If you’re in the wedding industry, specifically photography, you will notice a lot of people telling you to be ‘authentic’ and that’s how you will grow your business and your following. And it’s true. I wholeheartedly agree with that statement. Staying genuine and being open via social media can be a great way to show authenticity and who you really are. But you have to do it the right way. I’ve noticed lately that it’s really becoming hard to differentiate who’s being intentionally real, and who’s being not so real but instead someone they think a client wants to work with?
I have these thoughts in my head and I’m having a really hard time piecing them together to get my point across so bear with me here. Social media is such a great platform for showing people who you are outside of your business. I obviously don’t recommend sharing everything about your life, because there are things that don’t belong in the public domain, but if there are shows you like, music you listen to, breakfasts you prefer, or coffee you drink then by all means, put it out there. Let people know that this is a small piece of you that they wouldn’t have seen within the realm of just business. But my problem with this is that there are people that are so enveloped in the way other industry leaders have grown their businesses using these tools or methods that instead of sharing a real and genuine moment, they’re replicating what they’ve seen already done. And isn’t that the complete opposite of what you’re trying to do?
I truly believe that if you mixed 10 photographers ‘real’ photos and captions from Instagram and showed them to someone else anonymously, the chances are pretty high that they would think it came from the same person. Because even those ‘genuine’ posts have become generic instead of real, predictable instead of authentic. I know there are a lot of people out there that are scheduling their ‘authentic’ posts weeks in advance just for the simple reason that they don’t want to jeopardize the aesthetic of their Instagram grid. And I get it! I think it’s so appealing to see an Instagram grid that looks so pretty that I want to press that Follow button! But keep in mind, once you gain a follower, they don’t see your grid as often as they will see your individual posts popping up in their own feed. So aesthetic doesn’t have as much importance as the content of your posts. I mean, truly, isn’t it ironic to think a person spends so much time carefully curating a post in advance just to have it perceived as a genuine and authentic moment in their life?
Look, friends, I get it. I’ve fallen victim to it a couple of times when I realize that I’ve posted too many photos of my kids and not enough of my work, or vise versa. But I also do my best to speak through my captions using my real voice. I recently had a friend tell me that some of my non-business related posts I share from time to time, whether it be about my kids, or an awkward moment at the grocery store, or a random thought I had while driving, makes her laugh because she can imagine me saying these things while she’s reading them. And to me that says I’m doing something right! It means that the real me is coming out and not just the internet version of me I want people to believe is real.
I’ve met some people in the last 8 years of being in this business that I was so excited to meet because of who I believed they were after following them on their blogs or social media. And there were a few times I was let down because it was clear to me that what they were sharing online that I believed to be real was actually just a marketing technique and their real personality was completely different. Don’t be one of those people. Because if a fellow industry creative sees the difference, what happens when a client (the person that matters the most) sees the difference? If you read this, I challenge you to post something today a little more genuine then a styled photo of your morning cup of coffee or afternoon tea!