Building a Brand: Don’t be Discouraged by Smallness
As Creatives, the industry has really moved towards self-branding, self-promotion and the use of social media. Coming out school, all I have been taught in the last few years is to expand to this social media site, that social media site, look for the next greatest form, etc. This type of thinking caused more anxiety than it fostered growth. It was not until I had a viral success, Delta Gamma’s “We Are Not Our Stereotypes” Portrait Campaign, that I realized the importance of online branding.
After the campaign took off, I had very many people reaching out to me via social media sites and I quickly realized, I did not have enough of a base in online media to say everything that I wanted to about this series. This is where my journey began, I stepped outside of Facebook and Instagram (the usual sources for photographers) and I crossed to Twitter, Medium, LinkedIn and many more. Building my own brand was exciting and new but my hope was quickly dashed when my followers were not growing as fast as I had expected. After months of trying analytic tools, following “rules” of societal social media use and exhausting myself on trying to keep up with everything , I finally realized that I washappy with the small base. As time has gone on, I have seen a growth in my followers/likes/shares etc. This is progress. No matter how small, this is progress. Eventually, people began to reach out to me or even recognize me based on my social media therefore I am a successin my own, small way.
As a self-employed photographer, it can be very upsetting to see all of these other photographers and businesses with all of this support. However, once you remind yourself that these brands started small as well, everything seems so much easier to tackle. Allowing discouragement from brand smallness is opening the door to brand burn out. Accepting and moving forward with an optimistic attitude is the most beneficial aspect. Followers are vanity, engagement and amplification is most important.