When there are hundreds of people in the same industry, all out there doing a variation of the same thing, how on earth do you set yourself apart? Why should your clients book you instead of Tom, Dick or Harry? What do you have to offer, that nobody has got?
You’ve got you!
You are your brand.
And you’ve got a voice. So, why not start using it?
This is why social media is so fundamental in an industry that is saturated with people offering such similar services. And this doesn’t just apply to photographers. It applies to anybody running a small business.
I believe that, as consumers, we’ve gone full circle. There was a time when people trusted larger brands and businesses over the smaller, more personal service, but I think we’ve moved through that era and come out the other side. Research shows that people are back to wanting to do business with real people.
The best way to get potential clients to book you, above anybody else, is to show them who you are. Show them who it is they will be working with. People are much more likely to invest in people they like and trust, rather than in a business logo. So you have to get across to your social media followers, the real essence of what makes you the right choice for them. And you won’t be the right photographer/producer/therapist/etc. for everyone, but that’s ok! You want to attract the right clients for you.
This will all happen as a result of a mixture of resources and it will happen over a period of time. It’s something you will need to invest energy in, on an ongoing basis. But here are a few things you can look at right now…
Your ‘About Me’ Page
Your ‘About Me’ page on your website is incredibly important. Rather than a dull, generic ‘I love photography and I love horses,’ spiel, make it personal. Tell the reader something they can relate to. Mine mentions something about loving milky tea with one sugar, being obsessed with reading and my dog, Barney. And it’s lengthy, because I’m a chatterbox. (Don’t tell me you didn’t notice that already?!)
Your About Me page humanises you and transforms you from being just another business, into being you. I’m going to write a separate blog on the subject of ‘About Me’ pages at some point, as it’s such an important, underestimated feature of your website, and it’s often the most viewed page!
Then, obviously, there is Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and a whole host of other social media platforms. I use the three that I’ve mentioned, regularly, along with Pinterest, and try to strike a balance between posting about work, about horsey related things my target audience will relate to and about my every day life. The trick is to find the social media platforms that work for you and that your target audience hang out at, and commit to them. Don’t spread yourself too thinly over ten different platforms, but rather choose three or four to really focus on and do well at.
We’re all nosey parkers. We all love to know about what’s going on in other people’s lives. It’s human nature, so if people feel like they’re getting to know the real you, they’ll be much more willing to do business with you. They want to work with people that they’re going to feel comfortable with, especially in photography, so if they feel like they already know you, you’re already halfway there, before they’ve even contacted you.
A blog is an absolutely fantastic way to ‘chat’ to potential clients without ever having even met them, although I know that the idea of blogging strikes fear into the hearts of many. Think of it like a more publicly air-able, slightly less personal diary. Your blog will ooze character and personality, if done in the right way and is an invaluable tool when it comes to having an online voice.
Luckily, I have always loved to write, so adding to my blog is no hardship for me and it’s often something I do in front of the TV, in the evenings. But don’t panic, you definitely don’t have to be an award winning wordsmith to write a blog. Trust me! If nothing else, it is just a great space for sharing images from your recent work; whether your a photographer, equine therapist, own a shop and have new products on your shelves; so that potential clients can see what you do quickly and easily, with a little paragraph or two about the shoot, product or the client. If you’re a producer or trainer, blog when you take horses out to competitions. If you run a tack shop, review the products in your shop. If you’re an equine therapist, write about the progress of your equine patients.
You don’t have to write crazy long essays, like I do, so don’t let that put you off. That’s just my personal preference, because, like I said, I’m a chatterbox. I have a lot to say for my little self. 😉 But sharing is caring, right? But whatever you do write, make sure it’s authentic and genuine and that it sounds like you!
And lastly, no matter what business you are in, make sure you have a great head-shot or profile picture on your website and social media pages. It’s a must!! If people can put a face to your business and see the whites of your eyes, they are so much more likely to trust and relate to you.
Obviously, there are plenty of other ways to set yourself apart from others in your industry; in your work, your approach, your style, your products, etc. but I believe that adding these personal touches and allowing your followers to get to know the real you is absolutely fundamental.
What other ways do you use to really help set you apart from everybody else doing what you do?
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