We’re all likely guilty of spending way too much time utilizing social media sites like Facebook and Instagram to promote our photography businesses. Considering the amount of time and the value of said time, is social media actually paying off for you?
In the last year or so, I’ve personally been taking a few steps away from Facebook and Instagram. While I admit that I never actually gave the other outlets much of a chance, I feel that Facebook and Instagram are the industry leaders, and the later of the two seems to be ideal for photographers — at least it used to be.
Is It Worth Your Time?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American gets paid $24.57 per hour, or $850.12 per week. I think we could argue about whether or not that figure applies to all freelance or salaried photographers, but let’s assume for a moment that it does. How many hours per day are you investing in social media? Some statistics suggest nearly two hours for the average American and at $24.57 per hour, that comes out to nearly 50 bucks a day. Now you might ask yourself if there’s something more productive you could be doing with your time, other than spying on the competition.
Is It Even Healthy?
Is it even healthy to spend all of that time on social media? Unless you’re browsing while on the move, it’s safe the say that from a physical standpoint, staring at your phone or computer screen for hours on end isn’t very healthy. From a mental health standpoint, well, let’s just assume that you’re being productive with the time you spend online, and aren’t spending too much time comparing your life’s work to the Jones’.
Because social media has become such an integrated component of human interaction, it is important for clinicians interacting with young adults to recognize the balance to be struck in encouraging potential positive use, while redirecting from problematic use.
—Brian A. Primack, M.D., Ph.D
Are You Reaching the Right People?
If you’re demanding high prices for your work, it doesn’t make much sense to market to people who can’t afford your prices. While it might look good to have a large number of followers or likes, how often do those likes and follows translate to a dollar amount?
My main Facebook page currently has around 6,500 followers. My Instagram account has just over 2,000. With over 8,000 followers, it kind of feels like I should be booking more than the 35(ish) shoots per year that I book. So with love and appreciation for those who do follow me on social media, it’s safe to say that your likes aren’t actually very valuable at all.
My mind still isn’t made up on how much time and energy I care to invest on Facebook and Instagram or how it affects my photography. One thing I’ve noticed is that as time goes on, my business seems to grow and spread by word of mouth and keeps me about as busy as I’d like to be (though I have no plans to slow down) whether I’m active on social media or not. With more and more restrictions being placed on Facebook Pages and Instagram, what’s the future of social media going to look like for the professional photographer?