Stop Failing at Social Media Branding With Your Small Business - Topher Gentry Photography

Stop Failing at Social Media Branding With Your Small Business

By: Topher Gentry

As a small business owner, do you feel like you can never get the edge on bigger companies when it comes to social media? Maybe you even tried using Facebook or Instagram ads and seen little to zero return? You might’ve started to think that what you’re doing isn’t interesting to anybody. Maybe even giving up on social media altogether.. Well.. Get your head out of the dump. You have 2 things going for you. 1. You aren’t alone. 2. You can fix it. All it is going to take is an open mind and willingness to put in the work. You have some catching up to do.

One of the biggest differences on social media between big and small businesses is the content they provide their customers and potential customers. To dive a little deeper.. The quality of content is not at all on the same level. Most small business are stuck in the mindset that they need to constantly promote their products or deals on their products when that is only pushing people away from using them and their products. They are trying to use social media like an add in the local paper and even replace that add in the paper. Unfortunately, that will never work.

Social media is a whole different marketing tool. It is used to show your customers and potential customers that you are real. In every sense of the word. Real in that you aren’t a scam. Real in that you actually exist. And real in the fact that you have morals, standards and a soul. Customers are subjected to thousands of advertisements a day whether it be billboards, TV, Movies or all over social media. The human brain will only actually loosely focus in on maybe 100 of them. When your content is just a revolving sales add that you made in Microsoft word.. It isn’t likely to be one they are going to focus on.

Try to think of social media as a portal. On your end of this portal is your business and everything involved with it. Sales, employees, manufacturing, you, etc.. For the sake of conversation, let’s say that the other end of this portal is in the middle of Time Square in NY. Although, even Time Square with the crazy amount of people in it at all times is only a pin prick compared to the reach you actually have with social media.. Work with me here. So anybody in Time Square can walk up and stick their head in this portal and see what you are doing at any time of the day. Now, if you just have a poster up with sales info blocking their view into your store, what do you think they are going to do? If you said something to the effect of “move to the next portal”.. You are correct! They are in Time Square! There are literally sales posters, billboards, signs and screens surrounding them at every turn. They don’t need to look into your portal to find another one. They need to have their attention grabbed for more than a half second. Make them take a second glance. Be interesting.

There is a really easy way to be interesting and you don’t need to dress like Russell Westbrook to be it… Be you. Not the you that you think people want to see.. Be the person and company you are when you think nobody is watching. Now there is a downside for anybody who isn’t being authentic of course. This isn’t intended for them so it doesn’t matter. For those of you who are authentic and have nothing to hide.. Social media should be your new best friend.

There are a lot of things that go into being successful on social media. One of the factors that I find almost the most important is authenticity. If you bs people.. You bay be interesting but they will find out you’re a fraud and tell other people. Not good for the long term.. If you provide a legit product or service, are completely transparent about your operation and can prove its authenticity.. You will consistently win customers who tell other potential customers to work with you. That is called building brand equity. I could go off on this subject all on its own. For now, I will answer the question that I see burning in your brain…

How do I prove it?

Show people you are legit. People aren’t going to see your company logo and know everything that goes into making your product. They won’t know by looking at your sales ad, what sets you apart from your competitor. They aren’t going to see how awesome your establishment is, or how friendly your staff is when all they see is terrible to sub-par cell phone photos from your customers and staff. And unless you have a media department, you need to hire professionals to document what it is you do. I don’t mean your financials or private information. I mean document your day to day operations, get candid photos of behind the scenes action, get video interviews of you and your staff explaining what you do and what sets you apart. Document things you do for your community. Show yourself off and continue to do it. This is how you prove it on social media. This is how you stay relevant. This is how you stay authentic and generate constant, quality content that people will engage with you on. Once you do that, you gain people's trust. Once you have their trust, you have loyalty. With true loyalty, it doesn’t matter if you are selling grasshoppers or garden tools.. Your customers will buy from you.

We live in a world where the walls of our businesses are being built with glass. Those still using brick will soon be obsolete. In other words… You've gotta get with the times if you are gonna survive. Big business or small.. outwardly showing your authenticity is key. You are interesting, you are unique. Let that be what sets you apart from your competitors.

And remember.... 

You can't spell photography without,



Any small businesses on the west coast wanting a consultation for social media photography can email me at If you are anywhere else and would just like help in hiring a photographer, please feel free to email me as well. I would be glad to help.

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