Get Real Series
3 Unique Networking Ideas to Grow your Business
by Casi Smith
Casi Smith, owner and lead photographer of Pine + Honey Photography, joins us on the Get Real Series to chat about 3 different ways to utilize networking to its fullest extent within your creative business!
I feel like we all have been there (or are still there) where we are just so tired of no one seeing us or booking us. Our photos are great, we post to social media daily, and we engage with people. Why isn’t our business moving forward?
One basic reason - The internet is a black hole.
Wait, what does that even mean?
You have so many people posting great photos, great content, just like you, using the SAME STRATEGY. We all do it. Yet, you're not getting any more booked weddings because of it.
But, I’m not here to talk about social media strategy. To be honest, I don’t believe there is a one size fits all, or even a magic formula. I truly don’t believe in it.
What I am here to say is that you need to get out from behind your computer screen to go and...
What?! Leave my computer?! But I need to edit, respond to emails instantly, be on social media constantly!
Nope. You can leave for like 10 hours. Trust me.
My business was dying. It was because I was doing what everyone else was doing. People (brides, clients, everyone) can find a great photographer online easily, but the only thing that differentiates you from “Suzie Photographer” down the street is you.
Your personality, the way that you make them feel, the effort you put into getting to know them. IN PERSON.
The reason I say this is because people want to feel like they can trust their photographer, that they will make them feel good and have their best interest in mind.
So, what am I doing to make this happen?
1) OFFER FREE FAMILY SESSIONS AT A BUSINESS LOCATION
I am networking with businesses in my community.
I reached out to a local winery and offered them something. I would take photos of families for free, in exchange to get families to come to their winery. I know wineries struggle at getting people to drive all the way out to buy wine, especially families, so I saw it as an opportunity.
I’m not getting anything out of this. I am building a network. You know what happens when these families get their free photos? They’re going to brag about me.
That winery, they may hire me to do product photography, or not. I don’t care. I just need to meet people in real life.
Referrals do come my way, but what happens when they dry up? What are you doing to actively build your referral network?
2) STRATEGIC FACEBOOK ADS
I ran a facebook ad offering engagement sessions for free to build my portfolio.
You may say, “What? But you just said to get out from behind the screen!!!” And you’re right, but this allows me to do just that. What is the best network to leverage? Your social network.
I have people tagging people they know who are engaged for me. And guess what? Those free engagement sessions may just turn into full wedding sessions.
3) STYLED SHOOTS (BUT NOT THE WAY YOU THINK)
I am doing styled shoots, not to get the photos, but where I collaborate with other photographers.
We take photos and videos of each other to post behind the scenes / in action on our social media.
Why? Because I can’t take photos of myself or hire someone to do this for me all the time.
This also builds my network with photographers. What happens if they get a bride requesting them to do a wedding but they’re booked? They will refer me and I will refer to them!
Collaboration helps you. Stop feeling so dang competitive.
These are just ideas. Take them or leave them, but just realize that the internet only takes you so far. We work in an industry that involves human connections. Why don’t you start your marketing efforts that way?
Wishing you the best!
📣 Are you ready to see a serious spike in your website traffic? 📣
Would you like to contribute to the Get Real Series? KNOW SOMEONE THAT SHOULD GIVE US THEIR TWO CENTS?
🔍 I'm looking for wedding pros that would like to be featured on Wedding Boss Life by participating in the Get Real series which is all about getting raw and real with ourselves and businesses.
YOU get to choose the topic that resonates with you, (feel free to be 10000% YOU - no need to filter yourself with me or my website) but some ideas to help get you started:
- ⭐️ What narrative in the wedding industry needs to desperately be re-written?
- 🔥 What lies were you told that you believed about the wedding industry or business?
- ✨ What has been your biggest struggle in business? How have you/do you plan to overcome it?
- 💥 What do you wish more wedding pros knew?
- 📍 What did you have to learn the hard way?
- 🎀 What keeps you motivated as an entrepreneur?