The state of Social Media – nobody cares about you

The official account of Instagram features photographers every week. The featured photos usually get close to a million likes. That’s insane, right? It’s not, because many of the original authors only have hundreds of followers after being featured. That’s right, people like their photos, yet nobody follows them to see more. Look:

Kelly has less than 1,000 followers on Instagram after getting featured by Instagram on their official account (186 million followers) and getting 1 MILLION likes! Her original photo that got featured and linked on Instagram’s blog only has 1,250 likes!

It’s the same with every featured photographer. Getting featured is no longer a thing. It just doesn’t matter.

Truth is, nobody cares anymore. People will consume whatever you’re putting out and forget about you in a second.

If you’re a photographer, beware! It’s nice and all to have some following, it could help every now and then, but if you’re good and very active, don’t be fooled by all those likes, shares and comments you get. Nobody cares about you.

Nobody pays attention to you. You think they’re paying attention because Gary Vaynerchuck says so? Think again! People are watching social media on their phones, on the toilet. While waiting for the next subway train. While driving (!!!). While riding a bike. How much attention can someone pay to your Facebook post while riding a bike in the city? You’re just a second in front of most people, nothing more. You’d have to be a genius to get 3 seconds. You’d have to be a genius 10 times a week for someone to rememeber your name.

social media while riding a bike

Watching the phone while riding a bike, in Copenhagen, Denmark – 2016

I’m not gonna be another guy who proclaims the death of social media. You should be doing social media, because that’s the norm, but if you don’t mix it with real life interactions (exhibitions, books, networking, fairs, workshops, whatever), you won’t get too far. You will get some kind of traction if you’re good and active, however, for this you need to keep your social media strategy relevant to your business. If you’re a wedding photographer, posting beautiful wildlife images on Facebook won’t help you. If you’re a corporate photographer, posting street photography on Twitter won’t help you. If you’re a fashion photographer, posting  beautiful landscapes on Instagram won’t help you.

You need to create and post great content and keep it relevant to your business. So that when someone hears about you, and searches for you online, they’ll find a good, clean, relevant profile.

How they can hear about you? You need real achievements, and I’m sorry to tell you: having lots of followers or getting thousands of likes on social media are not real achievements. It could work, yet the chances are very low. Shoot meaningful projects, publish a book, go back to print or start printing, have (offline) exhibitions, win relevant competitions, even do some volunteer work if you have time. Or have a great blog and write useful articles on your own website (I don’t consider this social media, even if some people do). Otherwise, none of those 32,500 followers will actually care about you. Miss a day, and they’ll forget you. Close your account, and they won’t remember ever following you.

It’s just the state of social media right now. Nobody cares about you. Get real.

Facts:

  • less than 0.1% of people reading this will follow any of my social media accounts.
  • less than 1% of the people reading this will see my About page.
  • less than 1% of people reading this have clicked any (otherwise relevant) link in it, and there were just three links.
  • less than 10% of people reading this blog have gotten this far to read this line.
  • less than 30% of people who share this have actually read it; 85% of those 30% didn’t get this far to read this line.

These statistics are, of course, entirely made up. But it doesn’t matter, because very few will get this far to read them anyway.

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