February 7, 2022
Tell me if this sounds familiar – you spend an hour writing a post for social media, choose a photo to go with it, research some good hashtags, then look at your analytics to determine the best time to post it and schedule it.
Once it goes live, you’re refreshing to see how many comments and like you’ll get on this carefully crafted post. It gets 3 likes and no comments and you think about deleting it.
Then the next time you go to post on social, you think – “Ok well last time I did everything ‘right’ and it was a bust…. so I’m going to throw something together real quick so that I can check off the ‘post on social media’ box on my to-do list.”
So you post and it’s the same result. Very little engagement, no new followers and honestly it feels like you’re talking to yourself. Your account isn’t growing with ideal clients, in fact the occasional new followers you get are usually bot accounts or other photographers. So – posting on social media feels like a waste of time.
Can you relate?
Here’s what is going on when someone lands on your Instagram profile: They’re making a decision in about 10 seconds based on your bio and the first few photos they see on your feed whether or not they want to follow you. They’re not looking at your engagement or comments, I promise. They’re making a decision about you well before they see if anyone engages with your content.
So, I want you to think about your profile now and step into the shoes of your ideal client. Imagine they’re looking for a birth photographer. Why would they want to follow your account?
Here’s the solution to targeting your ideal client on social media — and it’s not the way to get 10,000 followers or 100,000 followers. It’s how to target your ideal client on social so that you’re actually making money from the time you’re spending on making posts.
And I get a lot of groans or excuses when I say this. But what does it mean to niche down? You hear that thrown around a lot by me and probably some other educators. When I say niching down, I mean you are known for that thing. People in your community know you as THAT type of photographer.
Can you be known as a baby photographer? Sure. Is that specific enough to really stand out in your market? I’m going to argue, no. Being a baby photographer could mean so many things. It could mean newborn or 6 month olds or 1 year cake smash sessions or birth or fresh 48… those are all baby sessions and they’re all very very different.
When you’re known for something it’s easier to stand out on social and once you’re known for that thing – THEN you can start to expand a bit. It wasn’t until I was known for birth photography that I started to share more images and information PUBLICLY about my other sessions.
Something I hear from y’all a lot is that you don’t think you can get enough clients in 1 niche to stay fully booked. And the truth is, that belief is keeping you from being fully booked.
When you’re super niched down on social media – you know what to post about, you know what to share, you know who you’re speaking to!
Imagine you’re trying to speak to someone who wants to have an unmedicated birth… but then you think about your c-section clients and you don’t want to offend them. Or you have newborn clients who really don’t like birth photography and think it’s gross… So you end up posting something generic, so no one engages with it and around and around you go.
When you don’t speak to your ideal client you’re speaking to no one. Someone might get offended and it won’t be for everyone, but it WILL be for YOUR right clients who LOVE you and want to hire YOU!
If your niche is baby photography, that is not uncomfortably small. Cake Smash sessions is what’s uncomfortably small.
If your niche is birth photography that is not uncomfortably small. Home Birth photography on the other hand is uncomfortably small.
Know what uncomfortably small niche you want to be known for in social media!
Now, if you have only photographed 1 birth, that might mean you’re temporarily (like, less than a month) sharing some of the same photos more than once while you’re running a portfolio building discount or using the model call (for sale on our website, thebeautyinbirth.net/shop) to quickly get some new, fresh images to share.
My answer is – who says you can’t? You can appear to be a specialist by only SHOWING your 1, specific niche. but you can absolutely still photograph other session types.
Example of how I did this in my business: I showed births only while I did other session types for families. I was photographing tons of family sessions in the fall for my birth clients or repeat clients and I never showed them on social media or my website or blogged about them. I wanted to be known for BIRTH.
I wasn’t turning clients away (well, if it was something totally left field like seniors or weddings, I was turning them away). I continued to photograph related sessions to birth (like newborn, maternity and families and older baby sessions), but I just didn’t show them on social media or my website until I was fully-booked with births – finished one bridge before adding in a 2nd bridge.
Is your business here to entertain you? Is this a hobby or a business? If it’s a hobby, that’s totally fine. There is nothing wrong with that.
Are there parts of being a photographer that are fun? Absolutely! Do you sometimes have to do things that aren’t always fun in order to stay in business and grow? Also yes!
If you find yourself not wanting to niche down because you get bored photographing the same thing, I encourage you to either: 1) have special photography projects just for you, or 2) find a hobby.
Let’s say you’re like, “Okay, Tavia. I’m in and I’m going to specialize in newborns,” and then 6 months later you decide you don’t like photographing newborns anymore. That’s okay!
If you decide newborns aren’t for you, you can absolutely give birth or maternity or a different style of newborns a try for a few months. The key here is not to jump ship too quickly. If you don’t like newborns anymore, give lifestyle newborns a try!
Then it’s time to get even more specific:
If you want to specialize in weddings, but there are TONS of wedding photographers in your area and it seems like most are competing on price, what if you then specialize in backyard weddings or elopements or 2nd weddings?
If you want to specialize in newborns, but there are tons of newborn photographers, what if you specialize in non-posed strictly lifestyle newborn sessions? Or coming home sessions? Or fresh 48s?
If there are a lot of photographers specializing in what you want to specialize in, you need to stand out by being EVEN MORE specific. Yes, you’ll turn some people away but you will attract the people who love your style like a magnet.
I actually don’t see this as a problem. This is such an incredible opportunity.
Think about it like this – what if no one in your community had ever heard of birth photography. And you came along and said,
“Hey have you heard of birth photography? It’s like wedding photography for the day your baby is born. Imagine professional, high quality, emotional, stunning, classy images or labor and then the moment you meet your baby and then your family meeting your baby immediately postpartum. See, most moms think they’ll remember all the details of that day – but just like your wedding – you spend all the time anticipating this day and planning for it that it often comes and goes so quickly that all you have to remember it are photos. It’s such a beautiful and important few hours of your life! Birth photography artistically captures everything. Here let me show you some examples…”
Now, did that take a little extra time to explain it? Yes. But WHO is that mom mostly likely to want to hire for birth photography? YOU! The person who showed it to her.
Ask yourself: Am I niched down uncomfortably small? If so, am I showing only that niche on social media?
This isn’t theory friends, this is what worked for my business and is working for our students when they let go of the limiting belief that in order to be successful they have to be anything and everything to everyone who wants to hire them.
Then when your ideal client comes to your account on IG or Facebook, it’s going to be very clear to them what you do and who you serve. If it’s them, they’re going to follow along.
This episode wasn’t titled “How to get the most followers on Instagram” right? You might not have an account of 100k with this method. AND THAT IS OK! You want people following you who are actually likely to BUY from you. And THIS is how you do that.