I often read how important it is to be on social media as a photographer, but the question I always see is “do I need a website when I have social media?”. The obvious answer would be no, but let’s discuss the importance of a website as a photographer.
You get to decide the content of your website.
Most social media platforms have restrictions on what you can post and how often you can post, such as Twitter even restrict the amount that you can post. Can you get that message across in 280 characters, sometimes yes, sometimes no? With a website there are no restrictions on the content you post, it needs to be created in a way, that is not offensive, is engaging and draws the visitor in, but does not have the restrictions such as length, images and links used. The creative possibilities are endless.
You don’t have to fight the algorithm.
If there is one criticism I hear of social media platforms is the dreaded algorithms that they use to decide which content you get to see. The content that is displayed to you is often personalised to you based on your browsing history or the way that company want you to see their content. With a website, the way your content is displayed is up to you. Do you want people to watch your YouTube Channel, or buy your prints? Then make it front and centre.
It’s hard to measure success.
Yes, we all strive to hit that magic number of subscribers or followers on that relevant platform and likes is a hard number to quantify, because let’s face it, we all like the content like it’s going out of fashion, and as a YouTuber, it’s frustrating when I get a thumbs down, without knowing why I got this. The great thing about a website, you can gather information on the popularity of the site from a number of sources, such as a mailing list, comments on posts, and even software like Google Analytics. Yes, you can get stats from Twitter and Facebook, but they are hard to interpret and the stats are what that particular platform decides to show you. On a website, you can tailor the stats to the goal you want to achieve. Are you looking for more views on your blogs, then you can check the view on your blog page?
Its easier to change when it’s not working.
Its another week and a new design from Facebook that tends to turn the world crazy, and something that be forgotten about in a few weeks time, but for a business owner, this sudden change can really affect your traffic as users become familiar with the new direction. On a website, there is always going to be a situation where you need to make changes, as things can be left behind or become stagnant over time. As you control the website and content you can decide what the changes are and how quickly you implement them. A site like Facebook will try to warn users of a wholesale change over a period of weeks, but most will ignore these until the change happens and then there is an outpouring of frustration. With your own website, you can make these changes over a period of time, implementing these changes in a more staggered fashion to avoid alienating your customer base.
So should I stop using social media?
The answer to this is NO! Social media should be an integral part of your website being the centre of that strategy. Your social media posts should encourage them to visit your site, and they will see the information that you want them to see. The site will then be able to guide them through your content and business providing them with a helping hand when needed. This will help you change from a visitor to a client or customer.
I hope this has helped you to decide if you need a website for your photography business. What are you waiting for? Get that website done and with the lockdown, now is the perfect time to do it.