Around 2006 I started to get into social media and really started to use it as a platform to promote my photography studio; then when I started creating photographic art I used the same methods. At the time MySpace was all the rage but because Tom sold out and corporate intrusion took over MySpace fell from grace making way for the new trend that is Facebook.
I was reluctant to go to Facebook but I eventually joined the trend in 2007. I rarely used it until almost all my friends and family rejected MySpace. Then in 2009 Facebook came out with this cool new feature of “pages” for businesses and with it I was hooked. I quickly weaned away from MySpace and concentrated solely on Facebook.
At first Facebook brought me a lot of success. That page I created for my art studio brought me my first international exhibit in China. I used it to promote my art shows, showcase new work, search for qualified models for specific shoots and spread helpful and interesting information about the arts. This lasted till around 2013.
I still have the page and posted religiously on it. However in 2013 I had about 6 shows but 2 were local. I posted about the shows on Facebook just about every other day till the week of the show when I posted everyday. I took out ads in local newspapers to promote the show and handed out flyers. I expected hundreds of people to come through the exhibit throughout the day. Sadly I was wrong. I was lucky to attract maybe 14 to 15 and those were from the ads I posted in newspapers. I had more traffic but it wasn’t where I expected it from. Here’s a breakdown
Facebook – 0 (for both shows)
Newspaper – Between 12 and 15 per show
Walkins – 45 to 100 per show
In 2014 I had one show in May. I didn’t post an ad in the newspapers I only went with Facebook. Besides the two people I told outside of family, those two were the only two that showed up.
The problem I ran into was it made me doubt myself. I was thinking “Does anyone really care about me?” I wasn’t asking them to buy anything, just come out look at the work and maybe hear my stories about the pieces. I also doubted my abilities thinking “maybe I REALLY stink”.
So I put off all shows, and haven’t participated in any shows for the remainder of 2014. The problem was I spent hundreds of dollars preparing for the show for 0 visitors. See each show I have to meet certain criteria for the show like “all work must be framed” or “all work must be a certain size” – stuff like that. Either way each show is something different I have new pieces etc so for the most part I must get all new stock.
I started asking around after the 2014 show to different friends if they knew I had a show. Most of them said no I had no idea. I said “well you follow my page right?” and their answer was almost always “yes I do – but you haven’t posted anything in a long time” That sent up flags… I was thinking to myself that’s crap because I post almost everyday.
So I started to do some investigation. I would post things at different times of the day. I would do posts with and without photos as well as with and without links. To my surprise all the posts performed the same. I saw between 6 and 42 views on each post. Now I have 654 people that like the page so that means 654 people should have those posts appear on their news feed… so what’s going on?
Well something interesting happened through that experiment. Every 5th post regardless what it was, always out performed the rest. I knew right then and there that Facebook was controlling the posts.
For pages, they limit who can see the post even from the people that “like” your page. You can get around that by “boosting” the post with paid ads. The only way to truly get someone to look at your page is if they are completely addicted to your page and stalk it everyday. So it happened, Facebook is completely corporate now.
Don’t get me wrong, I am for anyone making money and I truly believe nothing in this world is free. The price of Facebook is your privacy which they exploited. I don’t mind that they even limit the views on the pages to generate people paying for views. I get that. What I am upset about is that it’s been going on for almost a year or more and people like me who utilized Facebook as the main source of promotion DIDN’T KNOW this was happening till recently. I am not stupid so it’s not like I didn’t understand what was happening, I didn’t know because they failed to let the businesses know.
The option to boost your post was ALWAYS there since 2013 but they never told you that they were limiting views. Unfortunately people like me who don’t have a lot of money to spend to promote used this thinking everything was hunky dory, using the money I did have to invest in photos and food for my shows that nobody was going to come to because nobody saw my posts. I lost hundreds upon hundreds of dollars and that hurts. Had I known this was happening I would have done things differently.
I can’t get that money back, I can’t get back the time and stress I put myself through to put on a good show what nobody would see. I am VERY angry over it because all they would have to do is tell me. I think honestly I need to be reimbursed for the money I lost from this social media giant.
They finally let everyone know this was going to happen but have it set for Jan 2015 when the new policy takes effect however, they’ve been testing it for over a year now silently and while they did, innocent people like me thought nothing changed and found terrible results that cost us hundreds to thousands of dollars; and I’m not the only one out there trust me.
I am working on a few new ways to keep in touch and get the 411. One is an app for your smart phone. I am also focusing on Twitter more so follow me at http://twitter.com/dowdstudios. I’m still looking for new ways to communicate and market myself and when I find them, I will announce it.
FYI – here is the link to the Facebook Page announcement. http://www.techtimes.com/articles/21102/20141130/facebook-is-killing-small-business-entrepreneurs-with-new-policy-rule.htm