We are so excited to bring the thoughts of Brand Photographer Amanda Richardson to the blog today.
Personal branding is a critical part of marketing, especially for small businesses and solopreneurs. We recently asked Amanda to share her thoughts on how to create sustainable workflow that included personal branding and this is what she had to say:
“Incorporating personal branding into your content workflow is important for differentiating yourself from other planners, establishing a personal connection with new clients, and making sure your ideal clients are finding you. There are so many couples getting married, but only some are the right clients for you. Personal branding helps make those connections with the right people.”
We had a few more questions for Amanda and know you will walk away with some actionable advice.
Why is it important for wedding planners to have a personal brand?
The wedding planning industry is very saturated. Personal branding highlights the factors that differentiate your business from the competition. Throughout the entire wedding season, you are given photos from dozens of photographers that vary in style and technique, with your favorite as well as not-so-ideal events, and hardly feature you at all. If I went and looked at your Instagram right now, would your face be in the first couple posts? If not, you’re missing out on an opportunity to connect with engaged couples on a deeper level! Personal branding captures who you are, what you love to do, and who you love to serve. It tells your story to the world through consistent, professional imagery. This is a much more professional approach than the “patchwork” of different photography styles from events you work so hard on all year. Consistency builds trust, and in today’s marketing atmosphere, you can’t go without it.
What kind of personal brand assets should planners consider creating when working on a marketing plan?
You won’t necessarily create new or different types of content than before. However, you can personalize just about everything you send. Incorporate personal brand elements into your email signature, profile images, social media content, website images, proposal templates, referral thank you cards, and more. These additional touches are opportunities to raise your brand image (link: https://amandarichardsonphoto.com/2021/02/01/raising-your-brand-image/) and continue to show your preparedness, professionalism, and individualism throughout the booking process. There are so many opportunities for differentiation in your marketing plan. Don’t forget to look at your customer experience cycle. Include your brand images and personalized messaging when you send your pre-event questionnaires, ask for reviews, or reach out on their anniversary. Even after they’ve become clients, you can enhance your customer experience and create referral sources for life by personalizing your content and making clients feel so appreciated and cared for.
What suggestions do you have for making personal branding part of a work routine?
Make it part of your annual or bi-annual marketing plan to have your brand professionally photographed two to four times per year. This allows you to always have a bank of new, consistent content to rotate through. When clients first come across your information, they tend to “binge” on your content to see if they are a good fit for you. The depth of consistent branding and messaging builds trust with that new potential client and can lead to more bookings.
In most cases, your ideal client is some version of yourself. Pay attention to the things that draw your attention online, the questions you have about business owners, and the stories you like to hear and read. What imagery are they using to tell their stories? What do you like about your favorite brands? These questions can help you think about how to plan for your own personal brand photography and content plan.
What are some metrics or indicators to know if your personal brand is working well?
One of the goals of personal branding is to book more ideal clients. You’ll know you are well branded when most of your inquiries are planning events that are in your niche, on-brand, and you can’t wait to work for them! You should see your conversion rate from consultation to booking increase, as you’ll be attracting the right type of people and deterring those who wouldn’t be a good fit by offering up more personalized content in your marketing materials.
Another indicator is your social media engagement. The more personal your posts are the more your engagement (likes and comments) is to go up! This is easy to test out by simply posting a picture of yourself and/or your family and sharing something fun about a special day or special tradition you celebrated recently. I will bet you will see a lot more interaction on that post than even one of your favorite wedding posts! People really want a personal experience and by sharing that, they feel more confident that is the kind of service you will provide.
How often should you update your personal brand imagery?
Naturally, you’ll want to evaluate your brand positioning and personal brand imagery if you change your niche, when you update your services, or anything that defines your ideal client, such as a large shift in price point. In addition, it’s best to aim for seasonal or quarterly changes. For SEO purposes, you’ll want to refresh your website imagery every 3-4 months. Social media imagery “wears out” at a much faster pace. Consider batching your brand photography sessions and planning outfits and content for the next 3 to 6 months when you are creating new content. This helps you make the most of your time, and get the most out of your investment in personal brand photography. For more details on how often to make updates, view my blog.
Amanda Richardson is a Personal Brand Photographer for high-performing creative professionals around the country. She offers a full suite of personalized branding services to help creatives and event professionals find and book more ideal clients. You can learn more about Amanda and her services at https://amandarichardsonphoto.com/.