If I was to start a website where artists could share their work with the world, would you join? Sounds good right? What if I were to tell you that I’d control what the people who are interested in your work would see? Even better! Now, how about if I tell you that you could pay me to make sure more people see your work, the very people who want to follow you in the first place? Outstanding! I’ll create this website, charge people and control the visibility of your work even though there are multiple sites out there already that are free and don’t limit visibility. Perfect. Where do I sign up?
Of course I’m being sarcastic and how having a photography page on Facebook goes against everything that I’d want as an artist. There are many schools of thought about what art actually is but at the end of the day, it’s nothing unless others see it. As artists, we strive to share our work with others and without a doubt, social media has allowed more artists to connect with interested people than ever before. With the click of a few buttons, your masterpiece can be shared worldwide. People can discover artists based on their particular interests, share what they see with people they know and artists can engage with their admirers in a very powerful way.
I started my first photography page as my own, Eric E Photo, and quickly found my same engaged audience was through people I know. I was aiming to break past this and reach out to others through the actual images and not by association. After some time, I deleted this page and took a new approach. I started a page called Park City Outdoors and hoped to engage with people based upon their interest in Park City. To some extent, it worked. I was gaining followers and even had a few business referrals directly from that site. For that, I have no complaints and I’m actually quite surprised by this. Maybe I think too much about it but something was bothering me. My images I posted of work I liked got little recognition or engagement. Classic sunset and sunrise pictures got widespread attention. I don’t consider sunsets and sunrises the type of photography I’m interested in though.
I’m not interested in photography to gather likes but rather for people to see what I choose to share. Posting images on Facebook turned into a popularity contest and people wouldn’t even get to see what I posted unless it was an eye catching sunrise or sunset! So in order for people to actually see what I posted, and have a choice what they liked and didn’t, it would have to be full of red, yellow or orange. As an artist, should you share what others want to see or what you want others to see? This is the question I kept coming back to and I think you can guess my answer.
With multiple other platforms out there to share my work, that don’t limit what others see (like WordPress), why should I waste my time and let Facebook control MY work? I shouldn’t and I don’t. There are many artists out there that have some success at sharing their work via Facebook but a quick look at followers vs engagement reveals a very low percentage. For an artist (business owner), engagement is king and when your followers (customers) don’t even see your work, you lose. My solution to this is to completely remove my Facebook page presence and post images directly to my personal timeline. I can then promote sales to my friends and family (can’t do that with a Facebook page, they’ll find you, trust me) and have a much higher engagement with the SAME people that followed my page in the first place!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, especially if you have or manage a Facebook page. I know I’m not the only one out there with frustrations about Facebook and this has been an ongoing struggle for quite some time. To wrap it up, I’ll be posting solely on my other social media outlets that don’t limit what you see. Thank you for reading and commenting:) EE
Instagram: @ericephoto (mobile only)