Ahead of our Social Media for Florists workshop on October 20th, we’ve been thinking hard about Comparison Syndrome. It’s a popular subject that comes up all the time at our workshops. So, we thought we’d share some of our thoughts with you. And it gives me great pleasure today to feature this guest post by my workshop co-host, Fiona, all about the subject…
If you’ve listened to my interview with Monica Lee for Smart Creative Women, you’ll know that I very deliberately wrote my book, How to Style your Brand, before I started blogging again. This was partly to keep my time free, but mostly because I knew that once I started raising my head above the social media parapet the unhealthy comparisons with others, the self doubts and the ‘who do I think I am to be doing this’ type of thoughts would creep in.
Don’t get me wrong. Social media is an amazing, incredible tool that’s almost totally free to use. It opens up a world of possibilities: clients from afar, workshops, demonstrations and talks both in the UK and overseas not to mention book deals, consultancy work and, perhaps most importantly of all, a sense of community and feeling of support that can be difficult for those of us that work alone from a shop, studio or kitchen table.
Instagram in particular, has been picked up by florists, brides and creatives alike as a place to record your visual diary, showcase your work and gain inspiration. It’s a really important part of marketing your business and one that can gain you real traction in the marketplace.
It’s hard to imagine now, but twenty years ago, to succeed as a florist you needed to have a prominent shop on a prominent high street (usually with an eye-watering rent to match). You needed to place expensive advertisements and invest heavily in PR. Now, no-one is saying that there isn’t still a place for these things today, but isn’t it lovely to know that you can make a huge impact by using social media without an enormous investment?
Social media makes for a really level playing field, and that creates some really exciting opportunities.
There are some great Instagram accounts by top florists (McQueens, Wild at Heart and Jeff Leatham, I’m looking at you!) But equally, there are countless examples of florists in less high profile areas of the country, often working from a studio in their garden, who are gaining steady streams of work because of their Instagram account. For inspiration take a look at The Blue Carrot, Jo Flowers, The Garden Gate Flower Company, Firenza Floral Design and Simply by Arrangement (the latter two being super talented florists who’ve attended our workshop).
Social media gives you the opportunity to showcase your floral style and attract the sorts of clients who really value what you do best. It can help you focus on doing more of the work you love, and being paid properly for it too. What’s not to love?
Anyway, back to the comparison thing. When you start out on Instagram, or any social media tool, numbers don’t usually mean a great deal. You’re excited if someone other than your mum or your best friend ‘likes’ a photo. But then you start to get competitive. You take time to shoot a beautiful photo which doesn’t get more than a handful of likes, whilst others are gaining thousands of followers, seemingly without trying.
Using social media can be frustrating and demotivating as much as it is exciting and packed with opportunities. For us, the key is in having a clear focus, both in terms of your business and also in terms of what makes you unique. That’s the priceless moment. Once you understand why you’re different and what your current and prospective clients value about you, the comparisons, the doubts, the lack of confidence (mostly) fade into obscurity.
Rona & Fiona’s Top Tips for Fighting Comparison Syndrome & Making Instagram Work For You
- Start by getting focused on what’s your distinctive floral style and specific niche, why do clients visit and work with you, and what do they value about what you offer?
- Remind yourself what makes you unique and celebrate that. Understanding what makes you different from your competitors and the message you want to portray is utterly essential. And it’s something that we spend a lot of time working on in our Social Media for Florists workshop. There will always be someone more popular/ busy/successful than you. But if you can remember what makes you and your business special, you can cut through the noise.
- Edit to amplify. Cut down on what you share to only those images that reflect your creative style and the work you want to be known for. The same goes for the way you edit and add filters…keep it consistent.
- Be inspired, not envious. When browsing through Instagram, use it as a way to fuel your inspiration. And remember, people are generally only going to post the best parts of their day.
- Be realistic. Those with hundreds of thousands of followers don’t just put in ten minutes a day. They invest a lot of time in their activity…that’s right for their business, their lifestyle and their ambitions. But that doesn’t mean you need to do the same. How many clients do you really need? How many enquiries do you really want to generate? Keep it in perspective.
- Remember that you’re on your very own Instagram journey. Every single person on Instagram started with zero followers. It takes time to grow your numbers. So, don’t be disheartened by comparing yourself to someone who’s been using it since it first started five years ago.
- If you really need to compare, compare with yourself. Look at your own stats on Iconosquare and chart your progress. In the Analytics section, you can find out which was your most liked image and your most commented image, as well as check out your growth.
- When it all gets to much, take a break and rediscover your inspiration.
Hope you’ve found our tips useful. Are there any more that you’d like to add?
(Image : Rona Wheeldon | Flowerona)