By Elise Schmitter
For as long as I’ve been in the photography world I’ve used social media to share my work and market my business. I began my business, a bit unexpectedly, in the midst of nursing school. I would photograph weddings on the weekend while spending my weekdays in a classroom or at a hospital. Photography allowed me to use the creative side of my brain that otherwise sat dormant during the week.
Like so many others, I fell in love with motherhood photography shortly after becoming a mother myself – when motherhood photography was just starting to come on the scene as a niche in the photography world. I knew I wanted a business that worked alongside - not in competition with – my own motherhood. Social media was the only way I knew of to market my business and get my work in front of the eyes of potential clients and yet, as my children (and my business) grew, I increasingly disliked how I felt my social media use took away from my own motherhood. I grew tired of the constant pressure to share new work and keep up with the constantly changing algorithm.
What would it look like to run a business off of social media? I wondered. Near the end of 2020, I decided to try it out. I began experimenting with staying off of social media - and guess what? I liked it a lot. I learned that I was my best creative self away from social media. I’ve found that it’s easy as a motherhood and family photographer to talk about “loving the ordinary moments” within the social media world and yet not really see the value of living presently in my own ordinary moments. I wanted to change that. By staying away from social media, I was able to be more present with my own family and I found more creative inspiration in my everyday life.
These days, I’m continuing to market my business, but it looks quite different from the days of posting consistently to social media. It fits perfectly with this season of life that I’m in. Here are the three main ways I’ve chosen to continue marketing my business.
When I chose to officially move away from social media as a source of marketing (at the beginning of 2021), I announced it on my Instagram account and directed followers toward a blog post explaining a little bit of the why behind my decision (you can see it here). Then I invited people to join my email community and created a free guide as an incentive. With all of my emails, I try to provide value to my subscribers - whether that’s in the form of beautiful sessions to pursue or helpful tips and resources to share. Additionally, I love email because it allows me to create a more personal connection with my subscribers.
It’s fairly easy to do keyword research and then intentionally utilize those keywords in your blog posts or on your website. This may sound overwhelming, but it really doesn’t have to be. Anything is better than nothing, and something as simple as re-naming images on your website can have an impact. Start small, and go from there.
Ok, so I think Pinterest is technically a social media site, but it’s more similar to Google than to Facebook or Instagram. I’ve been slowly creating content to post to Pinterest that then links back to my website or blog. Canva is a great tool to use for creating simple yet beautiful graphics for this.
And that’s it! Those are the main areas that I’ve chosen to focus my marketing energy on. I still get inquiries, and many of them come from Google or client referral these days. Sure, I might loose a few clients here and there because I’m not active on social media. But for me, it’s an easy trade off in this season of life. Really, it comes down to what my priorities are – not mainly for my business but for my life. I don’t want to give my time to something that will take away from my main job of loving my family well. For me, it all comes back to this: I’m not trying to build an empire; I’m just trying to live faithfully the life that I’ve been given – and I’ve seen that I do that best without social media.