Who are you? Ok, now who are you? You know that name you've decided to call yourself and now have x amount of people calling you that? How often have you stopped to think about how important your social media name — your brand — is? It's something that, many times, I myself have come to revamp, change the style of, market differently, and so on.
So what's your answer to the initial question? How often have you thought about the name you've given yourself on the many social media sites we as creatives have at our disposal? I know for a fact that I have easily gone through three to four different names for my brand and at least three different styles of posting on Instagram or Twitter before being satisfied with my results (which by no means are that of a "famous" photographer... yet).
It was in networking and just general conversation with my friends and peers in the industry that I began to take that Instagram name, that Twitter name, more seriously. Sure, at first it was just a name I decided to call myself and my "business" at the time, but over the years it became much more serious. It became what the modeling agencies and brands that I always wanted to work for would know me as.
So now what? Now I have some of the people I've always wanted to look at my name looking, and what do they see? Pictures of my food? Photos of a nice sunset I might have been around to catch? Yeah, that's pretty much what they saw. So why didn't I receive the attention I wanted when I posted some of my work when I was working so hard to promote myself and market my name — my brand? Well, I pretty much answered that about two sentences ago!
Think about this: If you went to a new denim brand's account and the first three to four lines on their Instagram feed was filled with random people at a bar hanging out, some photos of someone's cat or dog, and some pretty crappy pictures of slices of pizza at some beach somewhere in the world, would you be inclined to click on the link and look for and buy that pair of jeans? I didn't think so.
A prime example of this is a recent story of a shoot I had with an up-and-coming model who had just moved to New York City from Arizona. This girl was young, vibrant, and full of energy, ready to take on the mean streets of NYC and the cut-throat reality that is the fashion modeling industry. In our conversation before heading up to my roof for our shoot, she told me about her recent encounter with a well-known modeling agency here in New York. She told me about how it was going well and how they liked her look and all seemed to be okay until the conversation about her social media came up. My model is new to most of this, and her account is currently low in follower count while her images consist of mostly a few shots from her shoots, but mostly from her personal life: friends and family.
You see, the minute the agency representative took a look at her account, there was a different attitude towards her joining the agency. All of a sudden, having less than 1,000 followers and not showcasing much work on her account was a thing. She has not heard back from the agency yet and is currently seeking other options, all due to her account not being having 20,000 plus followers!
Now, was this the only reason? Probably not. Let's assume positive intent though, right? Regardless, it played a role. So had she had a different number on her followers listing, or a good set of three to four rows of solid work on her account, would the mood or attitude have shifted?
Personally, I think it would have, and that is the point of this article. The reality of it is, our social media name is as important as our interview skills for a job these days, and it's something we all as creative professionals have to take into consideration when we are going to these interviews or trying to get in contact with the brands/agencies we want to work with. So next time you think about posting a picture of your beer for the night on your one account where you also post your work, think twice. You never know who might be scrolling through your account.
By the way, allow me to introduce myself! I'm Matt — new Fstoppers.com staff writer, tech enthusiast, software trainer, and fashion/editorial photographer. I am beyond excited and honored to be considered an Fstoppers.com staff writer. I hope to bring you all more stories about real-world situations as well as cool things people in our industry are doing. I hope to be an integral part of the Fstoppers community! Check out my work on the social media links provided on my account and feel free to share your thoughts and your own accounts. I'd love to see everyone's work and meet/converse with you all.