Authentic Self, Dream Business.
Starting in 2021, I started using TikTok, making videos for my small business. These videos related to everything photography ranging from jokes, tips and showing off some of my work. At the time of making my account, I didn’t think much of TikTok. I decided to give it a try and just have fun with it so that’s exactly what I did, making content when I felt like it and hopping on trends as they came along.
Fast forward just over a year after making my account and I’m laying in my hammock at a campground a few hours from home writing this post. Why am I at this campground? I’m preparing for an evening senior session on a beach from a client who found me on TikTok, as well as meeting two other clients from TikTok for their engagement session tomorrow evening at a beautiful park. Both are far from where I live, so why not make it a little trip and go camping since I needed somewhere to stay.
After growing my business in the area where I live, I was extremely proud of myself for reaching many of the surrounding areas. As someone who loves to travel and explore new places, I wanted to start reaching even further clients or even planning sessions that would take a bit of traveling so I could challenge myself with the change of scenery. Now I’m finally starting to do that through reaching new audiences on TikTok.
Did I ever expect to really book clients on TikTok? Honestly, no. I thought I could just have fun with it and post my TikToks to my Instagram so my audience there could get to know me better as a photographer. Plus I’d have more content to post. Instead after a year of posting on TikTok, I’m starting to have leads reach out to me and booking sessions from places I never thought of reaching.
Was I the most consistent with TikTok? Not always, but I didn’t give up and in the end, that’s what led me to where I am today. I enjoyed making videos and it led me to staying true to my authentic self and making enjoyable content for myself instead of forced content that made everything seem like a drag.
As a small business owner, staying authentic to yourself is the best thing you can do for yourself and your business. Being real, showing your personality and being the business owner you want to be instead of what you think you have to be attracts people to your business. Someone hardworking with a face to show behind the business. Someone who is passionate about doing what they do and takes the time to show that. At the end of the day, how are clients supposed to put their trust in your services if you can’t show those things?
Social media can be a hard place to do that. So my best advice for small business owners in the same position as me; utilize your free social media resources, but don’t force content. Find a platform you enjoy posting to. Stay true to yourself. Keeping it real and authentic will attract more of your dream clients and grow your business organically.
For more content, you can find me on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest @gabriellegenphotography!