Earlier this year, at WPPI in Vegas, Showit held an event called Showit United. For those of you who are wondering who Showit is, they are my website company. But they are more than a website company. They are marketing geniuses! Showit provides me with all the tools I need to be able to market my business in the non-traditional format which is through social media. Anyway… during Showit United in Vegas I was asked to speak on a panel next to Zach and Jody Gray and Trevor Dayley about How To Create New Clients.
I’m pretty sure that the reason I was asked to speak is because I had clear and honest results with my marketing after switching to Showit, yet I was still new enough in the business that Showit could have various levels photographers on the panel. It was an honor to speak on the panel, and I am happy to say that my marketing is still going strong. I absolutely LOVE marketing my business on Facebook instead of having to pay out thousands of dollars for print ads. And I will never ever leave Showit. DUDE! David Jay knows what he is doing!
But somewhere along the way something happened. I got sucked in! Facebook began to consume my business AND my life. And it wasn’t until I was sitting on that panel that I realized that. During my first year of focusing on Facebook marketing, I had gone from booking six weddings the year before, to booking 16 weddings. Ninety percent of those brides found me on Facebook. I think I began to take Facebook for granted at that point. I constantly lived on Facebook instead of living my life. And here is what happened after that:
I spent hours on Facebook communicating with and learning from other photographers within a few Facebook groups. And while I will never trade the relationships that I was able to build with those photographers for anything in the world, their business advice was useless to me because I stopped getting bridal inquiries. I wasn’t able to implement any of their suggestions because all of a sudden brides were not reaching out to me. I finally figured out why! I was spending WAY too much time talking to other photographers instead of living life! When I stopped living life, I stopped interacting with people in real life. I stopped having anything to blog about. I stopped paying attention to how I could create new clients and instead tried to focus on what to do after I had them. I suddenly found myself with only six weddings the very year after I had booked eighteen!
This is all new to me. I am slowly climbing this mountain and figuring things out as I go. So here is what I have learned:
It is important to build relationships and network with other photographers. But it is also important to live your own life and find a balance between it all. I think that I took everything for granted and assumed that I HAD ARRIVED when I booked eighteen weddings. I ASSUMED that everything else would fall into place just like it had so far. But here’s the thing! Spending all that amount of time inside of Facebook groups will not bring me clients. Getting outside and living life is what will bring me new clients.
I’m sure that many of my photography friends inside of the Facebook groups have wondered why I disappeared. After returning home from WPPI and Showit United in February, I pretty much stopped going into groups. I cut them all out completely for several weeks. Now that some time has passed, I do try to pop in every now and then and say hello. I do still try to keep in touch with people who have impacted me the most. But for the most part, I only open up Facebook a few times a day. I will pop into groups and comment on one or two things. I will update my status a few times a day. I will share recent work a few times a day. And I will reach out to current clients a few times a day. But other than that, I am away from Facebook… living my life and enjoying my family! I am focusing on building relationships with people who I actually speak to in person or at the very least… on the phone! And guess what? My numbers are rising again.
Facebook is a very powerful marketing tool. And together with Showit, I feel like I could conquer the world… or at least world peace or something major like that. But in hind site, I realize that I dropped the ball. I stopped focusing on what was really important and instead convinced my children that my job was to talk shop on Facebook all day long. Like I said, I am learning this all as I go. And since I like to be real, I am laying it all out there. I am sharing this with the world because it is a lesson I learned the hard way.
Relationships that are truly meant to be nurtured, should not be nurtured on Facebook. Pick up the phone. Go have lunch with a friend! Let the people you care about KNOW that you care about them. The rest will come naturally.