Raise your hand if you're struggling with how and where to use your own personal branding images. I'm right there with you or at least I was until a few months ago. Let me share a personal story with you.
For the past 13 years I have worked in marketing for a small fair-trade rug company. Working in fair trade you learn to tell the stories of the artisans whose lives are changed due to finally getting paid a fair, livable wage. All of my marketing had been centered around telling other people's stories. My work felt important because I was able to change people's lives.
My work felt important because I changed people's lives by telling their stories.
Three years ago I decided to step out on my own to become a Personal Branding Photographer. At that point I was convinced that I would again tell other people's stories. Stories of small-business owners, stories of entrepreneurs, artists and freelancers. I would be using their images and their stories on my blog, my website and mostly on my social media posts.
Oh, was I wrong. Not completely wrong, but I lacked one important understanding the power of using my own personal branding photos to share with my own audience. What changed? Why did I all of a sudden post images that featured yours truly? It didn't happen overnight, and it wasn't something I was excited to do at first. I'm an introvert and prefer to share my private life only with people I know and love.
Sharing more images about myself has made a difference in my marketing and how I connect with my audience. I'm still an introvert and I'm still cautious about what I share, but here are:
FIVE benefits that make it worth stepping outside my own comfort zone.
My audience connects with me on a personal level because they can get a glimpse into my life and the values I care about. When I show my face, I am creating touch points that help us connect when we actually have our first phone conversation and then finally meet in person. Allowing my clients to SEE who I am, engage on the topics I love and care about (travel, nature & healthy eating), help us connect on a much deeper level. It builds trust from the get-go.
What topics do you care about that you can comfortably share with your audience. Pick up to three to get you started and share them below.
By showing up myself I am able to build brand recognition across all of the online and offline channels I'm using. My brand is known for values I bring to the table with each of my clients. I'm full of joy and pretty much always have a smile on my face and energy in how I engage with everyone around me. I love to learn what makes people tick and what they love to do. To help with brand recognition I always make sure to include my brand colors and look for background elements that play well with my brand feel.
What values do you bring to the table? Make sure your brand photographer knows and understands your personality so you can easily have a set of images showing who you are. Don't forget your brand elements.
Cell phones make it so easy to take pictures of myself wherever I am. What I'm noticing though with most of my selfies is that they are just not professional looking enough. The composition and light aren't right, posing and facial expressions are lacking and make me look like a desperate teenager. About two-three times a year now I work with a branding photographer myself. I don't just hire a portrait photographer but specifically look to work with a photographer who specializes in personal branding. To look professional I need images that are taken with branding and marketing in mind.
My business is worth the money I'm putting toward looking professional. Look at your own marketing budget and start investing in a professional photographer who is skilled in personal branding photography to give you exactly what you need.
SHOW YOUR EXPERTISE
When using my own personal branding images I get to share my knowledge on how and where to use images. It allows me to talk about location, lighting and composition. Topics like posing, styling and so much can be addressed because I'm able to put myself into my clients shoes and provide tips and know-how on how to do it well.
What expertise do you bring to the table? What images will help your clients' see that they are in good hands with you?
INSPIRE YOUR AUDIENCE
Inspiring your audience as you share about the topics that interest you and as they realize what your expertise can do for them is probably the biggest bonus of putting yourself out there. Using your own lifestyle branding visuals is uplifting and encouraging to each of our audiences because they want to be engaged and inspired. Every time I post one of my own images I end up with the best conversations on Instagram and Facebook which leads to bookings down the road.
I love those conversations because they help me connect with my clients and that is the best benefit of all.
Share just ONE take-away
Drop me a note below and share one take-away from the five benefits on using personal brand images of yourself. Let's make sure the world sees and connects with you.
WORK WITH ME
Heike Martin is a personal branding, headshot and portrait photographer in Lancaster, PA. She specializes in capturing your life and business moments in emotive and authentic photography. Fun, relaxed and professional.