Marketing yourself as a photographer can not only be time consuming but a drain on your creativity. The time that is scheduled for marketing could be going towards more sessions or creative projects. The benefits of having a team of brand ambassadors will get you booked months ahead and get you back behind the camera.
Beth Claire of Lost Highway Imaging has been utilizing brand ambassadors for her boudoir studio for years. Brand ambassadors act on behalf of you company to market your unique brand as well as being a testimonial to your work. Claire writes that the biggest tip is to chose carefully. Her program has been extremely successful because of her attention to the applicants on which will be the best representation of her studio. She first follows them on social media for two to three weeks. Are they active on many forms? Are they professional and courteous? Do they post regularly?
Claire gives preference to previous clients with the idea that these ladies already know her company well enough to promote. They understand your pricing structure, time frames, and the experience in order to promote without confusion. "Set the expectations very clearly from the beginning and make sure they know what they are getting in return," Claire writes. She is adamant about turning down anyone who inquires about anonymity, privacy, or wants to approve images before posting.
Claire brought on two ambassadors to promote the company. In return they will receive free sessions and images throughout the year. They also receive 50 percent off products along with brand apparel and rep cards. The bonus is the commissions they gain for referrals. You now also have new sessions with full model releases to promote your work. In the application process, potential ambassadors will send in images of themselves to help Claire chose different looks.
The workload for them includes moderating her private groups, assist at studio events, and accompany Claire on expos or bridal shows. The ladies she chooses will already believe in her mission and are not afraid to be public about it. If you use a brand ambassador for any genre, make sure they believe in what you are doing. Having an ambassador for boudoir with someone who is conservative will not be a fit, just as having someone for weddings who detests the idea of marriage will basically get you nowhere.
Ambassadors keep interaction up on your business pages and VIP groups. This serves multiple purposes for your company. First, it helps keep engagement in the group other than your words alone. Second, it creates conversation from real clients interacting with one another. The third and most beneficial in the world of Facebook is the interaction which in turn makes more people see the posts based on the algorithms. Many potential clients will book after seeing and hearing the testimonials of these ambassadors.
Claire also suggests choosing ambassadors that are the opposite of yourself. "I’m introverted so I choose extroverted ambassadors." This will help fill in the gaps of your own marketing struggles. This new team of ambassadors whether you chose one or multiple will serve to keep your interactions flowing even when you are not online.
All images with permission and courtesy of Beth Claire.