Personal branding. Is it really that important for an online business?
It seems like everyone you follow has been building a personal brand. Part of a personal brand seems to include new branding photos.
Have you been holding back in embracing your personal brand? Are you not sure it will be important to your service business?
First off, yes, personal branding is important in today’s online world. And the longer you wait to show up and become part of the conversation, the harder it will be to catch up.
Cultivating your personal brand is an investment that continues to pay off again and again in your business. Especially when you invest in brand photography as well.
In today’s online world, we rarely have the luxury of meeting prospective clients face to face. People find us via our online presence well before we are ever aware of their existence.
Your personal brand serves as your handshake and welcome. The images you share convey the
Showing the person behind the business is an important part in creating trust and familiarity. Especially for service and creative based businesses.
Here are 5 myths about personal branding and branding photos.
1 – Personal branding is not important.
A personal brand is an equivalent to your reputation in your community 15 years ago.
You would do everything in your power to protect your reputation right? Well, your personal brand is what your online reputation is.
The thing about the online world, is that everything lasts forever and can be found forever.
In the past, you protected your reputation by being an honest and good person. You created relationships with the people around you.
In todays world, your online presence is doing the same thing. But it’s doing it on a global scale. And you can cultivate what is being said about you via your personal brand.
You are being judged by your personal brand online all the time. Even if you are not doing anything to create one. And that puts the control in someone else’s hand.
2 – I don’t need brand images. My services/products speak for themselves.
There are 100 other options for your clients to choose from that is not you.
There is any variety of large box stores and corporations to spend money with.
Look around you, corporations are everywhere. And convenient, and create a consistent result that people can trust.
If someone chooses to spend their money at a small business, they enjoy working with people. They are willing to do something different and in hopes to connect and work with real people.
So, don’t set up your website, social feeds and online presence to mimic what is found with a corporation.
The customer wants to connect with the human behind the work. You miss the mark when you don’t share who that human is.
Sharing images of yourself helps connect them with the person behind the business.
Using images over words helps convey to your customer who you are and what you are about.
Using professional brand images tells the customer that you are serious about your business.
Showing snapshots, selfies and mediocre images sends the message that this is a side gig. They worry that this may not be your main focus.
When you don’t appear to care about the perception of your business, people worry. They may assume a lack of professionalism or care.
The customer wants to be taken care of, so show up as a person and share how much you care. This will create a connection with you and them.
3 – Brand photography is too expensive.
You don’t have to rent a crazy house or car or fancy clothes to use in your shoot. People connect with real-life more than the glamorized fantasy usually shown.
The cost of the use of the photographs themselves is usually the largest expense. It’s a marketing expense that keeps on giving.
It gives you return on time because you no longer need to spend hours looking for the best stock images. No longer will you waste time for a DIY photoshoot that ends with subpar images.
With a branding photoshoot, you end up with a portfolio of images to use for all different marketing uses. From Instagram to Facebook and LinkedIn. Blog posts, website updates, author bios and more. Branding images show that you care and take your business seriously. That you want to connect with your clients.
There is always the possibility of payment options to help with the cost of photography. I offer the option to pay in full or pay 12 monthly payments for all my branding photography packages.
As a small business owner, I understand that it’s easier to budget for a monthly payment vs a large one time cost. So always ask what type of payment options are available. You may be surprised!
4- Personal brands are for executives, influencers and extroverts
So many people assume that personal branding is only for executives. Or those want to be influencers. It’s for people who love the attention and want to be out there front and center. But this is not true.
I myself am more introvert than extrovert, but I have my face all over my business. I do this because, as you look around my site, I become familiar to you because you keep seeing my face. You recognize me and start to get a feel of who I am, and the words on my site tell you more about my approach to my work.
You see my personality and get a feeling on if I would be the right person for you to work with. Or not.
This way, the people who don’t like what they see, can move on. But the people who feel a connection to what they see and read, are more invested in the idea of working with me than ever.
Do I feel awkward in front of the camera? Uh…. yes. 100%. Is the temporary awkward feeling worth the extreme value of creating that connection with my viewers? Uh…. yes. 100,000%
It’s not about enjoying being the center of attention.
It’s about letting your clients know who you are and why YOU are who they want to work with.
And most importantly… why they should spend their money with you, and not the next person.
5- You need to lose weight before being in front of your brand.
I get it. You want to look your best, and be proud of the images you are sharing with the world.
We all want that. But losing that 20 pounds is not going to magically fix our body image perspective.
But you can do things to make sure that you love the images you create. This is a better option than holding off on creating images until you achieve a farfetched goal.
Work with a professional.
This means you will look great, even with that 20 lbs. I’ve spent 15 years watching how bodies move and understanding posing and perspective.
Photography is all smoke and mirrors. And you can look amazing and be proud of the images of you today! I promise!
Trust in your photographer to pick the angle and pose that will make sure you look great.
We’ve all been burned by our friends who’ve posted those horrible images of us on Facebook. Those friends need to have their posting privileges taken away, for real! But those friends also don’t know what they are doing 90% of the time!
We all have spent our entire lives looking at magazines and comparing our bodies to those in the pages.
It’s frustrating that we all have such a disconnect with how real people look. That’s all thanks to the fashion industry and photoshop. Argh.
But you are beautiful and enough as you are. You can show up and succeed in life and business today. But you need to step out in the world to do it!
A couple of things that you can do to make sure you look your best and will love the images.
- Pick outfits that fit your body shape well. Don’t pick tight or loose clothing. Make sure it fits well.
- Layers are great for adding shape and hiding the curves we like the lease
- Spanx. No joke. Always wear Spanx when being photographed for best results. Even at 100 pounds, the celebrities are wearing Spanx because they understand. Shapewear makes your clothes fit/sit/look better and hide the shapes our bodies make that we don’t love. Check out this post about 6 reasons shapewear is a girl’s best friend
- Trust in your photographer. If your inner dialog is sharing doubts, then it will show in your expression. Once the doubt shows in your expression, then the message is lost. Expression is everything
To recap: 5 Myths about Personal Branding
- Personal branding is not important.
- I don’t need brand images. My services/products speak for themselves.
- Brand photography is too expensive.
- Personal brands are for executives, influencers and extroverts
- You need to lose weight before being in front of your brand.