Another year is behind us, and ‘like’ it or not (pun intended), if you’re a professional photographer in the modern day who sells to a global audience, we need to look back and see what social medias were working and how they performed in relation to the past.
In short; let’s compare my main social media platform, my Facebook Page, to previous years.
First off, let’s get the fun stuff done and look at the top 10 images as voted by you the audience.
Top 10 JHP Images of 2018 according to my Facebook Business Page
So everything looks pretty normal here, nothing out of the ordinary really and the numbers for all ten images look fairly consistent with no crazy high or low figures.
Well what if I now told you that 8 of these top 10 images are ALL from January 2018!?
Facebook didn’t die. It was murdered!
There’s no denying Facebook has had yet another very tough year and what with ‘fake news’, the Russians supposedly controlling the western governments with paid FB ads and ol’ Zuckerberg pulling a T1000 in the senate earlier in the year, 2018 was rougher than ever on the worlds largest social media platform.
So how bad was 2018 compared to 2017 for me? Let’s take a closer look at the JHP Facebook page year on year and compare some figures from 2018 to the previous year.
In the image above we can clearly see a significant slowing of growth on the page year on year. In 2017 the page saw a total of 4086 new subscribers compared to 1921 new ‘Page Likes’ in 2018. That’s a drop of over half!
But size isn’t everything right?
But how does all this translate to actual ‘engagement’? After all, it doesn’t matter what business you have, it’s the number of people engaged and interacting with your brand that matters, not simply how many followers you have.
I appreciate there’s a lot of data up there, and some of it can be deceiving at first because although some of the graphs look similar, the values on the sides are vastly different.
The main area to draw your attention to is the circled figures above. These circles highlight the average number of people my posts reach.
Why is that number so important? Well, like I mentioned before, it dosnt’t matter how many people are in the room, it’s the number of people listening that’s important. So although my page has been ‘growing’ in size, the number of people actually seeing my content is dropping dramatically. In fact my average post reach has dropped to almost a quarter of what it was at the start of last year!
Just for your own reference then, let me now show you the previous Top 10 JHP images on Facebook for the past few years.
Total number of combined likes for all Top 10 images in 2015 = 2978
Total number of combined likes for all Top 10 images in 2016 = 2567
Total number of combined likes for all Top 10 images in 2017 = 4297
Total number of combined likes for all Top 10 images in 2018 = 2597
So based on the above figures alone, we can make a couple of conclusions. Either 2017 was a phenomenal year for my photography and now we’re simply back to ‘normal’. Or FB is taking a beating, and even though I’ve gained many thousands of extra followers since 2016, we’re back to those total numbers once again.
Is this decline really all Facebook’s fault?
This is of course the million dollar question. Is Facebook really dead? Does anybody even still use Facebook? Is Facebook even relevant anymore?
Here’s the ‘official’ report on the situation courtesy of Statista:
As of the third quarter of 2018, Facebook had 2.27 billion monthly active users. In the third quarter of 2012, the number of active Facebook users had surpassed one billion, making it the first social network ever to do so. Active users are those which have logged in to Facebook during the last 30 days.
So yeah, there’s no denying that’s a whole big bunch of people checking out baby pic and watching cat-fail videos right there! Granted, logging in to stalk your ex once a month would qualify you as an ‘active user’, but either way, there’s a LOT of people still using Facebook.
As a freelancer myself, I’m my own boss. But let’s just say that I did have a superior, and let’s just say that on Monday morning I had to deliver a report on why I think my social media stats are way down on the previous year.
I’m guessing me walking in to the 2019 marketing meeting and saying ‘Nobody uses Facebook anymore, Facebook is dead, it’s not my fault 2.27 billion people aren’t interested’ wouldn’t get me very far.
Bottom line; as a business owner I need to know when to push harder and when to cut my losses. Based on what we know, sure Facebook is struggling to engage it’s large following and although I personally feel the ‘reach’ algorithm is heavily stacked against me, I still feel that I simply need to try harder to provide relevant, fresh and interesting content.
Any idiot with a Fuji camera can take at least one good photo, and any idiot with any camera can take one good photo of a pretty girl. I simply can’t just keep putting out ‘good’ photos and expect people to blindly continue to follow me. I need to be creating engaging content, new ideas, competitions, discussions……as well as the odd picture of a pretty girl in coloured lighting.
In short; I think I let you guys down in 2018 with regards to the content I provided and this look back at previous years has highlighted that to me.
I promise to you here and now to make 2019 far better in terms of desirable content and I certainly look forward to the challenge of trying to provide it. Here’s to an ‘engaging’ year ahead ;) See what I did there?
Oh, and one last thing…
If you follow my Jake Hicks Photography Page, make sure you get notified when I post something. You wouldn’t want to miss a shot of a pretty girl in coloured lighting now would you? :D
How do I get notifications when a Facebook page posts?
To adjust notifications for a Page:
Go to the Page.
Click next to Notifications.
Adjust your notification settings, then click Done.
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