Last week, I did a post on making first impressions in person. I discussed the importance of people seeing you as yourself and making a good first impression through focusing on them. Online first impressions are a little more difficult. You don’t get to talk with them or interact with them face to face, so it is crucial to have an online presence that impresses people.
Some of the key ways people come across you online are your website, Facebook page, Instagram, Google+, or even your Pinterest or Twitter. You have A LOT of social media and internet outlets for people to be impressed and want to check out more of your work.
Tips for online first impressions:
1) Welcoming website- You have 9 seconds to impress brides when they come across your website, Instagram, Facebook. That’s it. And then they have their first impression of you and decide whether or not they want to continue to scroll and search your work. You need to have pictures on your site that WOW them and impress them in the first 9 seconds they are on the site. Are your first few pictures on your page ones that speak to potential clients? If not, consider changing them.
2) Website is easy to navigate- People are going to jump ship from your site if it is not easy to navigate. If it’s confusing at all or something on the site doesn’t work, they most likely are not going to take the time to figure it out. You are 1 in a sea of tons of photographers they have choices from, so if something isn’t working or is confusing, they will just move onto the next tab they have opened.
3) A social media feed that reflects your business- I have recently had a handful of inquiries on Instagram from people who have been following me for a while. I’m not the guru of Instagram feeds, but I have in the last few months done a really good job of posting pictures that reflect my business. I now only post my professional pictures that reflect my style and match my style. I will either put a picture in black and white or not include it if it doesn’t fit my color tones and match my feed. For example, this week, I had an awesome picture I took of Levi at Toys R Us with my D750, but it was so bright and loud in color and distracting elements that it didn’t really match my feed. I decided to keep it out of my feed so that I could keep it consistent and visually appealing for my viewers. This may seem a little extreme for people, but it’s little subtle things like that that really impact first impressions of viewers online.
4) Share your personal life- You don’t have to pour your heart out online like I do often, but I do think that a certain level of sharing is important. If you look at my “about me” section of my website, you see a few pictures of Levi and Josh with me as well as some of my favorite things like Chipotle, Harry Potter, and ice cream. On my Instagram, I sometimes post personal pictures of Levi or me, but where your potential people can really get to see a personal side of you is through Instagram stories. These are so much fun for your clients and potential clients to see a personal side of you. I’ll use Valerie, my most recent bride booking, for example: she followed me on Instagram for a year or so before she got engaged last month. She already knew about my love for Chipotle, knew Levi’s obsession with trains, and that I like to run. Before even hiring me for her wedding, she felt like she knew me! I LOVED it! 🙂
4) Calling after an inquiry- I think this is one of the key points, and while it’s not necessarily an online impression, it’s a non-in-person impression. How many of you send an email after you receive an inquiry? Nearly every photographer sends an email. How do you stand out from the 15 other photographers a bride emailed the same day? If you email them like every other photographer, there is nothing that is going to make you stand out to them. I always call a potential bride before I send them anything in an email. If they found me online and have taken the time to fill out my inquiry form, they show me they like my work, so I take the extra step to make myself stand out even more to them by calling vs emailing. I’m a huge extrovert, so talking to someone on the phone doesn’t bother or terrify me like it does some of you; but if you’re scared to talk on the phone, keep it short and simple, but at least give them a call. This helps you stand out among the sea of choices they have. My phone calls with potential clients are normally 20-30 minutes (if they don’t answer, I leave a voicemail; but they tend to answer about 80% of the time); and then I send them my pricing for them to look over. Have them fall in love with me over the phone before we talk money.
Hear from some of my brides about their first impressions and what I did to encourage them to book me for their weddings:
DeAndra: She found me through Facebook and contacted me. I called her before sending her any email.
“The first time Mandi and I talked I knew she was the person I wanted to capture my wedding day! Coming from someone who does not talk on the phone unless it’s an emergency, Mandi and I talked for an hour on my way to tennis that day! We found out how many connections we had through coaching at the same school and how alike we were! I loved her from day 1 and there was no question I wanted her to be my photographer! Ben turned out to be an AMAZING bonus as he entertained us through a VERY rainy September day!”
Bethany: She met me Ben the Georgia Bridal Show, but did not meet me. She sent me an email two months after the show. I called her, but she was at work, so she called me back a few hours later.
“When I first decided to call Mandi, I was terrified. Being a wedding photographer myself, I knew all of the hard work, heart, and dedication it took to capture everything a wedding is. From the first “Hello” on the phone, for some reason all of those fears disappeared. She didn’t talk to be like a businesswoman talking to a client. She talked to me like we were already friends. We were on the same page about everything and she even remarked, “Oh my gosh you’re like my favorite kind of bride!” In the short time we talked on the phone I knew that I found someone who had the same values as I did. I felt like she would give me the attention every bride deserves, the professionalism to handle everything a wedding is, and the personality to be more than just “a wedding photographer.” After my fiancé and I met her in person later that week, we both knew that we found a wonderful photographer and friend.