Even though marketing is what my degree is in, I’ll be honest: I haven’t gotten it all figured out. Especially since digital marketing is constantly evolving and the algorithms are constantly changing, and the various successful entrepreneurial women that I follow all do something totally different than each other. One only posts professional photos of herself, one only posts iphone selfies, another posts funny shit her kids say and do, another only posts her work and nothing personal at all.
Over the last few weeks and months, I’ve felt like a house divided. On one hand, I want to share personal stuff with you guys both here on my blog and on social media. BUT! On the other hand? I think my message has gotten lost along the way. I’ve let myself forget that it’s okay to not be spot-on, 100% of the time. It’s a LOT of pressure to be curated and perfect all the time, don’t you think?
Maybe I’m the only entrepreneur who struggles with social media and marketing – but I doubt it. I am sure those successful women I’m following feel like they’re wondering blind in the desert sometimes, too.
It’s a lot of pressure for me to ride the fine line between being personal and professional. I have done the research and watched the educational videos and listened to the podcasts and you know what I discovered? There’s no right answer on how to be successful on social media, particularly on Instagram.
I’ve got a little bit of self-love, encouragement and empowerment, some parenting fun, love stories, my family, and wedding photos.
And honestly – that was what my 2019 was all about, so this grid makes total sense to me. I struggled with what to post, I obsessed with my feed and making it look professional while being personal, but not having every single photo be taken with my ‘big camera.’ I wanted to live in the moments with my kids and Randy.
But with how INTENTIONAL I am planning 2020 to be, I realized I need to have goals very specific for business and for personal.
The truth is, I have a brand and a business. And, while I am a BIG believer in personal marketing, especially for solo entrepreneurs like myself, I have realized that I can’t be everything to everyone all in one place.
At the beginning of 2019, I actually deactivated my personal account because I thought it was silly to have both a personal and a professional account. So I started sharing a mix of personal, professional, iphone, Nikon, in the moment and also curated work stuff in one place.
But you know what I realized? My engagement was all over the dang place. And why is that?
My photography clients might not care about my adventure down to the beach to hunt for shark teeth with the kids. My childhood friends might not care about the incredible wedding I shot last weekend. Or, my church friends might not care that I also sell Color Street. And my MLM customers might not care about the incredibly cute family I spent the morning with, photographing them at the beach yesterday.
And then I take a look at people like Rachel Hollis. Rach has a zillion followers and is officially a Target brand now (YASSS QUEEN!), but she doesn’t do everything all in one place. She has her personal account and then she has her business accounts for her work (Start Today, Rise Conference, etc.). Or take a look at Jenna Kutcher – Jenna has her main account that she’s had for forever, but, she also has a business account for her Goal Digger Podcast.
Now, I’m not saying I’m the next Rachel Hollis or Jenna Kutcher (although damn, how cool would that be?!), but I am saying that they have a clear marketing strategy when it comes to separating the brand from the person behind it. Inviting people in to their lives and then being like BAM, by the way – have you checked this other stuff out?
My one regret? I wish Instagram could let me backdate posts, so I can take all of the crazy personal stuff I shared this past year and re-upload on my personal account. I went through and starting archiving a lot of stuff and then I realized that the people who have stood by me the last year, they were there for that. Granted, a lot of the photos got like half a percentage of engagement rate, but hey, it’s okay. Onward and upward, right?
I went ahead and updated my Instagram to reflect my business name: Ashley Durham Photography.
And right now, my personal account is @xoAshDurham … but once the 2 week username waiting period is over, I’ll be changing it to xoashdurham. Instagram holds usernames unavailable for 2 weeks once they’ve been changed, even though they’re both my accounts. But whatever. Haha! I’ll come back and add a screenshot to this blog once that’s official.
Here are some questions you have to ask yourself:
Remember: what works for me and my marketing plan. and business might not work for you or your marketing plan and business. Do what feels right FOR YOU.
Cheers friends, and happy new year!!