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I don’t know if you have noticed, but Facebook is starting to get a lot more. . . live!
Business videos are starting to pop up, everywhere. People who you used to only “know” through their pictures and written posts are starting to become a lot more three-dimensional, with your being able actually watch, and listen to them.
As photography business owners, this is a trend that you need to pay attention to. After all, we are a visual arts community, and videos are – wait for it- visual.
I don’t know about you, but I love seeing my favorite people in action! When I can actually see them, and listen to them, they feel so much more real, and accessible.
I actually like them more. They seem human, and it almost feels as if you are sitting across from these people at a coffee shop, soaking in their knowledge. It’s a pretty cool concept.
Have you ever thought about being the one watching the “3..2…1….” click down and go live, on video, with Facebook?
Why is going live, and posting videos for your photography business, so important? Here are my top 5 tips about how video will set your photography business apart:
1. Be real
(This is especially important for us introverts out there. You don’t have to be perfect. Your clients just want you.)
Clients don’t want to just look at your images before they hire you. They want to know you. They want to know whether you will “click” with them. They want to know what you sound like, and what it will be like to meet you in person.
They want to feel like you could be their friend.
They want connection.
Video gives your clients a virtual peek into who you really are. The person behind the images. They may see your gorgeous images on social media, but they want to know what are you (the real you) are like. Are you sweet and shy? Funny and quirky? Clean-cut? Do you have bright-colored hair? Why do you capture images the way you do? Video allows them to connect with you, before they ever shake your hand.
It’s okay to not be a polished public speaker. In fact, if you are not perfect, people tend to connect with you even more. You are human, just like they are! Let your guard down, and connect.
2. Present something of value (as opposed to just “taking”)
Have you ever heard of a “giving” site, versus a “taking” site?
A “giving” site gives a lot of information. These sites become “go-tos” for people, becoming trusted sources (hint: most photography sites are NOT “giving” sites, aside from “giving” people gorgeous images to look at).
Giving sites are wellsprings of information, and not just one-time visits.
Why is this so important?
“Taking” sites are what most sites are. They take your comments, your page clicks, or even your email addresses, with little or nothing in return. They are often sites that you visit one time, to accomplish a “task”, and then never go back to it again.
You don’t want your site to be like that; yet, most photography sites ARE like that. You go to view your friend’s portrait or wedding images, “ooh and aah” for a few minutes, and leave. The images are beautiful, but nothing else makes your site memorable to where you want to go back and revisit.
Which sites, and businesses, end up being more profitable over time? You guessed it- “giving” sites.
If you offered videos for tutorials on things like: how to dress, when to cut your hair before sessions, or how to organize your iPhone images, your clients will thank you in dividends. You will be seen as a “giving”, trusted source.
Some ideals, for photographers:
- What to Wear tips and tricks
- Photography day run-throughs and tips
- Free tips on how to hang your portraits (with inspiration templates you can send them when they opt-in to your website mailing list)
Pro Tip: if you want to post videos to your blog posts, for things like behind-the-scenes outtakes from your client sessions, you can record them with your smart phone, and then upload to YouTube, and “live link” from there.
3. Keep it short
Unless you are teaching a mini class on Facebook Live, keep it short.
Most people have a short attention span, and busy lives. They don’t want to hear rambling- if they are on social media, short, sweet, and simple is best!
I say keep it to about 2 minutes. This is long enough for you to get your point across, but not so long to where you get nervous or rambling.
By only offering shorter bits of information (try not to let it be super short- get to at least one minute!), you keep them wanting MORE. They will keep coming back, and you will establish yourself as an expert. Short, simple videos will also keep you at the front of your viewers’ brains when someone asks for a suggestion or referral.
4. Be consistent
Just like with most anything else with business, consistency is key. If you offer behind-the-scenes videos with a handful of clients, you better be sure to offer these videos for all of your clients (people will notice, and will eventually ask you, which can make it awkward. If you need to, appoint someone at your session to be your “videographer” for Facebook Live. They will love it!).
Fun bonus to consider: record your video on your smart phone, upload to YouTube, and include the behind-the-scenes video on your client’s blog post! How cool would that be?
Video will allow people to connect with you in ways you haven’t been able to do before, so be consistent! On my photography business coaching Facebook page, I offer “coffee chats” every Friday at 9 a.m. My followers can ask questions ahead of time, and either watch me live as I answer them, or they can watch the replay. Regardless of how they view the video, I get more responses and interactions with my “coffee chats” than any email I’ve ever sent, or image I’ve ever posted. Your words are powerful, and can help! Try it!
For a portrait photography business, you can offer videos on Tuesdays on how to look great for your portraits, or even offer tips on how to shop for outfits. The number of possibilities are endless! Just try it. The compound interest you will gain on videos is mind-blowing. Add it to your calendar, and stick to it. After a few live sessions, your clients will start to look forward to seeing your face.
5. Be educated on speaking
If you are on video, it’s awfully hard to hide if you mess up, which is why a lot of introverts are anxious to click “go live”.
If you are going to go live, please be prepared by either memorizing bullet points (don’t memorize the speech- you can tend to look too robotic. Keep a card with bullet points right off camera, if you need help staying on track). Keep eye contact with the camera, because if you keep looking off-screen, viewers will either get distracted or think that you are trying to “pull one over” on them.
I usually do a run-through of my speech about 10 minutes out from going “live”. That way, I sound prepared, but not too polished. I also (personally) don’t like to practice in front of a mirror, because I want to be authentic and connected. I don’t want to be theatrical- I just want to be me!
If the thought of public speaking truly scares you, consider joining a local Toastmasters International Club! Toastmasters is focused on helping you grown your public speaking and leadership skills, and is worldwide. I have been a Toastmaster for over a year now, and let me tell you: the things I have learned in Toastmasters has changed EVERYTHING in my business, from my public speaking to my marketing messaging. I am an introvert who shied away from public speaking before, but now I know that I have important things to teach others. After working my speaking muscles for a year, I am nowhere near as scared to put myself out there.
And my business has thanked me for it!
Remember: you are your own brand. People need to not only connect with your visual imaging, but also YOU. YOU are who your clients want to know, like, and trust.
Remember: you are your own brand.
People need to not only connect with your visual imaging, but also YOU.
YOU are who your clients want to know, like, and trust.
If you want to set your photography business apart, try video! Whether Facebook Live, or links to YouTube (see the video at the end of this post), be YOU, and be helpful to your clients. The more you love on your clients through unique business moves like posting videos, the more you will get word-of-mouth referrals. Your business, and your checking account, will thank you!!
Want to go a step further with putting your face on camera? Worried that in-person selling won’t fit into your busy schedule, but you still want to make your clients sing your praises with your incredible service? Try VIRTUAL in-person selling, where you offer high-touch services to your clients in the convenience of your home office (or anywhere you have WiFi.)