In this instalment of A Journey to Camera Confidence I want to explore how we can feel more confident showing up and being our authentic selves on social media. Perhaps you’ve just had a personal brand shoot and you want to start using your images to tell your audience a bit more about you, to introduce yourself and share your story. Or perhaps you want to start using social media more effectively for your business but don’t know where to start.
Social media is a great asset when it comes to marketing your business. Used correctly it can help you grow, raising your brand awareness and connecting you with your ideal clients. We all want to buy from and work with people we know, like and trust. And social media is a great tool to tell your story and tell potential clients who you are. Allowing them to get to know you, the face behind your business. But, much like getting in front of the camera, putting yourself out there and showing up as yourself on social media can be scary and overwhelming.
Perhaps you don’t know what to share. Maybe you lack confidence and think ‘who want’s to hear about me?’ Or maybe you worry what people might think ‘what if people don’t like me?’ and ‘what if I get negative comments?’ It’s also easy to look at other posts, the ones with the perfect images and perfect lifestyles and feel like you come up short.
Showing up as ourselves online can make us feel vulnerable, we are sharing information about ourselves, our passions and interests, our personalities, what makes us tick, why we do what we do. It’s personal. And that can be scary. But on the flip side it has the power to connect us with likeminded people, we can find community, make friends, help others and grow our business! And that’s pretty amazing!
So how can we feel confident showing up on social media? And how do we reach that positive side where we find a great community, connect with our ideal clients and help our businesses grow? I chatted to social media marketing specialist and owner of Little Crow Marketing Sophie Mitchell to get her expert advice….
Tell me about what you do and how you help your clients
I’m Sophie and I work with small women-run businesses and solopreneurs to get comfortable and visible on social media to make their businesses soar. I do this through a range of services, mostly social media management, 1:1 support, courses and resources. I love my job. I get to work with some incredible women, with businesses that make a difference in the world. I get to work the hours that are right for me and my life and do what I’m really passionate about. A revolution is coming in the form of women building their own empires, usually with a child in tow – it’s incredible and I love being part of that wave of change. More and more women are creating the lives they want and doing what they love, it’s a huge honour to help them with that.
Why is it so important to show you, the face behind your business when marketing your business?
People buy from people, it really is as simple as that. Small businesses are very different from large corporations. Most of us have to purchase our food from a supermarket chain. We have to spend money with monoliths like Amazon because they hold such a large place in the market – if we can’t find a product in a local store, no doubt it’ll be there online and with next day delivery too! Small business is different though. It’s an active choice to spend money with us, and there are many businesses like ours who serve the exact same consumers. Our face, our person – our passion and what we stand for is what makes us stand out from our competitors. Consumers can’t learn that without seeing us, the individual behind the business who does a happy dance whenever we make a sale.
Why do posts that show you perform better?
Relatability. We’re very accustomed to seeing professional, almost ‘disconnected’ campaigns both online and in the real world. They are something we glance by because they’re everywhere. But seeing something personal, even if it’s a grainy, blurry photo, helps the audience to resonate. To remember that it’s a single, unique person behind that social media account. Someone who spends hours and hours doing everything they can to make their business a success. It brings out the cheerleader in us. We like to see the ‘real’. In a world of filters, half truths and Instagram lifestyles, it’s refreshing to see the whole picture without a slant on it.
There can often be a lot of pressure to look a certain way or have a certain lifestyle on social media, how do we avoid this?
It can be very hard, especially for women I think. Not only do we have magazines that photoshop already slim women to look thinner, but with social media many of us are doing it to ourselves. It’s a lifetime of conditioning that needs undoing – and that’s not a quick job. But one aspect of that is in curating your algorithm. Unfollow those accounts that make you feel bad about yourself. Block people who spout hateful rhetoric and advise you to starve yourself. Actively seek out good influences whether that be plus-size influencers, motivational speakers, or even just really good friends.
It’s something you have to put work in to achieve, it doesn’t happen automatically, but I’ve worked hard to curate my feeds so that they’re filled with positivity. My feeds are filled with impressive business women just like me, educational content, inspiring news about good things happening in the world for the environment, children etc. And remember to not live online! We all need to spend time off screens in the real world, every single day.
Social media can often seem overwhelming and scary. What are your tips to make it work for you?
Firstly, know that you can take it step by step. Whilst a strong marketing strategy will have many different avenues to promote the business, you can start out with just one social media account. Pick a platform you already know, one you feel comfortable with. You don’t have to dive right into recording TikToks on a daily basis. Seek out people like you – Facebook holds some wonderful groups for small business owners, where you can connect, support and meet others in a similar position to yours (including mine – a little shameless promo from me). Start small and grow from there. I’m a big advocate of not pushing people straight out of their comfort zones, but slowly expanding that comfort zone.
Secondly, there’s a lot of research out there that will help you know where to look for your ideal clients – each social media platform draws in a different audience based on what the platform offers, and consider what your job is. If you’re looking to connect with the corporate world then LinkedIn is ideal. If you’re looking to connect with parents of small children then Facebook is a great place to start. If you’re a photographer you probably want to consider Instagram as it is image focused.
What tips would you give someone who wants to grow their confidence showing up online?
You have to try. You’ve got to start somewhere. This is something I work on with my community – each Tuesday we are open for people to practise going live, so that they can give it a go in a safe space, with the knowledge that they can turn it off anytime. Your comfort zone may be tiny, but you have to grow it in some way, whether that’s by sharing a selfie even though you’re scared to, or by making sure you’re as in control as possible before you go live. Figure out what will make the process less scary and control the factors that you’re able to, it will minimise the overwhelm. If you feel more confident wearing makeup then do it! If you’re going to be less panicked by picking out good lighting and sitting in a comfortable chair then that’s what you should do. Once you begin, that comfort zone will expand and one day you’ll look back and wonder why it was so scary before.
What are the positive sides of social media?
So many! Oh my gosh, social media can be such a force for good. Keep in mind that algorithms pay attention to what you interact with so if you engage with negative posts, even if you’re calling them out for being negative – the algorithm will show you more like it. So as I mentioned earlier, work on curating your feed to be positive and full of people you actually like to see.
But social media can be incredible. It allows you to connect with people all over the world. It can be a source of learning, of positivity. One of my most favourite memories of lockdown was a series of TikToks where a man who played piano discovered that his nextdoor neighbour, who he never saw, also played. They would play together through the wall and he recorded it for everyone to watch. It was beautiful. I’ve seen innovation and amazing kindness come from social media. Of people supporting one another and lifting each other up. It’s all there, you just have to stop paying attention to the negative in order to see it.
How do you handle any negative aspects or comments?
I mean, firstly, not to be blunt but it comes with the territory and you have to develop a thick skin. You just have to. No matter what business you’re in, there are going to be trolls or nasty people. It’s an unfortunate fact of life. They’re not the majority though! Most people are lovely and supportive, and most of the rest will just ignore you.
Secondly, you’re never going to please everyone. You’re not everyone’s cup of tea. We all have different tastes and life experiences and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Thirdly, if you see anyone being rude or abusive to you – block them! You don’t need to make space for people like that in your online space. You wouldn’t tolerate someone coming to your house to yell at you, it’s not different online. Remind yourself that it’s more of a reflection on them than you, and do your best to move on. For every negative comment there will be a whole lot more positive.
Sophie is the owner of Little Crow Marketing. Supporting women in business, helping them to save time and grow their audience through social media management, coaching and copywriting. Emulating the symbol of the crow through work, providing clients with intelligent marketing strategies full of creative flair. With a passion for making the work fit around your needs, flexible in services & work practises so that you are getting exactly what you need to make the most of your business. Sophie’s specialty is helping women in business to save time & grow their audience through building a marketing strategy that’s easy to maintain.