Since starting my business on the 1st of March 2010 I was always preaching the personal marketing approach – being a brand with a face, using your own name for work, mixing personality into your business voice, showing who you are, not just what you do – and I have treated my social media channels as an extension of me as well as promoting my work here and there.
Over the years photographers would ask me the same question over and over again: Should I have one account for everything or a personal and business one?
I have always said I prefer one account where I can show my work but also who I am as a person. Because I have a lot to say. And I prefer meaningful things. And I was afraid of being shallow. And an account for ‘pretty pictures’ was not enough for me.
A month ago I created a separate Instagram account for my work.
- Separating life and work visually: online as well as offline
I have created a stricter separation between my personal life and my work. I think that is something that comes with time and age ( sorry to sound old ) – but when I started off everything was exciting and cool and I did not mind the blurred lines. Now I do. Very much so.
Since creating more boundaries in my life I felt the need to do it online as well . To have a visual representation of that separation. It was bothering me to see everything mixed together on my grid, much like it does in my life offline now. It’s healthier for me and I am happier this way.
- The one that shall not be named – the algorithm
On the old account, most of my 28k followers were invisible. The engagement was low. Here’s what happens: If you have a high number of followers but low engagement IG does not push your account, it basically ends up in the dark abyss of the internet.Which, for a personal account, I wouldn’t care. But since I was trying to reach potential clients with that account too, it was a problem.
For the algorithm, it’s better to have 2000 followers with an engagement of 300 per post, than 30k with an engagement of 300 per post.
Starting fresh was a perfect way to reach clients through Instagram: my engagement numbers now reflect the numbers of followers I have and Instagram doesn’t pull me down anymore.
- Reaching a target audience
Of course, since on my old, now personal account, I was showing a mix of things, the audience wasn’t very specific either. I am in a stage of my life where I want to reach a very specific kind of client – mostly based in the UK, since I want to tune down my traveling. So with the new account I am only following British people, in order to be shown to British accounts as well, I only use english location tags – it’s working by the way: I have gotten a lot more enquiries for UK weddings since starting this account – and guess where all of them say they found me.
- Less pressure, more freedom
I was feeling more and more pressure to post on my one account. If it was personal, it had to be ‘deep’ and meaningful – (my own standards, nobody’s fault) or someone would say: ‘I miss your long posts’ and if it was a ‘work’ post it had to match with the colours of the grid and then I did not know what to write because sometimes I ‘needed’ to post a work image but I wanted to write something totally unrelated to it, because I was struck by inspiration in that moment.
Not posting for 2 weeks was also not an option – because, again, I was trying to reach clients on that account.
So now, on my personal account, if i want to be silent, I can. it doesn’t matter. It’s just a personal account, I don’t have to post daily.
And on the business one I can just post wedding photo after wedding photo without thinking too hard about the captions or what the grid looks like. Bliss. I feel so light now, like a huge weight rolled off my heart.
Is there a right or wrong?
NO! Was I doing it wrong this whole time? Again, no. When it comes to running a business, there is always an answer for the moment. Things change very quickly and people change too!
The ‘system’ you are using should feel right to YOU. If it feels like you’re wearing a jumper that’s itching and driving you crazy – than it is probably time for some questions and a change.
Changing direction can be scary – but for me it’s the only way to do life and business.
And so, when the time is right, things are always going to be changing organically, growing and changing.