One of the things that I see a lot of photographers struggling with is how to get their name out if they don’t already have an established brand in their market. This is especially true if you’re in a brand new market or if you are just starting with seniors. The number one thing that you can do as a photographer right now is to leverage influencers and their reach.
If you’re a photographer who built their business on Facebook, you might remember the days where you would be able to reach everyone. As Facebook started to monetize, they cut the reach of business pages in place of paid advertisements. Think about it… Facebook owns Instagram and as the saying goes… History is bound to repeat itself. Therefore, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to incorporate influencers in your business if you’re not already.
What is an influencer? An influencer is someone who has exactly that – influence. While you might be thinking about how in the world can Kendall Jenner help your business, I urge you to think more micro than that. Think about people in your own community who have huge followings in their community. Maybe this is a prominent parent on the school PTSA board or a high schooler who has a couple thousand people following them on Instagram. These are perfect people to reach out to and see how you can help them. The best influencer relationships come from those that you can help each other out mutually. If you approach an influencer with a very one-sided approach, they’re going to be much less likely to help you out.
Especially if I am trying to reach a certain high school or new city in my area, the first thing that I do is look for an influencer in that space. I then reach out to them, usually through an Instagram DM, and let them know that I want to set up a shoot with them. There are many ways to frame it but starting with you wanting to give them images for use on their social media is a great place to start. After all, digital images are currency to this generation and giving them social media images to post and tag you is beneficial to both parties. They receive content to post and you receive reach in the form of them posting your images and name to their feed.
I personally set up a senior rep team each year much like many other photographers. When picking the team, I make sure that I have a senior from each of the schools that I target. Why? Because these are going to be individuals who have friends in those schools and allows me to make sure I am reaching individuals in my target market.
Don’t just think about this from an individual standpoint. Are there businesses in your area that have large followings from high schoolers in your area? Boutiques, hair and makeup salons and such are great places to start. Think about what you can do for them to bring them value and in turn have them give you exposure. When doing this, you’ll want to think about the type of business you’re pairing up with. If the business offers cheap clothing that your target clients aren’t shopping at, then maybe this isn’t going to be the best relationship. I usually work with businesses that have similar client bases to mine as this way it makes sure that you are reaching individuals that you want to reach.
There are a ton of ways to approach this topic, but it’s something that every photographer should be doing in one way or another. If you’re not, figure out how you can be doing this for your business and don’t forget: make sure that you are approaching this from a mutually beneficial approach and bringing as much value to the other individual as possible.
Sean Brown is a senior portrait photographer based out of Vancouver Washington and Portland Oregon. His goal is to bring out every senior’s personality in their images and is dedicated to making sure that every senior session is different so that no two senior images are alike. Sean is now booking the Class of 2020. To learn more about being an SBP Senior, click here.