think the only thing holding Google+ at the moment is that is seen as a place for geeks and nerds. For it to really take off it needs to reach the mainstream and I can’t see why it shouldn’t as it offers everything that FB does and even has free video chats with Google Hangouts.
Examples of the decline I’ve seen in my Posts on Facebook due to FB making us now pay for posts to be seen in News Feeds:
I’m taking out the bias in this practice by sharing the last 3 exact same posts from Facebook and Google+. The huge difference isn’t because of the quality of work, but because the images just aren’t showing up in my followers feeds.
What I’d like you to remember here when viewing the data is that I have 5k followers on Facebook and 15k followers on Google+ . I didn’t “Boost” (Pay any $) my posts on either social media platform and you can see how siginificant the results are. You’d expect Google+ to have more interactions, i.e. Likes and comments etc., because I have around 3 times as many followers. But the results are really quite disturbing and have me wondering if FB is really the right place for small business owners and photographers. Personally I think the cost of Facebook has risen to such a high amount that it might result in me having to close my account shortly, time will tell…
If you would like to weigh in on this discussion I would love to hear your thoughts, please leave a comment below.