Brand Messaging or Ego Massaging?
Coming up for air today, after ‘enjoying’ a couple of weeks of pretty much zero tech. Partly because I’ve been busy shooting, and partly because I’ve been busy with my podcast, and also partly because I had a massive IT crash which meant completely re-newing my main workstation. That took a lot more time than I needed right now, not least because of the busy wedding season and all of the production that goes with it.
While watching progress bars and re-installing software I’ve also had a bit of time out to think.
Not having access to my website really brought my schedule to a stand still. There’s always plenty of other things to work on, edits to be done, receipts and confirmations, and album building springs to mind, but not being able to blog felt crippling, and that seemed to me to be very revealing.
This last week or so I’ve felt a strange mix of feeling like my arm’s been cut off and feeling slightly liberated at the same time. One thing I’ve realised is how much my business is on my mind, and how much time I must spend online tweaking my site and the seemingly perpetual drive to promote my photography to new clients.
Another thing I’ve realised is how crazy competitive wedding photography is. It’s never really bothered me, but stepping back, forced or not, it’s clear how fiercely active you have to be online to have any chance of being seen or heard. It’s incredible how the culture of being super busy seems to be almost currency on social media, particularly Twitter.
I’ve usually tried to fight things like this, but I found myself declaring in a tweet that I was ‘determined’ to ‘get into’ Snapchat only because a couple of photographers I follow are singing it’s praises so loudly. I think I suddenly thought that I was going to get left behind if I didn’t jump on to snapchat and even started telling myself that it was important to be part of this new wave of interest just like the photographers I won’t mention.
The truth is, I don’t know how snapchat works very well, and when I look at the things that people are posting, usually short videos, I just don’t get it. As far as I can see, there are a lot of snaps of people messing around with their kids or their various pets, and as nice as that is, it also seems like a massive distraction and waste of time, when time is something I already don’t have enough of. In fact, I can understand it on some level – fun is good, but I can’t help thinking that we’re heading towards spending more time watching other people’s every day lives and forgoing spending quality time with our own kids. Watching somebody in their kitchen with their kid dressing up their pet (or whatever) is not actually making meaningful social connections beyond knowing that person is actual quite normal/ridiculous just like you or I.
Ok. I fully appreciate that I may have this wrong, and I understand what social media means to people, but I’m not being grouchy.
I’m just making the choice to not follow the crowd this time. I’m a fairly private person anyway, and I’m not sure that showing the whole world the minutiae of my day-to-day existence is either interesting or necessary. The argument that it’s the new way to connect with clients? I don’t buy it. It looks like the rest of the world are falling in love with messaging with Apple devoting a large part of their flagship iOS release to a new kind of augmented messaging which looks remarkably like snapchat
I’d like to think that my clients can and do see past the empty necessity to know what I had for breakfast. I’d like to think that the people who come to me aren’t desperate for me to authenticate my worth to them by showing them just how real I really am, or what a fun and quirky chap I am.
But I might be wrong, so I’m asking you what you think.
Do you need to connect with your suppliers, photographers or others, on social media? Is snapchat the answer? Would you feel like you had a more meaningful connection with the photographer or would you trust them more if you knew more about their private life?
And photographers – Do you think that snapchat (or similar, I suppose) is the right way for you to get to your clients? Do you think that there is a competitive advantage to developing your brand in this way?
Any comments are welcomed!