In my previous blog I explored how you can be invisible to your clients online. I talked about some of the downsides of using stock imagery or even not having your face online at all.
On our websites and social media we need to do all we can to catch people’s attention so they stop and look, because we all have so much information passing in front of us. Without images, unless they have a very good reason to keep on reading, a lot of people will scroll on past.
Images help break up text to make it more appealing and easier to read. 😀
And if you don’t have any form of profile photo, people may be a bit suspicious as to whether you are genuine or not, or may think you can’t be bothered. So they might not even want to begin to connect or engage with you.
In this blog I will be exploring some of the options that you can use to become more visible to your clients online.
You could take your own photos
With the quality of the camera on modern phones, you could take your own photos to use for your business. This has the advantage of being free and convenient.
To get the best out of your camera phone you need to consider where to take your photos and what will show in the background. Think about whether to take the photo standing at eye level, whether to get down low or climb onto something higher to get a better viewpoint.
Lighting is really critical and you need to be aware of where the shadows fall. We’ve all seen those profile images where the person’s face is in shadow and you can’t really see their features because the lighting is behind them.
If you are taking your own photos, I would advise you to not just stick with the first photo you take, spend some time trying out different options.
However, it is worth thinking considering whether you can take a professional enough photo that you would be proud to share and represent your business?
Another way to do it is to get a friend to take your photos. The advantages of using your friend are it is free and because they know you and they’ll want to show you in your best light.
The question is, how experienced are they at business photography? How are you going to come across?
By taking your own photos or using your friend you may not be spending money but it will take time and effort. You also might not end up with photos you’re actually happy to use. Is your time better spent doing what you’re best at?
You could have professional photographs taken
If you work with someone who specialises in business photography and understands your business, they will be able to represent your brand and personality visually. And as a result, people looking at your website and social media will understand not only what you do, but whether you’re the sort of person they want to do business with.
A good photographer will help you to feel comfortable during the photoshoot, so that in the final photos you come across in a relaxed, natural and approachable way, to appeal to your target market.
However, although having photos is great and I would say essential whatever your business, photographs are still images, they don’t move and they don’t speak. It can be helpful to also be able to take people through your customer journey and your story in a more dynamic way. What photos don’t do is use the power of video, which is becoming ever more important.
You could use an illustrator
There are some great illustrators who work with businesses and this can be something a bit different and fun to do. Illustrators each have their own unique style so it is worth looking at different illustrators’ portfolios to check that you like their work and it would fit with your business brand.
It is worth keeping in mind that an illustration could be perceived as hiding your face, and people still like to see who they are doing business with. People do business with people and they want to know who you are and what you look like.
You could have an animation made
There are different types of animation, from traditional 2D animation, right through to motion capture (3D realistic animations based on live-action scenes, created by people dressing up in suits that track their movements – this is unlikely to be within the price range of any but the largest businesses)
One popular type of animation is whiteboard animation, a video style where static images are drawn on the screen. Again this can be a fun way of illustrating specific things for your business in a user-friendly way. It could be used to show how a product works or to give some advice relating to your business.
However animation is always one step removed from you and your business, it doesn’t show the genuine experience of doing business with you.
You could commission a video of your business
Videos are a very engaging type of content and are a very accessible way of getting your message across. More and more of the social media platforms are prioritising video content because of its popularity with so many people, who prefer watching a video than reading blocks of text. And with video on your website, people are more likely to spend more time watching it, than with other types on content.
However, if you are like me the idea of being videoed is a bit daunting to say the least. Having the camera trained on your face whilst trying to remember what to say is a challenge and could be a stressful experience. You might find the overall video doesn’t have the appeal that you had hoped if you don’t look relaxed and natural, and don’t manage to say everything you meant to say.
You also need to keep in mind that professional video companies need to charge enough money to take into account their expertise. They have to make an investment in camera, lighting and audio equipment, time in shooting and the length of time it takes to edit and process, so there can be quite an investment involved.
You could get drone footage
Drones are very popular nowadays and are a great way of getting a high level alternative view that you couldn’t get from the ground.
This can be very effective for particular types of business, for example hotels, where you can show guests the layout of the grounds you have. However, it doesn’t achieve the aim of introducing yourself and your employees to potential clients, it distances you from your potential customers.
Having looked at all these alternatives, I would always advise people that professional photos are the best way to present your business. However, photos don’t give you benefits and power of video and that’s why I created Brand Story Photofilms, which combine photos with audio.
Coming soon… my next blog, where I tell you a bit more about Brand Story Photofilms and how they came about.