Bob Burg is famous for his quote, "People do business with those they know, like and trust." Great advice, but how do you get your audience to know, like, and trust you, so that they will do business with you?
Anyone else feel like the word authentic was so 2017?? It was a hot buzzword for sure - and therefore it might not even be registering in our brains anymore. Here's why I still love it though: because finally, after 32 years on this earth, Authenticity is one of my core values. Truly, I have found so much freedom, joy, and yes, success this past year, once I stopped trying to be everyone else's version of a photographer, and chose to be myself. Authentic.
Let me tell you a story about my favorite human, Josh. Okay, I'm married to him, but that doesn't make the story any less relevant to you.
About 3 years ago, I was having drinks with my best friend Amber, and a few other casual acquaintances. One of the women had not met my husband yet, and somehow he got brought up in conversation. I started to describe him the way any wife does: he does this for work, I met him here, etc. Amber, who has actually known him longer than I have, interrupted me.
"Whether you've known Josh for 20 minutes, or 20 years, he's the exact same person. He's himself, always. No matter who's in the room."
I paused when she said it and realized she was so right. Josh is himself, and he doesn't care if others like him. She didn't mean that he's exactly the same person he was 20 years ago, but that whether he's known you for 20 years or for only 20 minutes, he treats you the same. He is himself. He doesn't have different versions of himself that he shows to different crowds. He TRULY is authentically himself, no matter what.
I have tried to embody this quality since the first time Amber pointed it out. It's so admirable because through his authenticity, people naturally like him and trust him. They can tell that he's not pretending to be someone else. Sure, some people probably don't like him (#dummies) but whether you do or you don't. you know who he is, therefore you trust him.
Branding is the same way. When you are yourself in your business, or 'on the field' as Gary Vee would say, your audience will naturally trust and like you. It's a human thing - we can spot a phony a mile away, and with the evolution of social media and influencers, we're only getting faster at it.
How do you be authentic?
It seems simple - be yourself! Ok, that seems simple enough, but that doesn't mean it's easy. When sharing photos, share photos of your real life (clients love a good behind the scenes). Share food or drinks that you ACTUALLY eat/drink. Use words that resonate with your clients, but that you truly use in conversation - out loud. Share your opinions and preferences, and not just what you think you're supposed to think/say.
What about fear? Afraid that if you show your authentic self, then your audience won't like you? Well you're probably right to some degree - whenever we are 100% ourselves, some people won't. But those aren't your people. And the people who DO like you, will connect with you on a much deeper level.
So should you not try to be a polished brand? No, not at all. You can be true to your values and your personality, while still putting in the effort to be consistent and polished. Professional photos that show you working and solving your client's problems are still authentic! They are the best kind of authentic - you at your best. You can still choose to stick to a color palette for your brand and showcase things in your life that are within that color palette. When taking an Instagram photo, maybe remove some of the clutter from your desk before snapping the shot. It's still authentic in that it is your desk, and your items and your moment, but it's more visually appealing.
Lastly, it's easier to be yourself. Your branding photographs should show you in amazing clothing or locations that you would actually wear or hang out in. You should be photographed looking comfortable and confident, not with a fake smile plastered on your face. Your audience wants to know what it feels like to work with you, and designing a photo shoot that captures your energy and your expertise are what's going to do that for you.
If you're ready to show up as the best, most authentic version of yourself, I'd love to work together. Feel free to message me to book your session, or call me directly at 603-718-0094.