Measuring a Photographer's Success Using Social Media

If you are like me you probably spend a good amount of time following and watching other photographers on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Flickr, and other social media channels. But have you really wondered how successful some really are when it comes to having a successful photography business? 

The use of social media creates an illusion that many photographers are very successful. The measurement of success is commonly measured in the number of likes, followers, retweets, clicks and other unreliable methods. The question is, are the numbers correct and do they really mean anything? I use some social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to post some of my images and blog posts, but I do not trust the statistical data they provide. The numbers of likes, followers, tweets, and repost are worthless to me. That is why I limit my posts on the sites today. To me, much of social media is a complete waste of time and money. Let me give you an example. I use to have my own Roger Younce Photography Facebook page with over 500 followers. That sounds great, doesn't it? The reality was. I had no real connection with all of the followers and having so many followers did nothing to help me build my business. Many of the followers were inactive on the page. When I posted an image, many would like the images or messages and I had only 2 people out of over 500 followers that would leave a comment. So, who question is, who is really following my page? After 2 years of posting on Facebook and advertising on it, I realized it was a complete waste of time. The use of Twitter and Instagram is not effective either for one with a photography business. Advertising for me was very ineffective. I received a lot of likes, clicks, and retweets, but that does not help me build my business. Anyone who has their own business knows that having a lot of likes and followers does not pay the bills. The goal for any business to make money. It is frustrating to spend money and not truly know if the money I was spending was being used effectively. I have never really trusted Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for marketing. From my experience, it is a total waste of money. 

The use of social media for photographers is a great way to create an illusion that a photographer is very successful. I watch a lot of videos of some very popular photographers that are full-time photographers and I wonders how they can afford to take trips all over the country and other parts of the world. Many times we seem to measure a photographers success by the number of trips one takes or the locations they visit. We think those photographers are so lucky.  I would like to how they can afford the latest and greatest gear. I actually believe that some of the most well-known photographers are probably broke. Of course, you would not know it by their social media posts. I actually would not have a problem with watching a photographer that was honest with what it takes to be a full-time photographer with his or her own business. I would like to hear the pros and cons of being a photographer in business for themselves. That would be refreshing.

Below is a great video of a real estate photographer that is totally honest about what it takes to be a successful photographer. He explains how much time, money, and work goes into being a full-time photographer. Check out Understanding What Full-Time Looks Like 

Most photographers that I follow on social media are very entertaining, have nice photos, and seem to have large audiences. My question is, are they truly successful? In my opinion, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media sites are useless to build an audience and market one's images and services. What I feel can be more effective is the use of one's own photography website. I would much rather spend my time building my own website and using the analytical data provided by great websites companies such a Square Space to monitor my visitor's visits, visitor's geo-information. and visitor's comments. Yes, creating an active website can be a challenge and a lot of work but I find having my own website provides me with a home to post what I like and my customers and clients want to see. I am not restricted by the number of characters I can use, the subjects I want to cover, and the images I want to post. 

I found an entertaining post from a photographer on Youtube. Photo Tom used satire to illustrate how photographers can present an illusion of what makes a photographer seem successful and how many photographers, including myself, waste a lot of time and money when it comes to a photography business and measuring if we are successful. To see the video visit The Secret of Great Photography - A Photographic Satire

So, what are your thoughts about using social media for your photography business? Are you successful? Do you find the number of likes, followers, and retweets really represents a measure of true success for your business? Do you have your own photography website? I would love to hear your comments on these topics. Feel free to leave a comment. Since this is my website, I can promise you I will read them. 

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger Younce