Often times I get asked, "How can I grow my business? More referrals? More exposure? More clients? " Here's the funny thing about marketing, everyone is different, therefore, everyone's ideal client will be different, and everyone's approach to marketing will be different. So there's no definitive answer when it comes to marketing. Yes, there are a ton of tips and tricks and a process of building a brand and business plan that would help with that, but that's not what I'm here to talk about that right now. ;) In the past, I've found myself too focused on what I can do to gain more "followers" or increase "likes" on social media. The truth that I have found? There are a bazillion other photographers doing the same thing. I found myself lost in the game of how many "likes" and "followers" I lacked compared to the next photographer. Oh, there goes that word, comparison. Ugh.
"Comparison is the thief of joy."
In the last year or two, I've allowed myself to shift focus from the number of 'likes' and 'followers', and instead, focus on building community. I'm going to be the first to admit that I'm terrified of approaching new people and I'm reluctant to come out from behind my computer at times, but I'm so glad I have. I decided to make photographer friends, get out from my comfort zone, and do life with fellow women who are in the same boat as me. It all came from a place of vulnerability and needing community. Through that, we began to refer clients to each other when we were booked or unable to shoot. I never went in with the intention of getting referrals or overflow from these girls, just simply needing authentic friendship. The referrals came naturally through the trust that we took time to build. In my experience, 9 times out of 10, most photographers will refer to people they know personally over someone they don't. So if you want to grow your business, I encourage you to first aim to build community and trust with those around you. As my mom would say...go make some friends. Yep, it's that simple, but keep these things in mind:
-Create authentic relationships with the intention of community. Aim to come from a place of how you can contribute versus how you can benefit from it.
-Focus on a small amount of quality relationships with people in the same industry/market as you, and focus less on the number of followers and likes. The numbers don't define you or effect the experience you give to your clients. Only you can do that. I promise you, building real life friendships is much more fulfilling than increasing those numbers.
-In order to create authentic relationships, get out from behind your computer once in a while and grab coffee or lunch with someone. Join a group that meets monthly, weekly, once a quarter--what ever works for you. It's not easy. It's scary. But, do it anyway! I'm talking to myself too! ;)
-Lastly, love and serve others well. Fellow photographers, planners, designers, florists deserve just as much love and respect as your clients do. Treat them with the utmost care and humbleness. Remember, we're building community. I can go on and on about how to grow your business by treating other vendors well, but I'll save that for another time!
Never underestimate the power of community when it comes to your business.
These girls below, they're my people, my community. <3 I adore them immensely. Every time I go, I always forget to shoot because I get too busy talking and catching up with everyone! ha-ha. Below are are a few favorites from our latest photowalk at Sand Key Beach. Enjoy!