supportive network

Case Study : Sara McConnell Photography

I’ve known Sara since before she started her photography business and watched as she fell naturally into the world of social media.  Since starting her business she has done amazing things to grow her business using social media… particularly with the use of her blog, Twitter and Facebook. And on a personal note, Sara is the one who took the stellar headshots of me features on this blog :)

About Sara’s business:

Sara McConnell Photography provides on-location and studio portrait sessions in Ottawa, Ontario, combining traditional portraiture with candid photojournalism.  I specialize in breastfeeding, child, couple, family, maternity, portrait, and newborn photography.

How actively involved are you in social media to promote your business?

Since I went into business in November 2010 I have actively used different social media channels to promote my business.  When I first got involved in social media in the spring of 2010 it was with the intent of connecting with other parents and bloggers in the Ottawa community; at the time, I wasn’t planning to go into business for myself.  When I launched my company last year I found an incredibly supportive network of people through Twitter and Facebook who were actively involved in sharing the news of my business venture.

On a daily basis I use my business blog, Facebook, and Twitter to interact with different communities of people around Ottawa.  On my blog I share images from sessions, promotions or contests, as well as posts (‘Around Town’) about places I’ve visited in Ottawa with my family.  Facebook has been a great way to quickly and easily share sneak peeks from recent sessions as well as solicit feedback from people about favourite places to take pictures, favourite props etc.  I also have a personal project, 365:Brothers, where I take a photo of my two boys together everyday for a year. I’ve been posting these images on Facebook and I love hearing from others about which of the photos are their favourites.

What has been the most successful tool in getting you more exposure or clients?

I’ve had equal success with my blog, Facebook, and Twitter when it comes to connecting with clients.  Clients will often forward the blog post link from the session sneak peak to friends and family and I often receive emails 24-48 hours after a post has gone live from individuals interested in booking sessions.  Clients whose images have been posted on Facebook often share the picture with others and enquiries about sessions often start with “A friend on Facebook…”.  What has surprised me the most is the number of people who have contacted me through Twitter about my services.  Over the course of the day I will tweet anywhere from 2-5 links or comments specific to my business but my account is mainly used for personal purposes and the majority of people who contact me have interacted with me related to some other topic (parenting, running etc) and not photography.

What would you tell other business owners about the value of using social media for their business?

Being an entrepreneur and working from home can be an isolating experience but thanks to the connections I’ve made through Twitter and Facebook I have a support system of other Ottawa-based entrepreneurs.  I have working relationships with several Ottawa businesses, which we cross promote using different social media channels, and I also have a support system that I can turn to when I’m faced with a challenge.

Sara has a contest (closes September 15) where you could win a Fall mini-session and also has a special promotion for her Fall mini-sessions.  If you’re looking for some great Fall/Holiday shots and you’re in the Ottawa area, I definitely recommend you check her out!

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