I’ve been writing for PetaPixel, a leading photography website with over 7,000,000 page views per month. Here is an article I wrote that I think should be of value, as a thought-starter, for people in the advertising business. Frankly, I see advertising agencies and their clients relying way too much on Facebook and Instagram. That’s why I wrote Don’t Make the Critical Facebook and Instagram Mistake. You can see my PetaPixel work here.
OK, Stop The Mistakes
I have a good friend that uses Facebook as his photography business’s digital platform. I have multiple friends that use Instagram as their portfolio. This also goes for, yes to a lesser degree, using Behance, Tumbler, Model Mayhem, Imgur, and Flickr as a portfolio destination.
The primary issue for all these websites is that you do not own or control them. You are loaning your work to them and must abide by their rules and regulations. And future business model.
Both Instagram and Facebook recently went down for hours. This meant that beyond not being able to look at photos of your friends’ kids, if your photography world counted on either of these sites, your business and portfolio went down too. It’s like you did not exist. This was painful for millions of businesses, many of which only use Facebook as their business information website. I’d imagine that millions of dollars of sales were lost that day.
While this event was a Facebook server issue, are you sure that Facebook and Instagram, as we know them today, will be here in their current formats forever?
Forever, as in the place that you want to show your work – forever?
Popular musicians like Arctic Monkeys and Calvin Harris made their names on Myspace. Unfortunately trusting Myspace turned out to be a rather bad idea. From a Myspace press release:
As a result of a server migration project, any photos, videos and audio files you uploaded more than three years ago may no longer be available on or from Myspace. We apologize for the inconvenience.
At that time, CNN reported that “Andy Baio, a tech expert and former chief technology officer of crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, warned that the music of up to up 14 million artists may have been lost.”
Own Your Work
Other than morality issues, I am sure that having your work on Facebook and Instagram is a good idea. Each platform reaches zillions and, in the case of Instagram, is known as a photography destination. Plus, you get the dopamine hit from all those cherished ‘likes.’
However, trusting these third-party platforms as your primary and forever marketing resource is a BAD idea.
I’ll state the obvious. Add your own website to your marketing mix. Yes, I know that this is obvious. However, in the case of Instagram, too many photographers trust it as their little photo universe. They may have a real website, but because they view updating as a pain in the rear, they do not keep it updated. Updating is in the eye of the beholder. Do you really have to show every photograph you take? Editing is a good thing.
A side note related to marketing: both of these sites are trending older. If reaching the under-35 crowd is important, you might be missing a sizable audience.