Square Space

Social Media Platforms Vs Having Your Own Website

Facebook-Twitter-Instagram

As most people know that read my blog regularly, I am not a real fan of social media platforms even though they are extremely popular in our society today. Just because a social media platform is popular doesn't mean it has real value. Three of the most popular social media platforms are Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. In this post, I want to express my views on the three platforms and explain why having your own website can be much more beneficial for one's business and even one's personal life. But first, I want to share my views on the top three social media platforms.

FACEBOOK

One of the biggest social media platforms is Facebook. Facebook has been around for a long time and over the years has had its problems with security issues, privacy issues, content bias, and poor leadership in how the platform was being run. I remember back in the day when the use of Facebook was fairly innocent. Families and friends could post articles and express themselves on a regular basis. It was fun. But today Facebook has become a platform to post content that is, in my opinion, brings no real value to my life, especially if I want to use it for my business or to advertise my content and brand. It is not a place to express one's thoughts, ideas, and creative processes. It is limited and greatly controlled. Post on Facebook is never current. Think about it. Have you ever liked a post on Facebook and went back to find a post a week or later and it took you forever to find it? That can be very frustrating and total waste of my time.

If you are a creative person who likes to express yourself, Facebook is not a great place to do that. You are limited by what you can put on Facebook. Besides, most people are not going to read a long article listed in a post on Facebook. Facebook is not made for that. Thankfully, one can visit an external link on Facebook if Facebook does not block it. Depending on who reviews content, information is routinely blocked by Facebook. They can do that. It is their platform. I understand why content may need to be controlled, but I don't like the idea of someone else deciding what should be controlled and limited when it comes to my content. With my own domain, I get to decide what content can be posted, when it can be posted, and how much. As the owner of my site, I am in control.

Facebook is a good platform if you want to see what others are doing and to be kept updated with friends and family. However, it is also a place to waste a lot of time and energy on mindless content. Facebook is also a place to be bombarded with advertising you really don't need or want. If you have your own website, there is no advertising that needs to be ignored or blocked. Better yet, with your own website, you can put as much advertising as you want for free.

Facebook does have some useful attributes but for me, it is a waste of time, energy, money, and productivity. If I want to hear from family and friends, I can always pick up the phone and communicate as we did back in the good old days. There is nothing truly social about Facebook in my opinion.

INSTAGRAM

Instagram is a different beast from Facebook. Where Facebook provides you with the ability to post more content, Instagram is all about photos, favoriting post, likes, and followers. If you have the need to be liked and followed it is the place for you. But not for me. I do enjoy the ability to get feedback on the content I post. When I post a photo on Instagram I am looking for feedback and not likes or followers. I could care less about how many followers I get and I am not going to buy followers and many Instagram user do. Like Facebook, Instagram can present the illusion that people on Instagram are popular and successful, but the reality is many are not. I have followers on Instagram. Do I personally know them? No, I do not. Are they real? I have no idea. Do I care? Not really. That is why I do not spend too much of my time on Instagram. Instagram, like Facebook, provides me with no real value in my business and personal life. However, if you like to spend most of your day looking at other photos, it is the place to be. For me, I would rather be out taking the photos.

As for me posting content on Instagram, I am limited. I cannot post active links to my Instagram post. No one is going to copy a link I post on an Instagram feed to get to my website no matter what click bate image I use for a photo. Having to copy a link is too much trouble and a waste of others time they are not going to do it. However, Instagram is good for posting images. As a photographer, I like that. What I don't like is how the quality of my photos are presented on Instagram. As a photographer, I want to present my images that I may want to sell in the best possible way. Facebook and Instagram are not the best resources for showcasing my images. By using my website, I can present my images more effectively.

Instagram is a better platform than Facebook in my opinion. Facebook, in my opinion, is losing ground in the social media platform arena. Instagram is growing more in popularity for the masses, but I am becoming less-and-less a fan. I can post photos on Instagram, but I can't post my content. For example, even with this post, I would not be able to express myself or provide information the way I would like on Instagram. Instagram was not created to do that. Instagram has limits. Limitations are not a good thing for a creator. That is why I rarely use Instagram today. I prefer my own website with no limitations.

TWITTER

Oh, Twitter. How I hate Twitter. Of the main three social media platforms, I hate Twitter the most. The reason is that Twitter over the years has become a place where a lot of people like to complain, harass, attack others, and post some of the most useless information on the Internet. I rarely visit Twitter or post there. If I do, I post on photography related topics. I do have followers and I follow a selected few. In other words, I don't follow or care about others that don't have similar interest. I don't care about retweets or random followers. I do enjoy blocking followers that want to follow me and really don't know me. Blocking Twitter followers in one of my favorite activities when I do go on Twitter. I do have to give Twitter a couple of thumbs up. Twitter has increased its character length and allows me to use hashtags. But most importantly, it allows me to create active hyperlinks for my website. So I can redirect people to my site. Which is where I want my followers, customers, and future subscribers to go. The goal for me is to redirect my visitors to my website. As I mentioned earlier, I hate Twitter.

WHY I LIKE HAVING MY OWN WEBSITE

There are a variety of reasons why I enjoy having my own website over using social media platforms to distribute my content. One of the main reasons is I like owning my own website. I am the owner. By being the sole owner I get to create my own content. I get to decide what I want to put on the website, how much, the design of the site, who can post to it, when I want to post information, and I can express what information is important to me. I get to share my interest with others and hopeful, over time, meet others who share the same passions. If I want to advertise anything I can do it and it requires no additional cost to me. I can get analytical data, reports, site activity information and even sell my products online. I am the creator of my website and that is very important to me.

Having my own website allows me to build my own brand. I understand that building my own brand takes focus and time. It is a process. If you took a hard look at many successful creators, you will find they have developed there own brand and utilizing a great website helped them do it over time. Building my own brand is a continuing process and over time my brand, views, and photography business may change. That is okay with me. I like "change". I like the journey and looking forward to new experiences over time.

Owning my website allows me to be more creative with no limitations like having to adjust to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter company policies. I get to be creative in what I want to develop as far as information, products, and additional content. As a creator, it is important to have no limitations. Creators who are limited cannot create or express themselves when using Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. When using any of the three social media platforms, creators can only provide a snapshot of their ideas during a specific moment in time. Over time, their information gets lost within the garbage the social media platforms collect and propagandizes.

Another important reason that I like having my own website is I have the ability to collect feedback on my website. I can collect and review productive feedback for others. I also have the ability to control feedback that is useless. For example, I can review feedback before it is posted to my website. I get to choose if I want the feedback to be public. On many social media platforms you don't have to the ability to remove replies from trolls that love to post stupid replies to get attention. By having my website, I get to decide if the feedback provided within the post will benefit others in their growth as a creator. My goal for my website is to build a great community. I cannot do that on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. It may sound like having my own website sounds like having the power to control others. It is not. Having my own website allows me the ability to control what information I allow in my life without being limited by others. Trolls are not allowed on my website. Just the "Cool Kids".

If you don't have your own website and have considered it before, I suggest you go for it. Having your own website can be a learning process but well worth it over-relying on social media sites and apps to share your thoughts, ideas, and views. My advice is if you are considering getting your own website (I use Square Space), do your research, buy your own domain, evaluate your website features, and then get to work. It can be a lot of fun.

Until next time!

Roger

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 

                     

Facebook is Worthless for Business

After a couple of years of using Facebook for my photography business I have come to the conclusion that Facebook is pretty much worthless and a waste of time for my business. When I first considered using Facebook I thought it would be a great platform to reach an audience. I was interested in finding out how many other businesses were able to get so many "Likes". Of course, I associate”Likes” with a great customer base. I noticed that many well-known businesses had thousands of “Likes”. The reality is that "Likes" plus "Followers" does not equal income and success. I feel that success of using Facebook is an illusion. In 2017, I spent hundreds of dollars on marketing through Facebook and even Instagram. Yes, I got a lot of likes and clicks, but that does not really mean anything. 

So this year, I have decided to not use Facebook for my business. I have decided to use the platform I should have devoted more of my time, energy, and money to; my website. I feel I have a good website through Square Space. Square Space provides me what everything I need to operate my business. I am very pleased with them. My website will be my new home to reach my followers, friends, and loyal audience. I feel the new focus will provide better information to my customers and give me a realistic look at my actual audience rather than a bunch of unrealiable stats from Facebook and Instagram. 

To find out more about how Facebook is changing for the worse for small businesses visit the article on FStoppers at https://fstoppers.com/business/your-facebook-business-page-about-get-lot-less-traffic-212154.  

Are you a business that uses Facebook or Instagram? Have you seen success in using them? I would to hear your views. Feel free to provide your comments.

Until next time, keep shooting!

Roger Younce