Why You Need to Ditch Your Personal Facebook Page

Why You Need to Ditch Your Personal Facebook Page

In the 2012 Photographer’s Social Media Handbook, we talk about how finding success in online marketing falls hand in hand with having an influential social media presence. Given its 800+ million users, Facebook is a solid choice for building your social network and using it grow your photography business.

But if you’re still trying to do this with a Facebook “personal page”, then we have to warn you – you’re going nowhere fast. This post is designed to help show you why having a Facebook Page over a personal page is pivotal to building a following and generating business via Facebook. For more information on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+, check out the free Photographer’s Social Media Handbook.

What is a Facebook Page?

Your friends and family may want to see pictures of your kids posted on Facebook, but unless you’re a portrait photographer, your clients probably don’t. Having a Facebook Page is the best way to separate your personal life and your business.

In the words of Facebook,

“A Facebook Page is a public profile that enables you to share your business and products with Facebook users.”

Facebook also has a good overview and “getting started” guide to creating a Page here.

Why do I need a Page for my photography business?

Beyond just separating business from pleasure, a Page has built-in tools and features that enable you to uniquely interact with your network. Here are a few of the top ways a Page lets you better engage with your followers and customers:

  • When someone “likes” your Page, they become part of your network of supporters. When fans interact with your Page by liking your posts, commenting, etc., stories linking to your Page can go to their  friends’ News Feeds. Then maybe their friends interact with your Page, “like” you, and ultimately share your stories to a wider and wider audience.
  • Non-followers who visit your Page will see a list of their friends who have already liked your Page. This incentivizes them to also become “like” you, thus increasing your following.
  • Apps and page customizations let you add things like newsletter sign ups, photo slideshows, like-gates, and more. Check out 5 Pimped-Out Photographer Facebook Pages for some awesome customization ideas.
  • You can add multiple administrators to your Page. This is particularly useful if you have a team behind your business, so that your colleagues can edit or post from your Page without accessing your personal Facebook.
  • Facebook Insights lets you see which posts are working and which aren’t. Figure out how to make something go viral and gain insight into the demographics of your Page’s followers.
  • Only users with a Page can buy and post Facebook Ads.

via Facebook's Ads Getting Started Guide

What can’t I do with just a personal page?

  • Connect with clients as a professional business.
  • Encourage people to “like” your brand, thereby increasing your following via word-of-mouth.
  • Add more than 5,000 followers (the personal “friend” limit).
  • Convey to clients and potential buyers that you’re serious about your work and ready to do business.

How are photographers actually utilizing Facebook Pages for their business?

Here at the top 5 ways we found professional photographers are making the most out of their Facebook Pages:

1. Promoting my photography beyond my personal friends.

Wildlife, nature, and fine art photographer Mike Cavaroc says that he created his  Page because, in his words, “I was increasingly wanting to share and promote my photography beyond friends and family, without my personal life interfering…having my Page keeps me from potentially alienating my customers and fans, whereas on my personal profile I can still continue to be my goofy, opinionated self.”

Jon Luton – who specializes in music, portrait, and wedding photography – agrees that a Page gives him the ability to find fans outside of his immediate circle of friends. He also uses Facebook’s tagging feature to alert people when he’s posted a photo of them. “I have the ability to tag photos of people and bands that I’ve taken,” he says, “which then brings their friends or fans over to my Page.”

Caribbean photographer Steve Simonsen also uses Facebook to promote his photography, but in unique way that’s fitting for Facebook – he asks his followers to vote on images that he’s considering for photo books or calendars. “It’s great to get everyone involved in the process and such an easy way to reach out there.”

2. Connecting with followers in a professional manner.

Many photographers expressed a deliberate concern for separating their personal and professional lives. Fashion and lifestyle photographer Mike Henry says: “I chose to use a Facebook Page over my personal page because I wanted to make it all about my work and photo business, and keep my personal page, well, personal. No need to tell my fans that I have checked in at the local sushi joint [via FourSquare].”

For example, Mike shares a post about how his photo made it into Shape  magazine:

Celine of Celine M. Photography shares a similar sentiment (and might have the cutest like-gate we’ve ever seen). “I wanted to share pictures with the people I photographed, but didn’t necessarily want to friend everyone and share my personal pictures with them. Also I don’t want to bother my friends with all my clients’ pictures!”

Documentary photographer James Morgan, who has over 1,300 fans, puts it pretty simply: “Not everyone i know is interested in photography so it’s good to have a page specifically for people interested in photography!”

3. Using custom apps to gain fans.

One of the most popular apps for Page is the “like-gate”, which is basically a landing page that non-fans see when they come to your Page, and encourages them to like you. (Read a more detailed description here.) You can custom design your like-gate to fit your brand, and many photographers have said that it’s a very effective way to get more fans.

“It’s exciting when I get email notifications that tell me someone new has voluntarily liked my page – it’s just a nice little bonus to my day,” says Mike Henry.

Documentary and editorial photographer Quinn Ryan Mattingly‘s custom Facebook Welcome Page gives his contact information and links to recent work.

If you’re curious about the various custom apps you can use to amp up your Page, definitely check out our free ebook Facebook Fan Pages for Photographers, specifically the section “Creating a Custom App”.

4. Using Facebook to drive traffic to my website.

“30% of my PhotoShelter website‘s traffic comes from Facebook,” says Jon Luton. That’s a huge source of referral traffic to your website, and something that shouldn’t be ignored. John encourages his Fan Page’s visitors to click through to his website by posting images from his galleries, and including a link to the gallery on his website. It’s an easy way to drive traffic to your site and share more of your work.

PhotoShelter’s Google Analytics also shows that the average user gets 7% of its total monthly traffic from Facebook, which is highest among all social media platforms (other top referrers are Twitter and StumbleUpon.)

5. Gaining “Insights” into what interests my target audience.

Facebook Insights is a new addition that literally provides insight into the demographics of the people visiting your Page and how they first came across your content. “Reach” is charted over time, and tells you how many people viewed any given post. There’s also “Talking About This”, which tells you how many people liked, commented, or shared your post. All these elements go into calculating the “Virality” of your post, i.e. the percentage of people who engaged with your content over the total number of viewers.

Photographers can use Insights to better determine what content has potential to be viral among their fans. Mike Covaroc says that Insights have encouraged him to try different kinds of posts to see what people respond to and then share more of that material. Jon Luton agrees, saying, “I can analyze the effectiveness of different types of posts, whether it’s posting a photo, sharing a link, or just putting up a comment, and see how people respond.”

Paul Petch, who operates Outdoor Stock Photography in New Zealand, has been working on ideas to increase the sharing of content since he started his Facebook Page a few months ago. And Jennifer Davick likes to see how many people she can reach with her posts.


As with any marketing tool, you have to find the strategies that work for you and your business. If you find that Facebook is a valuable tool for growing your business, however, remember that you need a Page in order to put your best foot forward.

For more on Facebook and other social media platforms, download the free Photographer’s Social Media Handbook.

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There are 37 comments for this article
    • Lauren Margolis at 2:48 pm

      @craig You should be able to click on your Page in the left toolbar on Facebook Home. If you post to this page, it should not also post to your personal Page, assuming that you don’t interact with it (i.e. like it, comment, or share it).

  1. Dan McManus at 2:28 pm

    Nice article with some great suggestions!
    I would also emphasize creating a “Username” after receiving 25 “Like”, this let’s you have a URL you can share on photos as a watermark, business cards, etc.

    Also, I am finding I have to educate my Friends / Family on the meaning and purpose of my multiple entities on Facebook. (I have several pages and have helped other groups create pages where I’m still an Admin.)

    Lots of good ideas I will peruse from the other Photographer pages too.

    Mahalo nui loa!

    Dan facebook.com/kukui.photo

  2. Tristan at 3:13 pm

    Useful article, I have had a page for a while but have not published it as I have concerns about copyright and the posting of my images on facebook. Is there a good, current resource on making informed decisions about what you upload to facebook and what the implications are on those images? I see a massive amount of photographers using these pages despite the negative aspects of posting your work on facebook, is there something I don’t understand?

  3. Tristan at 4:18 pm

    Thanks Lauren, yes I have read the statement and discussed with a few friends, it seems that for many (including myself) its difficult to understand the terminology and what it actually means in the end. I did find someone who had broken it down into basic terms but the article is 18 months old now. I will keep searching, as I would like to launch a page, but at the moment I don’t like the idea of Facebook effectively having next to unlimited rights over the use and sale of my work. With the float coming up, who knows what direction Facebook might take…

  4. Sonia Stewart at 5:43 pm

    Will Alan, I understand exactly what you mean. You cannot send updates to a specific group of people anymore. That for me was huge plus because that was my way of contacting people directly and making them feel like I was connected to them personally. And there was also an issue where not everyone was seeing my daily status updates. Only a small group of “regular visitors” to my page could see what I was saying or doing on my FB page.
    Also, this article talks about Reviews tab. If I remember correctly, about 3 months ago my Reviews Tab disappeared. Fortunately I already knew it was going to happen, so I copied/pasted EVERY SINGLE review that I got to my actual website. I was a pain in the behind, but I didn’t want to lose those special words from my clients. So is there another way around it to get the Reviews Tab back???

  5. Martin at 12:56 pm

    I’m still trying to figure out the tagging “rules” for Pages. It seems like only people I can tag in a photo are those who are my personal “friends” (not even fans). That means I have to have clients/models be a personal FB friend in order to tag them, which defeats (some of) the purpose of having the separation of personal and business pages to begin with.

    Anyone have any guidance on this? How do you tag a client/model without having them be a personal friend?


    • Lauren Margolis at 1:06 pm

      @Martin Looks like you’re right! I agree that this does limit the business Page in some ways, but keep in mind that if/when you do tag clients, they will be interacting with the photo via your business Page which in the end is more professional than working with your personal page.

  6. Pete Marovich at 2:45 pm

    Hi Lauren

    I am confused. But that is not surprising since I find the whole Facebook programming interface the most confusing crap ever written. But I digress.

    I have a personal Facebook page and a page for Pete Marovich Images. When I go to try and add a “like-gate” it makes me switch to my personal page to access the app. And then when I am prompted to choose what page to apply the app, it does not list Pete Marovich Images.

    Does this make any sense?

  7. Mel at 3:24 pm

    Any chance you could make a post on on what Facebook does with your business page data (can anyone who wants to pay have that?) Also wonder if you think business pages will have to be paid for once a level of dependency is established, and whether Facebook might suddenly change privacy controls in a way that disadvantages some businesses.

  8. Melissa Hassey at 1:43 pm

    Thank you for this lovely article and for the great examples of photographers that are successfully using a business facebook page.

    I must say, however, that I agree with the frustration expressed by a few other commenters in regards to tagging images and sending personal emails to “followers”, etc…

    Since business pages require you to “friend” someone personally in order to speak with them one on one and/ or tag them in a post or photo, it seems to defeat the purpose of having a separate personal and business page. I often consider simply making my business page my personal page instead. I could then always block any personal photographs from all that I wish not to share them with. I don’t mind people reading my personal posts as I want them to feel connected to me as a person not just a photographer. However, I’m not always sure that my clients want me to be their “friend”………

    I sure wish FB would just correct this major issue.

  9. Peter Louies at 2:21 pm

    @Jane: On Facebook it is simply a drag and drop to your desktop to get the image. It is that easy and this is one of the ways to do it.

    Whenever you publish something on the internet, the risk of stolen content is always there. There is no way to keep your content 100% safe from people who are out to steal images, text or whatever.

    There are some tricks, depinding on how you publish them, to make it more difficult to steal your photo’s and to “protect” them in a certain way:

    – use watermark
    – use EXIF information
    – use Flash
    – disable right click mouse Javascripts
    – dissalow searcg engines to index your images
    – register your images for copyrights

  10. CharlieJ at 2:32 pm

    @Jane – Two pieces of advice. Only upload watermarked, lower rez images on FB. And always leave the High Resolution checkbox UNchecked when uploading. That way, your images are nicely viewable, but would look awful if printed. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do (on FB) about ppl copying your images. Then again, that’s the case pretty much anywhere you upload photos.

    All in all, Facebook is pretty good for marketing your business. This article will help me up my game on the CharlieJ Photography Facebook Page. Thanks Ms. Margolis!

  11. Bjarte Edvardsen at 3:50 pm

    The risk by having a page for your photography might be that you seperate too much between personal and business, at least that is something which I find challenging. I think there should be a mix nonetheless. People might get turned off by too self-promotive pages. Let people feel you’re human, not just a seller. And you definitely shouldn’t stop promoting on your personal page from time to time. So my advice would be not to think as black-and-white as this blog post title might encourage you to…

    A tip: I recently discovered that you get to add ‘featured admins’ on pages, which makes admins appear on the page menu, but more importantly; it also makes the page appear on the admins personal pages. Definitely a good way to get more visitors.

    • Lauren Margolis at 2:14 pm

      @Brian If you an admin for the Page, then you can post. If you want to post on someone else’s Page, the options are to comment on their posts or tag them with an @ symbol in your own post – then it will show up on their Page (though you must have already “liked” it). Hope this helps!

  12. Gina at 7:08 pm

    Having a Facebook Page for a Photography Business could definitely be effective with the capabilities of ‘tagging’ our clients (who are also our fans) as the administrator. ‘Friending’ clients from my personal page in order to ‘tag’ them (in order to draw more business) seems like a total disadvantage of creating a Business Page in the first place.

    Any thoughts or ways to go about this?


  13. Alice Mutasa at 1:59 pm

    Can I ask a really basic question? I’m trying to set up a Facebook page for my photography business, but ‘Create a Page’ requires you to select a category of business – yet ‘Photography’ – or anything remotely like it – is not mentioned in ANY of the lists; not for ‘Company / organisation’, Brand/Product’ etc. Can anyone tell me what they selected in order to create a page which clearly relates to a photography business?

    • Lauren Margolis at 9:31 am

      @Alice it looks like a lot of photogs are selecting Product/Service – a shame they don’t offer photography!

  14. Kelly Marie at 8:31 pm

    Thanks for the great tips! Hope its ok to add this, but I have tried to give people an incentive to like my page. For every 100 likes on my new facebook page, someone will Be selected to receive a free photo shoot! I think this is a great way to promote yourself and gives people an opportunity to not just like your page, but it gives them something to look forward to, while helping you reach more people. Its a plus for me as well, since I still getting established, to build my portfolio.


  15. photojimsf at 9:25 am

    So far I have found the facebook fan page a huge waste of time and a pain in the u know what. You can’t send or recieve private messages,and there’s been a problem with the “invite email contacts” feature for a year or two according to the buzz i’ve read.

    Also, since introducing paid promotions, facebook is now mysteriously not showing posts as frequently, some bait and switch scheme called “edgerank”. In order to get your posts out to all of your fans you now have to pay.

  16. Neil at 6:38 am

    I have created a page for my company and I love the idea of it but get really confused trying to get business contacts to the page without friending them on the personal profile. The business groups I’m in are on my personal and I can’t communicate to them through my page. I’ve been advised to use my profile instead and to be honest, looks a lot easier to get contacts through there as I can’t post to groups from my page. Very confusing and disappointing.

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