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The Toxicity of Follow-Trains

If you're not a photographer, let me catch you up! Follow Trains are posts usually in Facebook groups where someone makes a post that invites other photographers/group members to post a link to their Instagram. The idea is that other members will then follows a handful of those people in the comments while also adding their Instagram link or handle to the comments.

While this is all fun, is it really helpful? We get a short, very finite boost. Not even for a day, mere hours. You may be able to make a post, a reel or dm all the new followers to spark a tiny upward trend in your engagement. But for what? More than likely only one out of fifty would be someone who might become a client one day. Is this truly fruitful?

Even more so, should you as a photographer be following all these other photographers? There are three prominent negative affects this could have on you and in turn your business.

One: Your feed is full of other professionals' photographs, their style, how they choose to do things etc. This can open up the door for constant thoughts of self-doubt. Questioning your editing style, the way your photograph, and how you serve your clients. While being open to other ideas, and having access to inspiration is a wonderful thing, there is a such thing as too much of a "good thing." All of this should be done in moderation. Yes, I've heard the "well you can just mute them." You sure can, but will you? Will you really pause what you're doing, go to their profile and select mute? Usually, no. (I'd also wonder if muting someone has an effect on their stats in the long run, especially if we did this on a mass scale to each other.)

Two: You're being fed MORE photographers in your suggested content. Soooo yeah, basically a repeat of number one. This can be inspiring content, but more often than not it gets to be suffocating, overwhelming and borderline toxic. As much as I LOVE wedding photography, I know it's not where my heart truly lies. Seeing an endless string of wedding content makes me doubt what I do. While it's wonderful to admire the sheer talent of wedding photographers, I have to internationally limit how much I look at that niche of photography. Otherwise, I'll fall into a rabbit hole of envy and self-doubt.

Three: The most important; you're NOT interacting with clients or potential clients. So, in turn you're kinda wasting those valuable moments of "social media time" on less than profitable interactions. Don't get me wrong, ABSOLUTELY support your fellow small business owners, but imagine the benefits of consistently interacting with "normal people" or non-photographers online. The people who are in your local area, those who travel and vacation to your town, or even your friends and family. Consider how many more individuals you personally will have more authentic connections with, people whose necks you're more likely to hug. People don't really meet influencers all the time, but we do pass people at the grocery store every day. You'll begin to notice that you remember their names, their kids, and what happened to them last week. You become truly invested in who they are and their lives instead of someone you're more likely to never meet. All of this knowledge when it comes to your clients and the interactions you have with them will make you a far better service provider.

I'll be the first to admit, I LOVE beautiful things. (I am a photographer after all...) I gush over all that inspires me, and certainly follow my fair share of photographers. As I move forward however, I want to strive to be more conscious of those I invest that follow in, and the likes I give. No, I won't avoid connecting with other professionals, because I know full well community is vital. Especially when you need an associate or second shooter. There isn't much of a need to follow and be connected to 30 California photographers as a Florida photographer though. If you're a wedding photographer, do you really need to follow 15 different birth photographers? The exception of course would be you know each and every one of them personally and you're fully invested in watching them succeed. Aside from that, one to three that truly inspire you with their content should suffice. (Just think, if you followed, 1-3 photographers of every niche... that's A LOT of photographers!)

My goal with this is to simply encourage a deeper level of connection with our clients. Recognizing we may not be fostering that with our ongoing love affair with follow-trains.

Maybe a good rule of thumb would be BFFL, Best Friends, Fellow Togs, Family and Likely Clients. (Or come up with your own follow parameters!)

Follow with wisdom my friends!

Much Love + God Bless

PS- See that number over there... I've been working on cutting it back for days now. It's REALLY hard! So pace yourself and focus on loving on your potential clients in the process! Also, did my cracked screen protector just push a nerve? My new 14 Pro is on order and should be here any day now. No need to worry!

Lady K Photography is based in Apalachicola Florida serving St. George Island and Cape San Blas. Kelsey specializes in Lifestyle Family Photography on the gulf coast.

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