Running a small business is no easy task. It's messy and thrilling and terrifying all at the same time. But no matter what, it's definitely a journey worth taking. As a mom of two littles, I know the daily struggles, and I'm here to walk this journey with you. If you're ready to feel empowered, encouraged and on fire for the things you truly love, then you're in the right place. I'm Rebecca Rice, a pizza loving hot chocolate drinking family photographer and educator. And this is the business Journey podcast.
Hey, guys, welcome back to another episode of the business Journey podcast. I'm your host, Rebecca rice. And today we have a very special guest, we've got Caitlin workman with us today. And we're talking all about creating a personal connection on social media. I know that like there's all this talk of how to use social media to grow our businesses. But I'm under the belief that the best way to use it is to, you know, create this personal connection. So I thought that it was the perfect topic to be able to dive into with Caitlyn today. So hi, Caitlin. Welcome to the podcast.
Hi, Rebecca. It's so good to be on here. I'm Caitlin workman from southern West Virginia, right on the border of West Virginia in Virginia. I am a wedding photographer and a mom, I have a 10 year old daughter that we adopted and a little I say He's my baby. But really he's almost two. Yes, he's still a baby. But yeah, I am really passionate about this because I was a teacher and I had no idea. Anything about business or marketing or any of that stuff. And I just kind of started like sharing who I was. And I had no marketing budget. And that's how I built my business. And so I feel like it's a really great way just to kind of get people started. Yeah, so I'm excited to be here.
Yay. Yeah. And I feel like a lot of our listeners relate to that, that we don't have huge marketing budgets, and like, how can we do this thing organically and still get bookings? And, you know, I know for me social media, I have like a love hate relationship with social media, right? Because it's like, I invest all this energy. And I wonder if there's a return on it. And I'm a very, like, numbers driven person. And with social media, you just don't get that kind of data, like followers and likes, those are vanity metrics. And that doesn't equal revenue. So I have a hard time of like, okay, am I you know, am I seeing a return on all this energy I'm putting into social media, and it's just hard to quantify. And so I think that, you know, the conversation we're having today of how to kind of change our perspective into the goal being to create this personal connection, that that is going to help a lot of
listeners for sure. Right? It's a lot more than just what you post a lot of other things you can do. And I'm not a numbers person at all, but I can give you at least three specific examples of the names of clients who I know that this works for them.
Yeah. See, that's good to know that it's like, you know, not just working for you, for other people, too. Because at the end of the day, the goal is to get more bookings, right. We want to not just post for the sake of posting or for the sake of, you know, being consistent and air quotes, as all the experts say, but there's a bigger goal. And so I'd love to dive into some of that today. So tell me, Caitlin talking about creating a personal connection. What are some things that you know, maybe photographers get wrong, or some like mindsets that we need to switch up or, like, I guess some changes we should see within ourselves to be able to, like, have this mindset of the goal is to create the personal connection.
Okay, I feel like the first thing that people get wrong is trying to be something that you're not. Yeah, I, I have like a little jumpstart guide. And one of the things that it says is the biggest mistake that you can be is or make is just trying to be someone else. I would love to be the kind of person that says, I love European travels. And that's one of my things that I share. But I have a toddler and a 10 year old and I live three hours from an airport. So I love weekends at the beach with my two kids a lot more than I do European travels, you know. And so I think you just have to really look at what is unique about yourself and share really genuinely who you are, and not just what you think someone wants
you to be who that's so good because I feel like that's such an easy trap to fall into of like, what's the persona that I need to be putting on for somebody to want to follow me or to want to book me or interact with me or whatnot. And it's like, we don't need a persona like we are who we are and I think that when we can embrace that, then that's when really just magic happens because we're all so unique and we're all so different and you know That's people want to book us, for us. And I think that social media can be the perfect place to be able to, like, show people who we are right beyond the camera. Do you think it's important to like, post pictures of ourselves or like, talk about ourselves on our social media?
Yes. So first of all, I should have said this at the beginning, everyone has a different way of doing everything. And just because this works for me, you have to do what works best for you. I know that not everyone does things this way. But this is how I do it. If you go to my Instagram, you'll see my face a lot. Because people want to buy from people. I'm asking them to invest a lot into trust me on their most important day. And so they have to know who I am, who they're trusting and why they should trust me. So yes, I definitely think you should show your face. And I also think, especially in the wedding photography industry, it's so oversaturated. And it's really easy to just pull up 10 people's websites and 10 pictures, and they all look the same. And you have to set your self apart somehow. And so making sure that you put the person behind the business and just make it real, that makes a huge difference.
Yeah, so what would you say to the person that feels really uncomfortable, like putting their face on their stories, or even, you know, their headshot in their feed? Like, whether they're self conscious? Or they're just not sure if anybody cares? Like, what would you say to that person?
Um, first of all, you shouldn't be uncomfortable with who you are. But second of all, you just have to do it. Yeah. We own businesses. And not everything is easy. There's a lot of things that I do that I don't want to do. And as you do things, they get easier. So like the first time that I showed up on my stories, I was like sweating and hyperventilating. And I recorded my little story, probably 25 times. It wasn't even saying anything, like meaningful, but I did it. And now I get on there all the time and share all kinds of stuff. And it doesn't take any thought. So you just have to start and I promise it will get easier.
Yes, I can attest to that. Because I know that there was like a clear shift in my business where my good friend hope Taylor, she and I were talking about, you know, she has a very personal brand. And she has her face all over her feed. And at the time when we were having this conversation, maybe about, oh, gosh, I like all the years run together in my head. I think it's probably until now at this point, two years ago, but either way, we're having this conversation. And I was like, I don't have any pictures of myself on my feet, like none at all, none. And when I had to make a decision, because I always felt like uncomfortable posting about myself, because I was like, I don't want people to think I'm vain, right? I don't want people to think that it's just all about me and whatnot. But when it comes down to it, like we're business owners, and like you were saying, We're the face behind the camera, and if people are going to trust, you know, us to capture memories for them, whether it be for their wedding, or just in their family or whatnot. Like they need to know who it is that they're working with. And so that was a really like, pivotal moment for me when I was like, Okay, I'm going to show up, it's hard, but I'm gonna do it. Because even if it makes me uncomfortable, because that's how we grow right is by staying uncomfortable. And I saw a huge difference because people were starting to like, actually feel like they knew me, you know, how many times do you go to a session and clients are like, I feel like I know you even though it's the first time you're meeting in person, because they're seeing all of your stuff on social media. So I will tell you, just like I told I tell my four year old, almost five year old daughter, you can do hard things, right? That's something that I tell her all the time and the other day when she was getting out of the car. And she was really nervous because she just started at a school. And, you know, she had had a couple of rough days of just it was new, and she didn't know how to do things. And she was having a, you know, trouble asking for help. And the guides there gave her a lot of freedom and like weren't instructing her on things they were trying to, you know, foster her independence and whatnot. And she sat in the car before she got out one day, she took a deep breath, and she said, Okay, Mommy, I'm gonna go in, because I can do hard things. And I was like, wanting to just cry because I'm like, Yes, you can do hard things. And if she can get that as a four year old, like, how many of us as adults need to hear that, that sometimes we need to take a deep breath and say, Okay, I can do her things. I'm gonna just do it. Right. And I can't
tell you how many conversations I have with people who say like, I'll get new headshots once I lose 20 pounds, or I wish that I could show up but I never looked good enough or whatever. But that doesn't matter. You are who you are. And you have to just start showing up,
right? I feel like Done is better than perfect for sure in this space because
and it doesn't mean like show up and pictures of your sweatpants. Pull yourself together and look professional, but it doesn't have to be perfect. Right,
exactly. So what are some things that people can be posting about, like, you know, we're trying to foster trust, like no trust with our potential future clients, what are some things that people can be posting about? Because I think that's something that can be a hang up for a lot of people with social media is they're like, Okay, I have, you know, I post my pretty pictures. But Instagram is a lot more than pretty pictures now. Like, that's not going to get you by and so, you know, what can they post besides the pretty pictures, because I know when I early on was stuck in this trap of like, okay, so I post a picture and I post a blurb about the session. And like, that was that was the extent of my Instagram captions. And one day, I realized my caption doesn't have to have anything to do with the picture. And that's okay. But then it's like, okay, so what do I say? What are maybe some ideas that you can give us things that we can talk about?
Okay, first, just an example of why this is important. In the beginning, I was posting really personally. And then I started having like, really good content, like really beautiful pictures. And so I kind of transitioned to just posting the pretty pictures. And then one, my one day, my dad at dinner just said something about how he didn't even look at my Instagram, because it was just full of people he didn't know getting married. And I was like, if my own dad doesn't feel like he should continue following my journey on social media, like, What is everyone else doing? You know, like, maybe 10% of the people who are on my Instagram? Are clients, current clients, but the other 90% are people who have connections to future clients. So yes, where to start with that. I think it's good to find three to five things that are just things about yourself. So like, I have found that I like to share about traveling. And like I said, they're not European travels, it might be just like hiking at the park or just like driving to the beach or whatever. But people love seeing that. And that's something that connects with a lot of people. It can be something as simple as like coffee. And that doesn't mean just like, Oh, I love lattes, because everybody does, but like I genuinely love coffee. And so I share about that a lot. So I think start by just brainstorming like what are things that you like that you could share? That happens organically? So yeah, definitely start with your three, three to five things I also share about things like date nights, because our ideal client, like we're wedding photographers, so we want to connect with people who are getting married. So we love just sharing about date nights. So that that gives them ideas for date nights. And it shows them that we're real people, and we have a relationship outside of just wedding days. Sorry, I'm rambling. I've got so many ideas about what you
know. It's not rambling, for sure. It's, I mean, this is good stuff.
Yeah, another thing that we share about that has really made an impact is fostering just our fostering journey. And that was kind of the initial like, wow moment of what I realizing what I'm doing this working because I just started blogging about our foster journey, mostly just kind of like in a therapeutic way. Because it was really hard in the beginning. And so I would share stories of our fostering journey on my blog and on my Instagram stories. And that really connected with people. And it's given me an outlet, just to share more about foster care, because we're really passionate about that. But I also had brides who were telling me like that, that's why they connected with me, is because they respected those values in me. So just find what you're passionate about, and what you can share about.
I love that. Yeah, I have a friend that loves CrossFit. And yeah, if you're familiar. Yeah, not me, if you're familiar with the CrossFit community, I mean, it's like super tight knit. And so she gets brides literally because she does CrossFit. And she talks about going to CrossFit with her husband, and that's how they met. And so that's something that she shares about that people just connect to. And so like, for me, I don't like coffee. And so I can't post about coffee, but I do drink hot chocolate, like all year round. And so I'll post about drinking my hot chocolate when it's 80 degrees outside, and I don't care because I like hot chocolate. And so it's like, whatever your things are, I think those are all like, really, really good ideas. So can we talk a little bit about platforms to use? Because I know everybody has their own opinion of like, what platforms we should be being on and whatever? What's your opinion on platforms, like social media platforms? Do we have to be in all the places like, do we need to I do I need to be on tick tock like, what? Where should we spend our time to, you know, create the best personal connection?
I think this is a hard question. I maybe have different opinions than other people. Where I live, it's a very small town, and we're kind of behind the times and people are still on Facebook. And so I do still use Facebook for marketing and a lot of people don't anymore people in big cities, they're like, no one's on there. But here they are. So I think you have to just go where your client is, and do what you enjoy. I don't like tick tock. And I know people like is it. Natasha Coyle, is that her name? The real Yes, I know she loves it. She finds success but for me Thinking about making rules every day like gives me anxiety. And I just don't want to another time sucker. And I feel like when I get on Tik Tok, I end up just wasting time, it's not productive for me. So you just have to do what you enjoy. I love Instagram. And I know that my clients are on Instagram. So that's what I use. I also think you can recycle content. So don't feel like you have to create different content for every platform, like, I will post something on Instagram. And I will also share it to Facebook, and then also schedule it to Pinterest. And I'll also share that same information on my blog. So I think you have to be careful to make sure you're not just putting all of your eggs in one basket. But you don't have to completely like reinvent the wheel with every platform.
Yeah, that's so good. Yeah, our team, we use Instagram and Facebook, where like for our associate team for bookings, a lot of our clients are on Facebook, I don't know why they just are. And so we utilize Facebook a lot. But we don't spend a lot of time on like, we spent an okay amount of time, you know, on Instagram, but I would say the majority of their clients come from Facebook. But for me, like in my personal brand, I spent a lot of time on Instagram that most of my people are not on Facebook. And so it's like interesting how everybody has their own place. And yeah, I agree with you of just like, find where your clients are find what like serves you best. And, you know, if you're not into reels, do stories, you know, if right, if you can do reels, then do reels, the reach is great, but either way,
as long as your reels are intentional, yeah, people do rails just because they think that they should and their posts, that's another tangent, but just make sure that you're intentional, intentional with what you're doing.
I completely agree with that. And, you know, there are easy ways to like recycle content, that that stuff that my marketing director for my associate team has really done such a great job on this year is, you know, they'll have a blog post that's, you know, helpful tips for finding their location or something like that for families. And they will share it on Instagram, they'll share it on stories, they'll put it on Facebook, but then she'll also create a real about that blog post. So she'll find in training sound and like, use the same information that was from the blog post in the real. So we're not having,
you're working so hard to create that content. So make, like put it everywhere. Yes, put
it everywhere. And some people are like, well, aren't people going to be tired of seeing it in all the places? No, like, most of your people are not for one, they're not going to see it on every platform to they're not going to be seeing every post, like only about 4% of our followers actually see we post and so most people are not going to be seeing every post. So even if you you know, you talk about data every week, you're not going to people are not gonna get tired of it, because most people didn't see you talked about date night last week, you know, exactly. Yeah, the platforms are so huge. Awesome. So, Caitlin, can you give us some like practical tips of things that our listeners can do to kind of foster that personal connection on their social media?
Yes. Can I backtrack and just share examples really quick. I said that I was going to, and I don't want you guys to just think well, she's saying this, but does this actually work? So three examples of this. And I think it also has to go hand in hand with making connections in person to I don't think you can just hide behind your screen all the time. But one client Her name is Mackenzie we photographed her wedding this year. I absolutely love her complete ideal client and I just met her at an event. Like three or four years ago. She wasn't even dating anyone. And we swapped social medias, and then she followed my journey. She knows our kids. She knows our heart for foster care. She really connected with me personally, as I continue to share throughout the years. And then as soon as she got engaged, she well actually she FaceTime me before she got engaged and was like ready to book as soon as she got engaged. So it wasn't just like one post I shared that immediately booked that wedding, but I connected with her in person. And then she followed my consistent journey and saw who I was throughout the years. Another one Amanda She followed her journey in the very beginning with Sonya when I shared a lot of like struggles with her. And she in her group, like texts with her bridesmaids. They all knew my daughter's name. And they all knew the specific struggle that I'd had with her and thought she was hilarious. And I had met her like multiple years before it only met her in person twice and she connected with me and kept up with my journey. Another bride we met in a Facebook group and then she followed my journey really respected me and then eventually she booked so does work. I promise to Yes.
That's so cool knowing that like people that weren't even dating anybody like you made a pact on them that they're like this human has to be at my feet Get your wedding whenever that is. And you know, I think the same can be translated to families of like, you have families that sometimes they're just not ready to get photos done yet. But you know, at some point, they're going to whether it's you know, they get pregnant and have another baby or, you know, they just decide that it's time to update their photos that you like creating that connection and staying top of mind. Like, then we're going to be the ones that go to and that's, I think that's like the end goal with social media is like to stay top of mind to stay relatable. That yeah, you know, you want to post pretty pictures, but we want to be like, remember, like, memorable, right? How do we write be unique? And like, anybody that's listening, that's like, Well, I'm just not a unique person. I'm kind of bland. No, you're not, okay, everybody is unique in their own way, you have things that make you special, if you like, have a hard time coming up with that, like, talk to your closest friends and family and ask them like, what are some things that make me stand out to you? What are some interests that you think are interesting, because, you know, there are things that, you know, that I may think is like, boring, like, I like to crochet, like an old lady. And other people maybe like, Rebecca, that's, you know, are in my mind. I'm like, people think that's boring. But then other people think it's the coolest thing ever, because they didn't have a mother to teach them how to crochet, right? And so I literally, like go to like an old lady crochet circle once a month at my library. And there's a whole bunch of old ladies and me, just because I think it's fun. And so like, I've actually never shared that in social media, maybe I need to just to see if I connect with somebody on it. Yeah. But you know, it's like, find those things that, you know, we we get so used to being around ourselves. And that sounds funny, but we were around ourselves all the time, that we don't see the things that make us stand apart, and everybody has something and so like, that's my biggest encouragement, I think is to like, find your something because there is something that makes you stand apart and you know, really lean into that.
Yeah, so yeah, I'm, I'm a pretty generic person. Like, I have like, pretty generic target mom. But like, when I share our story of fostering, like, that's, that's weird that I started fostering a year into my marriage and ended up adopting her, you know, and that is something that's unique about me, even though there's a lot of things that are pretty generic, so everybody has something for sure. Okay. So you asked what they can do practically, yes. Okay, so I have three takeaways for everybody listening to do right now. So if you were not listening, start listening, get a pen out, first of all, show up in your stories authentically. So Instagram stories are a really great way to connect with people. They only last for what 24 hours. Is that right? Yeah, 24 hours, you don't, they don't have to be curated. So start showing up on your stories. You don't have to share everything about your life. There's a lot of things that I choose not to share on social media, you can share really genuinely, without sharing everything. But think about what you want to share and just start getting on your stories. Even if you do it once a week. And you say okay, I'm at on Tuesdays at 10 o'clock, I'm going to pull myself together, and I'm going to get on my stories, and then you just start doing it. So your first thing is to show up on your stories authentically, even though it's scary, even if you're sweating. Second, I didn't talk about this at all. But I'm still going to give you this because it's important. Make a list of people that you want to connect with in the industry. So as a wedding photographer, I use social media to connect with other wedding vendors. So pick people that you want to connect with. If you're a family photographer, it could be other family photographers, it could be a boutique owner that has outfits that you maybe want to collaborate with for a clothing closet. Just pick a list of vendors that you want to connect with and start engaging with them. So follow them, support them, share their posts on your story, start encouraging them and build those connections. That way, I could do a whole nother whole nother talk on connecting with vendors that way. But third, create a piece of content that provides value. Because you want to make sure that you are giving value to your audience so that they can connect with you and so that they come back to you for more valuable content instead of just selling to them all the time.
Those are awesome, awesome tips. And I think that the third one that you mentioned, of like creating valuable content is something that people often overlook. And so an easy way to do this is like make a list of frequently asked questions like what are the questions that your families ask a lot, you know, once for us is like, can I bring my dog to a session? And so you make a blog post about every single frequently asked question and so that you have them and you can recycle them at any time like
we then recycle them into a real and into an Instagram post and into lettering. Content yes
into literally everything and then, you know, six months from now when it's time for fall, you know, fall minis or whatever. And the same people are asking Can I bring my dog to my session? Do Do it again, like post about it again, because it's that content is still valuable. And we want to make sure that you know, we're putting it out there in front of people and you can really just repackage it. You know what I mean? One post is like, hey, check out my blog about this. And then I went put bullet points of like, tips for photo session with your dog or whatever. So I feel like there's a lot of different like ways we could do that. But start with FAQs. What are the questions you're always getting and make, you know, blog posts, Instagram posts, whatever about those topics? And I I saw somebody or somebody had mentioned this tip I don't even remember where we were having this conversation, but they they were saying that on Instagram, you can have like, a special hashtag for FAQs that you know if people keep asking about you know dogs bring their dog to a session you can have a hashtag for us it would be like our RP Rebecca rice photography, hashtags are RP dogs, right? So anytime somebody asks a question about if they can bring their dog to their session, I can literally grab the link to that hashtag R RP dogs and be like, I have all these Instagram posts about dogs go check it out.
That's a great idea. Yeah, so
somebody gave me that I literally probably like last week that I was talking to them I'm like, I'm gonna do that that's you can do about any topic or any location or whatever. So anyways, I feel like we go on and on and about social media but this has been super super helpful Caitlin and definitely like take those three steps that she gave and try start with one right start with one thing you have to just start yes that you can do this week because Done is better than perfect. And you know progress over perfection that that's something that the cultivate what matters team says a lot. And I just love it because it's true. Like the goal here is to make progress. You're not going to be perfect this the first time you show up on social media, you know, in this new way, and that's okay. At least you did it. You can do things. Awesome. While it Caitlin, can you tell everybody where they can find you if they would like to follow along your journey? Or learn more from you? Where can they find you?
Obviously, Instagram, Instagram, my favorite. It's just Caitlyn workman photography. On Instagram, Facebook, that's my website. Also, it's que te LYNWOR que ma N perfect. I know there's like 500 ways to spell Caitlin.
Well, all of that for you guys in the show notes so that you can go follow along. And just, you know, even watch like how Caitlyn applies these things on her Instagram, like go creep through her story. If
I'm telling the truth.
You should walk the walk, guys, I promise. So all super helpful things. And yeah, thank you so much just for coming on and sharing just your insight on all this. I know that this is gonna be super helpful for our listeners. Yeah, thanks for having me, of course. Alright guys, we're gonna go ahead and close out for today. Hopefully I say Hopefully it was helpful by No, I know this is helpful for you. So take what we said apply it and we'll see you back next week for another episode. Bye guys.