My remark had less to do with photogs having FB business pages and more with the ADVERTS some post (whether sponsored or not).
I don’t know their business plans but after browsing around the sites I’d lay good odds the owners of the pages you listed above are practicing more ‘top-of-mind’ marketing instead of the “GRADUATION BLOWOUT BONANAZA!! 20 shots of your grad for 20 bucks!” ads I see day after day after day. Even DECENT photographers are doing this.
These kind of ‘shouting at the rain’ ad blitzes have diluted, degraded & devalued the image of the pro photographer in general over the last 5 or so years. Indeed, if enough potential clients are deluged by this kind of social media garbage day in and day out, they will only know what they see everyday – “Everyone I see is offering FREE portrait with a $20 option to buy a print. Howe come you’re charging $200!?” At this point, the pro is starting from the unenviable position of fighting an uphill battle against a barrage of info that has reached the potential client FIRST. His / Her stance becomes untenable. Once someone here’s the word “FREE” there isn’t an argument in the world which will unring that bell.
Good photographers have to STOP thinking that lower prices brings more business. In fact, all the competent metrics out there say that when everyone is LOWERING their fees, you should RAISE yours. It’s hard work, but the results can be worth it. Of course, you also must have the working capitol to get through the lean times.
12 years back, I and 2 colleagues made a revolutionary change to our medical practices here in NYC – we stopped taking insurance. Cold turkey. Our appt books went from ~ 45 pts. per day to about 4. A very rough 8 months was to follow, and our cash flows steeply declined. We all used almost all our reserve cash just to stay afloat. Making matters worse, every doc in the neighborhood capitalized upon our situation, scooping up our once “loyal” patients.
Little by little, though, the word also got around that we were taking 1 hour with each patient – unheard of. Each patient got our business card with our cell numbers for 24 hour access to our care with no impersonal doctor’s service to contend with – also unprecedented. Lastly, patients were floored when we, the doctors, were calling them regularly to check on them and their ailments. “out of the blue, the doctor was calling to see if I’m well” we heard from others as our message was coming full circle. Patients started SLOWLY making the switch back.
And it has been a profitable time. If an insurance company (used to) reimburse me $100 for each of those 45 pts. – after paying a billing service, paying FT staff chasing down denials, double checking to see if the codes were right, paying more staff to stay on the phone with patients for unpaid deductibles and invoicing third parties, and on it goes – I MIGHT clear $2600 for that day’s 13 hour work day.
Now? I see 7 pts. per day. $400 / visit. No insurance. No forms. Minimal staff. No waiting 90-180 days for pmts. WAY FEWER patient encounters. No more late office hours. In fact, you can get an appt with me on Tuesday if you called today. And my favorite – Daddy is home at 6 on the button, every day of the week.
And for those who say this doesn’t apply to photography, I’ll refer to my last gig (I average 1 per month, referrals only, mostly my daughters’ friends of friends). It was a communion last weekend on Saturday 1 mile from my house. My fee was $100 / hr. for the 4 hour gig. At first I could see the mother questioning it in her mind, but she said yes within a hour. My post-processing? LR5 with a few carefully constructed develop presets on import, and 30 images that needed a tinge more work. Total time – 4 hours shooting, 1.5 hours in post, 5.5 hours total.
From the mother’s mouth when I asked her to visit my page on FB before the shoot “oh, sorry. I don’t do that whole social media scene.” I’ve got 2 more children’s gigs in July and September from that one shoot based on the mother’s glowing review.
Don’t try to set yourself apart on FB with a “BLOWOUT BABY-BUMP SALE!” it’s never going to happen. Establish a web presence, get yourself in people’s minds elegantly (not forcibly). When the dust settles, you will still be there offering your services – quietly. That’s when the payday will come.