Updated: Feb 9, 2020
No-one knows your business like you do. You spend hours and hours at it and you understand the workings inside and out. You know it intimately. That can sometimes make it difficult to see things from the perspective of someone who has never been to your business or bought one of your products.
When someone finds out about a new place, a new restaurant, a new service or product, some of the very first things they wonder are: 'What is it like inside? What does the place look like? What goes on in there? Do others go, or do other people like this product? These days, one of the very first things to find out the answers to these questions is to look online and try and find photos.
Good photography and a visual marketing strategy can serve as the differentiator between your business and the competition. It can be the reason people order a specific dish, buy a certain product, or decide to frequent your establishment in the first place. And, it can definitely be the reason people continue coming or buying from you or why they feel like part of your community.
Photography plays a vital role in marketing and promoting any business these days, especially online. There is definitely a time and place for professional photography. A really good photographer can tell your story in stunning images that will stand out and show the very best aspects of your business or products. These are the photos that you want as the face of your business, on your website, peppered through your Instagram feed, on print media and in email marketing.
As someone who does this for a living, I’m not trying to talk my way out of a job. But, there is also a lot that can be done and documented with a smart phone camera that will tell the day to day, moment to moment stories inside your business. There are so many little things, little moments, throughout the day inside every business, that could be documented and leveraged in marketing strategies and to continually create the brand or image that you convey to the public. And there won’t always be a professional photographer around to take every single shot that may present itself. These images are key to creating your story and offering it to the public.
You can always hire a photographer to come in for a day and take a bunch of shots that can be used for several weeks or months. And, one who does visual marketing would be even more effective. But, here are just a few things that you can begin to think about taking photos of on your own to create and maintain your business story:
1). Take photos of yourself with vendors, colleagues, at business meetings, etc…
You meet all sorts of people throughout the day that, again, might be just a day in the life for you, but, could be an interesting tie bit for your clients and customers. Is there a favorite produce vendor that delivers organic veggies to your restaurant? What about a member of your staff that is particularly helpful? What about the sales person at the check out counter of the store that you frequent to buy supplies for your business? And, what about the supplies themselves? You’d be surprised at what people find interesting about you and your business.
2). Take photos of what makes your business or product special.
Does your restaurant offer organic grass fed beef? Do you make gluten-free baked goods? Do you offer coaching services for small business owners or offer mobile pet grooming? Niche these qualities down and find out why they are unique and how you can capture images that convey it.
3). Get your clients or customers involved.
This one is key and can be very successful for businesses with lots of staff, or who have a lot of people in and out on a daily basis, such as restaurant, grocery stores, gyms, and retail shops. Figure out creative ways to incentivize your clients and customers to take photos of your products and services, and have them share them on social media.
4). Get your staff involved.
Again, especially in businesses with a lot of staff and customers in and out, not everyone is going to be there for every single cool or interesting thing that happens during the course of a day. Speak to your staff and encourage them to take photos of certain things so that you are regularly memorializing fun moments that happen in your business.
Again, if you aren’t sure about where to begin, you can always have someone to come in and help you coordinate a visual marketing strategy and give you a jump start. Creating an ongoing visual marketing strategy and making in a priority can be a game changer for your business. And, someone who specializes in visual marketing can definitely help create a cohesive message with the images they create for you. But, there is a lot that can be done on a daily basis on your own and once you start to see those things and take photos of them, you'll be well on your way!
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