At its core, Focal Flame Photography is a small business. We know firsthand the experience of building a new business endeavor from concept development to hiring employees. We understand the sacrifices made, the devotion to developing a quality product and service, and the need to squeeze social media engagement in after the children's bedtime. We've always been a fan of small business owners but over the past few years that respect has deepened even further through personal experience. And since our small business focuses on visual storytelling, we've come to realize how important a photographer can be in the development and promotion of a small business. Here are a few tips on how photographers can lighten the load for business owners.
1. Photos build relationships.
Once upon a time, it was common to walk into the corner market and find Mr. Smith behind the counter day after day. There was a familiarity and relationship in that setting - a familiarity that can sometimes be missing today, especially when your customers find you online rather than at the corner of Second and Walnut.
Photos of you and your staff bring that corner-market intimacy back. Whether displayed on a web site or displayed in your store, showing a recently taken professional headshot of each staff member conveys friendliness and creates an instant connection. It allows for easy recognition when customers need assistance. And it builds your brand image and individual recognition.
Professional headshots allow for integration between a small business owner’s personal LinkedIn account, business web site, and a Facebook Page. This continuity deeps the association between your business and yourself. Keep photos current, no more than two years old. Facial features, hairstyles - they all change over time, and outdated images can be distracting. Let your staff headshots be a reflection of your commitment to customer service: fresh and high-energy.
2. Photos tell a story quickly.
The old adage “A picture is worth a thousand words” is very true. Photos can communicate a great deal to others about your business or organization’s core values.
Visitors can assume your organization welcomes diversity if the entry foyer is decorated with oversize photographs of children, teens, families and seniors from a variety of ethnicities.
Professional photos added to a Facebook page album titled “Services” can let a potential client know your landscape company offers weekly summer mowing service and winter snow removal.
Bookmarks made of photos from your last benefit book drive and tucked in each new book purchase lets your patrons know they contribute to a larger community cause by shopping at your store.
The bottom line: photos can tell your small business or organization’s story - fast.
3. Photos Document Events
Whether it's your ribbon cutting grand opening, a class or workshop, a conference, a customer appreciation day, a major product release, a holiday or seasonal event for your customers, or even an employee retreat or board meeting, a lot of effort and resources are spent planning your business events. These events simply can't be replicated. Don't forget to hire a photographer to commemorate these important times in your business' history! Having a photo library of events lets you amplify their effect for a long time afterwards through press releases, social media posts, newsletters to customers, and even internal company communications.
4. Photos Enhance Advertising
The most common reason for a small business owner to need professional photographs is to promote products, events, and services.
Photography can be used to market your company’s product line, the location of your business, or people engaged with your services. These photos can be used for print ads, brochures, mailers, posters, print and digital catalogs, and web pages. High-impact commercial photos can literally stop your customers in their tracks, drawing them into the story of your business and connecting with them on an emotional level.
5. Photos Increase Social Media Engagement
In today’s social-media oriented world,consumers have a desire to interact and engage with brands and they do so with photos more than any other type of post. In his article, “Optimizing Facebook Engagement – Text, Links, Photos, or Videos?” on Social Media Today, Morgan Arnold shares that photos provide the greatest return on investment compared to other types of posts - almost triple the level of engagement compared to text alone. In a study conducted in May, 2012 tracking 8,000 posts by 100 well-known brands, Track Social found a photo received over 6,000 points (1 point awarded per like, 3 points awarded per comment) compared to slightly over 2,000 points on a text status. Simply put: photos rule!
In order to post fresh content on the web, whether it’s a Facebook page or company web site, small business owners need a photo bank showing their products and services. In just a few hours, a professional photographer can often compile an array of photos that you can draw on to promote social media engagement for many months.
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