The Sad Truth About Facebook

The Sad Truth About Facebook

Everything in life comes and goes. Sadly, photographers using Facebook to promote their work is coming to an end. It wasn’t that long ago when newsfeeds were sorted by the things most recently posted and not by what Facebook thought we’d be interested in. There was a time when followers of any given Facebook Page would scroll through their newsfeed and they saw every photo or status posted. The good old days are behind us. Facebook’s algorithm is a bottomless, money hungry pit. After making some huge mistakes on Facebook, I now realize that Instagram is the only platform that provides photographers with the greatest reach. 

Almost every photographer using Facebook has spent months and years building a following on Facebook, only to be disappointed. Personally, I cannot count the amount of marketing books and articles I have read to gain knowledge on the best way to use it. From experience, I learned to always provide a link to my page on all other social media platforms. On Facebook itself, I tagged my page shamelessly on other photography groups and on the FStoppers articles I have written. After four years, I finally reached  over 50,000 followers. As excited as I was, I also felt heavy-hearted. Knowing that people are trying to follow your work, but will never see it is nothing short of bittersweet. 

MY BIGGEST MISTAKE WHILE USING FACEBOOK

Two months ago, PRO EDU asked me to boost a few of my posts for the upcoming release for my tutorial. We wanted the extra reach, but nonetheless, I had a bad feeling about it. I did it anyways. We spent over $2,000 from our budget to boost posts for a week, advertising the tutorial. Now, while the reach was tremendous, every post after that tanked. I have strong reasons to believe that Facebook notices if you're willing to spend money to boost posts and automatically cuts your organic reach to get you to boost posts again. Facebook is not what it used to be. Before they went public, Facebook was a way to connect humanity. After becoming public, Facebook became a business and like any business, the company needed to find ways to generate profit. Ever since then, Facebook’s algorithm has been constantly changing and evolving with ways to help bring in cash. Giving Facebook my money was a mistake I made that crushed my page and now it is nothing but useless. Do not under any circumstances even dare give them your money; not only do they take it and barely give anything in return but they will try to suck you dry.

Before I started boosting posts I was getting solid engagement.

It’s possible to argue that Facebook, like any business, needs to make money. But honestly, how far are they willing to push the limits before people leave them behind for another platform? Just look at MySpace. Seeing my posts reach 1/10th of my followers these past few months has me running for the hills. I’m running from Facebook into the loving arms of the newer, hotter model: Instagram. My feedback on Instagram has me convinced to put all my time and effort there. With only half the fans on Instagram, I’ve been getting double and even triple the feedback. 

Here are some side by side comparisons between my Facebook page and Instagram after I had started boosting posts on Facebook:

53,000 vs 27,000

For those who still find this hard to believe check out this video that explains the issue in depth.

Let me conclude by saying that while Facebook has it’s issues, it is also an excellent form of communication. There is no question that it’s difficult to connect one on one with friends and followers on Instagram. With that being said, I still use it to converse privately with other photographers. However, when it comes to promoting my work, Facebook is no longer the place I do it. It is nothing but a disheartening experience. 

Log in or register to post comments

102 Comments

Previous comments
Ralph Hightower's picture

Facebook is now a publically traded company. They want their 10-Q (quarterly report) and 8-K (annual report) to look good to investors in their filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (http://www.sec.gov/).
Will they report this scam in their quarterly and annual reports? No. Unless there is a lawsuit filed against Facebook or a significant number of complaints are filed with the SEC about this abuse.

joanna mendes's picture

But how to do marketing on IG? How to target the right audience? I've tried and didn't have much luck . Not sure how to be seen and found by right people. Hashtags, places?

John Johnson's picture

Sadly, FB owns IG now. Someone recently told me that he has seen a massive drop in likes lately and suspects IG will soon go the way of FB...I certainly hope not...

Bliss Trevize's picture

I'm sorry, but Facebook evil has spread its wings to Instagram. Here it is:
http://www.businessinsider.com/instagram-switches-on-ads-api-2015-8

Frederic Hore's picture

I've read with interest many of the posts, including those flaming FB. I must admit, I am an occasional user, as my revenue comes from editorial and commercial photography, plus teaching photo workshops here in Montreal.

But I've had considerable success with FB promoting and filling spots in these workshops, which I link to
my website. I don't need thousands of likes or comments to fill 10 spots!

FB along with Twitter and whatever other free social media you like to use, should be viewed as a method to reach out and promote your business. And like anything in business, it doesn't make sense to place all your eggs in one basket. At least, that's my guiding philosophy, which has worked well for me through the years.

Cheers,
Frederic in Montréal

Mark Fa'amaoni's picture

I'm seeing the difference in likes, but I'm not seeing the difference in conversion rates. Are you tracking where your customers are coming from? Can you post those numbers? Surely those numbers are more important than how many likes an image gets?

Calder Wilson's picture

IG has a bigger problem. IG bots like instagress have ruined the platform for me, and fake accounts themselves that fuel these bots, the ones with 9-49 bad photos and a hugely disproportionate number of followers, are pervasive. Look at your own IG posts - a ton of those likes you're getting don't event seem like real people. I see this everywhere on big pages. I think if you cut a lot of this from the equation, you'd see numbers between FB and IG more closely aligning.

Dudley Didereaux's picture

I am absolutely no admirer of FaceBook. But, it was always meant as a social instrument, a money generator for FB yes, but as a base for casual social interactions. People like yourself began to realize its commercial value and almost succeeded in turning it into an eBay of ads. Which started to erode the user base. So FB making such changes appears to have caught on, and are taking steps. Good on them!

I think the best way for a commercial based user is to use FB to share links to their commercial sites. And quit trying to use it as a storefront.

michael buehrle's picture

what's Facebook ?

Matthias Hombauer's picture

Hi Dani, great article! I tested it an came to the same result. I posted one of my Metallica photos on my Facebook profile page (5000 followers), my Facebook Fanpage (7123 folloers) and on Instagram (2850 folloers). I didn´t boost my post on my Facebook fanpage, so it´s a different approach , but it shows clearly that posts on your FB fanpage don´t get spread as much as on your FB profile page or instagram.

Patrick Noone's picture

Instagram is no better, they ask for a security code via a text they say they will send, but like the people waiting for the Titanic in New York, it never arrives, so many complaining about this issue on (not so) instagram.