Eye on Business | How to Have a Successful Business Online and in Real Life

Miley Cyrus.  Victim or marketing genius?  You have to admit, everyone has been chatting about her atrocities for weeks.  I often find myself feeling unsympathetic for celebrities who complain about their lack of privacy.  They ask for it, right?!

Publicity + Popularity = Success.  But in the midst of an entitlement society paired with social media, we have 24/7 behind-the-scenes and up-to-the-minute access into things that we really had no interest in knowing a few years ago.  Seriously, how many of us shared pictures of our favorite snack or our outfits with anyone before social media?  How much did you really know about your dentist or hair stylist outside of the context?

As photographers, we are voluntarily signing up to public scrutiny.  We NEED social media.  We must stay in front of our potential clientele to have a thriving business.  That’s why it’s extremely important that you use your common sense when putting yourself out there on your Facebook, Instagram, Website, and Twitter accounts.  Although it’s super fun to read “GORGEOUS!” and “AMAZING SHOT!”  about our images, there’s a dark flip side.  There is no filter for those sitting behind a computer screen feeling entitled to say whatever comes to mind with no threat of confrontation or recourse.

Here are my simple suggestions to avoid being tomorrow’s viral catastrophe:

Set appropriate boundaries.  Most clients enjoy hearing about and seeing images of your sessions, your family, your latest snack obsession, or cute outfits.  But, do they really want to know that your child is puking the night before your session with them?  Not really an appropriate post for your fan page.  Save it for your personal page or better yet, keep it to yourself.

Be your brand.  My business tagline is “real, life, happy.”  I post all about my real life and although I may share some intense stuff now and again, I try to maintain an upbeat fan page and persona.  Most of my clients ask me if I’m ever unhappy?  Um…no, I’m always this happy 😉  Who you are is your brand.  If you are a completely different person in real life than what you portray online, clients will spot the fake, ESPECIALLY high school seniors.

Expect to be held to a different standard.  Don’t play victim when it backfires.  Going out in public may change depending how much of your life/business you share and how big your little world is 🙂  I live in a small town and I am quickly reminded when I go out to a local restaurant or soccer game that most of the county knows my one-year-old is a crazy nut like his mama and that we homeschool.  It is what it is…I’ve chosen to share my world and I’ve been blessed with some great new friends because of it!

If there was ever the perfect time and reason to be you, it’s right now.  Not only authentic in your art, but authentic in your actions online and in real life.  You’ll likely be called out publicly if you’re not.  I’ve been the target of bullying as well as witnessed it and I am certainly not implying that we ask for it.  However, we have to accept that we put ourselves out there for unsolicited praise AND criticism.  Let’s not throw any more ammunition to those who are waiting to take a shot by being irresponsible social medialites.  That’s a word, look it up.  Until next week…join me over on FACEBOOK!