Unless the service you provide is unusually specialized with an equally diminutive market – ie., you and perhaps 2 others are the only providers within your region and all the prospective clients know ‘you are the only game in town’ and tell everybody for you – a small business requires some form of a web presence today as this is where the general public goes to seek out most services. There are still ‘yellow pages’ vendors, but they are slowly going the route of the rotary telephone.
I only shoot candids of children who require more attention & patience than most (you might say ‘special needs’), so paid advertising on the internet is really a waste for me. In fact, most of my clients would not even bother looking on the internet for they know through years of trial and error that very few photographers will even entertain their requests. My market knows of me and passes my number to other families within the small (but growing) circle of families here in NYC.
My portfolio is on my website, but also on FACEBOOK. Prospective clients who’ve been told of my services STILL want to see samples of my work. I have a website, FB, Google+, and Twitter accounts for blogs and portfolio captures for these purposes. I also send out weekly newsletters through these media to help educate parents on the finer points of photographing their children. It works splendidly to “get the word out.”
To put it bluntly, whether you like it or not social media is here, to stay. You have 2 choices – embrace it, or run from it. Your comment
“…but if you use Facebook to showcase your photography, you are not a photographer.”
is as preposterous as saying “If a shop doesn’t have a brick & mortar presence, they’re not a real store.”