Are you taking pictures at work?
I’m not talking about selfies or pictures of your lunch, but rather pictures that illustrate how you do work for your customers so that when you employ content marketing strategies for your company you have the images you will need.
When Mooncalf Press works with a client on their content marketing and brand journalism, we’ll talk about ideas for articles or videos, and when it comes time to find some images to include with the article or the video, inevitably the client will say, “Oh, we did a job and it was perfect for what we’re talking about now! I wish we had some pictures of that we could use.”
Here’s what we know for sure: authentic images matter.
If you want your website to be visually appealing (you do!) and you want your social media posts to get attention (you do!) then you are going to have to include images. Stock photos you find in a Google search or buy online aren’t the best images, either. The best images are authentic photos that show you and your employees doing the work you do.
A home builder, an artist, an HVAC repair company, an auto mechanic, anyone who manufactures or builds or repairs or installs anything is going to have ample opportunity for photographs. These people should be taking pictures throughout a job from start to finish. You don’t have to be a professional photographer – pull out your smart phone and shoot a little video or take some still images when you’re working. Take shots from different angles so you have options.
Today I’m going to see Tammy to get my haircut. There’s a decent chance that when we’re done, she’s going to want to take my picture. Tammy regularly takes pictures of her customers after they get their hair cut, and she posts those pictures to social media.
This is a great strategy for Tammy, and it’s a good use of social media to promote her business. Smiling customers with freshly cut hair will help to entice other customers to come get their hair cut, too. If Tammy was one of our clients, we would encourage her to continue this practice.
But occasionally Tammy should also have pictures of herself cutting hair. After all, Tammy’s customers don’t know me, and at least in my case, I’m not good looking enough that they’re going to want to see pictures of me. But they know Tammy, and seeing images of Tammy cutting hair will get more traction for her on social media than a picture of me will.
But again, that doesn’t mean she should stop taking pictures of her customers. Both strategies work for different reasons.
If Tammy posts pictures of herself, it will remind her existing customers that it may be time for them to give her a call and schedule and appointment. When they see Tammy on social media, they’re probably going to take a look at themselves in the mirror and wonder if they couldn’t use a trim.
By posting pictures of her customers, Tammy can tag her customers in a social media post and that has the effect of advertising Tammy to her customers’ friends. Especially if Tammy’s other clients make better models than I do, then their friends will think, “Oh, that’s who does so-and-so’s hair. I should go to that woman, too.”
Most business owners are the face of their brand – even if they aren’t comfortable in that role. And their customers want to see them. Customers want to connect with the people they do business with. And, because you want to always increase your brand awareness and brand loyalty, you also want your customers to connect with you.
When you’re good at what you do, you should show that off. Photographs go a long way to telling your company’s story in a compelling way.
It’s harder for accountants and attorneys and people who sit in an office at a desk to find authentic and compelling photos. But it’s a good idea to periodically pull out your phone and snap a picture of yourself or your coworkers. If you’ve got a group meeting, designate one person to stand up a get a couple of shots of the people gathered in the conference room.
If all you do is sit at a desk all day behind a computer, that’s not really going to make for compelling and interesting photographs. You might be able to use that in a social media post or on your website a couple of times, but eventually your customers and followers on social media will ignore the same picture of you at your desk week after week or month after month.
With one of our clients, an accounting firm, we took some posed shots of the partners in the business, but as they held the pose the posed shots became candid shots and both partners were laughing. We put a headline on the photo: “Why are these women laughing” and used it in a social media post celebrating the end of tax season on April 16.
If you typically sit at a desk but sometimes meet with clients, ask permission and snap a photo with them.
Authentic images – not stock photos you buy online, but images of you and your employees doing what you do – are a critically important element of your content marketing strategy.
You don’t want to get caught posting an article and wishing you had the perfect picture from last week’s job.
So our advice to small business owners who are employing a brand journalism strategy for their content marketing is to take pictures often so they always have the image they need.