In part two of this series, we will discuss tips six through ten. These are steps you can take today to grow your photography business. If you missed the first part, you can read it by clicking here. Special thanks to Lancaster, PA-based photographer Richard Waine for collaborating with us to create this series.
6. Disinfect and prioritize your social networks
In 2022, it should be obvious, but many of us still neglect or abuse our social media accounts, to the detriment of our businesses.
The first step we need to take is to clean up our social networks. If you have a public Facebook or Instagram profile, or post to blogs, forums, or ezines like Fstoppers, it’s extremely important to remember that potential business connections may read what you write and see the photos. that you post. Most of us are guilty of oversharing on social media from time to time (myself included), but one of the best ways to grow your business (not to mention improve your overall quality of life) is to avoid negative and divisive posts and comments. Abstaining from political messages and conversations is also a great idea. Remember that half of the people reading a political article will most likely be offended by it, so no matter what you say, chances are you’ll isolate a large portion of your audience. Sanitizing social media also includes removing photos that don’t show you in your best light and don’t properly reflect your brand.
Create engaging posts that aren’t just about you and what you offer. People rarely respond to posts that are thinly veiled advertisements for a business, so instead write posts that create value for the reader. It could be offering advice, explaining how you can solve a problem for your customer, or even sharing a positive story with your followers. People want to interact with a human, so in addition to staying positive, be authentic. People want to work with someone who cares about their needs and isn’t just trying to make a sale.
Engaging with other people’s posts can be more effective than creating your own content. Another way to use social media wisely is to comment on posts. LinkedIn is a great platform for this method, as most of the content is business-oriented and away from personal posting. By commenting on the posts of other members of your community, you can increase your visibility and also position yourself as an expert in your field.
Finally, you need to post regularly. Yes, it’s boring and time-consuming, but consistency is key to winning the social media game. This doesn’t mean you should just post anything and everything, but quality content, shared consistently, will definitely increase your business.
7. Get references and testimonials
Nothing beats having a client tell their friend about you, who then calls you to schedule a photoshoot. This person is already convinced and feels like they know you from what they heard from their friend. These references are a monumental victory. In addition to asking your customers to write you a five-star review, ask them to tag you when they share their photos and write about their experience. If your customers are happy with you and their photos, that’s something they’ll be happy to do. Be sure to ask them for advice more than once, as people often forget. While I don’t suggest telling clients what to write, I usually tell them that the best reviews talk about their experience and mention that I’m a top photographer in Garden City, New York. Indeed, keywords are extremely important not only on your website, but even in reviews.
Another way to get referrals is to connect with local agencies. If you’re a head photographer like me, find local acting schools and talent agencies and work on building a relationship with them. It’s easier said than done, but if you make a good connection, it can lead to a lot of steady work. I have a handful of agencies that continue to refer clients to me based on a great first experience someone had at my studio.
Finally, be sure to deliver a five-star experience if you’re expecting referrals and testimonials from your clients. I think some small business owners expect their customers to go the extra mile for them just because they’re a local business, but that’s not the case. Take a hard look at your process, start to finish, and assess whether you’re giving your customers an experience (and a product) that makes it easy for them to recommend you, even without asking.
8. Your 30-second elevator pitch
An elevator pitch is a 30-second explanation you can give about what you do, why you do it, and why you’re the best person for the job.
Having a polished response when people inquire about your services is crucial. Even if someone casually asks you, “so what do you do for a living,” you should have a better answer than “I’m a photographer.” Give them a 30-second explanation that attracts them and positions you as the authority and problem-solver in your field. and easy while providing my clients with engaging and thought-provoking photos that are an asset to their brand. And I make it fun. I’m paraphrasing, but you get the idea.
9. Create a consistent brand
Consistency and authenticity are so important to businesses of all sizes, and many small businesses put very little thought into their brand. Make sure your brand and marketing are laser-focused and don’t try to be everything to everyone. If a potential customer is struggling to understand exactly what you do and how it will solve their problem, they will look for someone else. Don’t make it difficult for them by having overly complicated websites, multiple plans, or endless offers. As I said in Part 1 of this series, don’t be a jack-of-all-trades, but rather, become a master in a specific area. If you try to be everything to everyone, you risk being nobody at all!
10. Become self-motivated
One of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs is staying motivated. If you don’t have customers today, that doesn’t mean you should spend an hour scrolling through Instagram or watching YouTube videos. There’s always something to do when you own a business – and I mean always. Seriously.
If I have a few free hours or the rare free day, I use this “free time” wisely. Whether it’s cleaning up my studio or snagging new work, cold calling, checking and following up on old emails, posting relevant content on social media, from writing an article or even reading a book or watching a tutorial to increase my skills, I do my best to make good use of my time. Admittedly, I don’t always succeed, but when I remember that there is always something to do, it makes my job much easier.
Well, I hope Part 2 of this four-part series has motivated you and given you some great tips for growing your photography business! Stay tuned for part three. For more great advice on the do’s and don’ts of running a photography business, check out Ivor Rackham’s excellent article on his experience with a local business.