Improving your visibility in your business online… when ‘showing up’ doesn’t come naturally
I talk a lot about improving your visibility in your business online to attract your ideal clients. But what if you’re not programmed to share everything publicly?
It may not even be fear holding you back. Sometimes we’re just not wired that way.
Could my generation be behind this?
I belong to a tiny microgeneration called Xennials (it’s ok if you’ve never heard the term before. It’s a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ kind of generation, usually used to refer to people born between 1977 and 1983.)
Xennials had an analogue childhood and a digital adulthood. (The best of both worlds, I’d say.)
I’ve lived through LPs, cassettes, CDs and Spotify. I grew up taking photos on a tiny analogue, film camera, moved onto a bigger film camera, then onto digital and now mirrorless digital, with my iPhone always ready for more candid moments.
I often wonder if this might help to explain why I just don’t feel the urge to share everything I do online.
Some reasons why showing up online might be hard
I’m usually the only one not taking photos of the beautiful meal when I catch up with friends and I forget to take selfies and behind-the-scenes photos and videos on every single photo shoot.
A lot of my clients feel the same (definitely not everyone, but I know many can relate). It’s just not second nature to share everything, but we know we need to show up.
For some, this comes from a place of self-doubt and a fear of being judged. You might be used to staying small and not making a fuss. A niggling worry about what people will think (which could be anything from ‘Who does she think she is?’ ‘What makes her an expert?’ to ‘What the hell is she wearing?’). If you can relate to this, you might be interested in my blog post about this. Click here to read it.
Perhaps you just don’t feel like being visible without putting in some effort to do your hair or makeup or change your outfit. Even if you embrace being truly authentic, ‘professional’ for your brand might not necessarily mean messy hair, pyjamas and dirty dishes in the background.
Sometimes we just want to be in the moment and it doesn’t even cross our minds to take out our phone to take a photo or record a video.
I get so much more pleasure from a deeper one-to-one conversation than talking to a large group. For a lot of us, it’s not always because we don’t want to be on camera, but it’s just not our go-to way of communicating.
It might be a combination of all of the above.
‘Visibility’ wasn’t the main goal, but it’s necessary
If you are here as a small business owner, I’m sure you went into business because you love what you do, you love the clients you work with and you want to make a difference
Chances are you didn’t go into this thinking, ‘I want to be an influencer with a huge following.’
Getting visible and building an audience is a necessary way to share our message and reach potential clients. It’s a means to an end. It’s not the goal in itself for a lot of us.
7 tips for improving your visibility online (when it doesn’t come naturally):
1 SHOW UP IN A WAY THAT FEELS EASY & FUN FOR YOU
There are so many ‘rules’ out there and people who think that their way is the only way to run a business. Not true. If you prefer writing to talking to the camera, write blog posts that give value, build connection & trust.
2 BATCH YOUR CONTENT WHEN YOU’RE IN THE MOOD FOR IT
If you’re going to take your own photos or record videos, do a whole bunch at the same time. So when you’re in the mood for it, make the most of it. Then you’ve got content to share even on your ‘off-camera’ days.
3 YOUR AUDIENCE IS NOT AS JUDGY AS YOU MIGHT THINK
I can guarantee that NO ONE who sees your content is going to judge you as harshly as you might judge yourself.
Think about the people you follow on Instagram and why you follow them. How many times have you seen them post a photo or video and you’ve thought to yourself, ‘What an idiot!’, ‘What makes her the expert?’, ‘I can’t believe her hair looks like that!’. I’m pretty sure the answer is zero.
Your audience wants you to show up so that you can help them. They want you to solve their problem, to entertain them or they want to learn from you. They are not judging you. Chances are they are excited to see you showing up and are cheering you on.
4 REMEMBER THAT PERSONAL & PRIVATE AREN’T THE SAME THING
So many of my clients have said to me that they want to keep their private life separate from their business and not knowing where to draw that line stops them from sharing anything. They aren’t interested in sharing their family or deepest thoughts online. Of course! Your personal brand is what you want it to be. The way I see it, a personal brand is how we choose to show up. We all have so many layers to what makes us who we are, and it would be impossible (and completely irrelevant) to share everything. Keeping some parts of us separate from our online selves doesn’t mean we are being inauthentic. I’m not afraid to be 100% myself, completely honest and vulnerable, but some things I share naturally with my friends and some things are relevant to share in my business. You get to choose.
5 EMBRACE IMPERFECTION
Let go of the feeling that everything has to be perfect. Your clients don’t book you because of the clothes you wear, for your perfect hair and makeup or for the fact that you always seem so ‘put-together’. They book you for your expertise, your perspective, for your personality and the fact that you genuinely want to help them. Embracing imperfection doesn’t mean being unprofessional or sharing less than amazing quality. If having perfect hair is stopping you from showing up and it means your potential clients don’t know you exist, it might be time to rethink your strategy.
6 THE MORE YOU DO IT, THE EASIER IT WILL BE
When you’re in a place that makes your heart sing, take some photos. When you meet friends, take photos that capture the moment – the laughs, the meal, the cosy cafe. When you have a brilliant idea, talk to the camera and share it. Why not record some behind the videos when you’re working with a client. It’ll soon become a habit.
(I have to give a shout out to two people who are doing this really well. Malin Hammar-Blomwall is the absolute master of Instagram stories, where we get to be a part of her day and share her passion for clients, her work and the beautiful details in her life. And I love Caroline Holstensson’s spontaneous (and valuable!) videos.)
7 OF COURSE, BUILD AN ON-BRAND LIBRARY OF PHOTOS THAT FEEL LIKE YOU
This might mean having a session with me, with another photographer, or you could take the photos yourself. But the end result should be a selection of photos that match the feeling and aesthetics of your brand, and that match your tone of voice.
This allows you to show up consistently to market your business, but it also gives you the freedom to be spontaneous when you want to.
Don’t shy away from photos where you might be talking, or gesturing with your hands (as though you’re mid-conversation), or mid-movement. These storytelling photos make your audience feel something, like they want to hear what you have to say and get to know you better (so that they ultimately want to book you). They feel more spontaneous than posed, static portraits, so if sharing candid photos that you’ve taken during your day doesn’t come naturally to you, this could be a great alternative.
If you would rather focus on doing your job and let me take care of your photos, have a look at my blog post about my Yearly Brand Photo Subscription here.
Can you relate?
Does showing up online come easily to you? Can you relate to any of this? Or are you the first one to pull out your camera and share the highlights of your day?
Leave a comment below and let me know.