Would you ever step away from Instagram for your business?

Would you ever step away from Instagram/Facebook for your business?

I'm so interested to see that LUSH UK have announced they are ‘bidding farewell to some of their social channels’. This is a bold step for any company to take (one I’m sure we all consider from time to time!).

For Lush, a global company with hundreds of physical stores, a well known and loved brand (and importantly, one that was successful well before the social media age), this action will have different implications for their business than it would for solo-preneurs, less established, or digital brands.

Lush have always been advocates ‘against animal cruelty’, and have built their success, brand and community around strong ethical values (and the delightful/sometimes overpowering bath-bomb-waft that draws you in from down the street).

To see them step away from their huge social channels in the UK and use a hashtag instead, is a move that on the one hand seems counterintuitive (less people will find out about their products, positive ethical influence, education and inspiration), but at the same time feels quite fitting as leaders in the industry of ethical cosmetics and general self-care. (Because we all know how questionable and damaging the social media world can be for us when it comes to the lack of genuine human connection, comparisonitis, rampant consumerism, polarisation of views etc etc).

Lush’s move has the essence of ‘setting an example’ to other brands and to their customers; to move away from reliance on a brand, on social media, on paying to reach your followers and the tiresome struggle with algorithms, and to step back out into the physical world, as people running a company and their shops.

I know they won’t have any issues with their customers continuing to promote their products through their own personal social channels, so it’s not like Lush are going to disappear from the internet (and they will keep the local Lush store accounts), but to take away their UK IG ‘home’ feels like a step backwards when it comes to having a complete online presence and a space for your customers to engage and interact.

Yes, you can go into the physical stores, visit the online shop, the local IG accounts, but there won’t be a main hub for UK customers. I mean, just to be clear, I’m not personally worried about this as occasional customer who doesn't engage with their social anyway. I’m interested in this as a business and marketing decision and what we are seeing here. Perhaps this move is the brands genuine expression of integrity, and is not about reducing costs or keeping up with the demands that having a huge online platform presents.

My thoughts are… by taking away your online platform you also take away the community you created by establishing it in the first place. You take away the convenience that social provides for people to access your products and your brand story. Technology in general is only advancing and gaining deeper roots in our minds and cultures. By removing yourself from an online platform, you don’t solve the problems that exist within it or because of it.

If you really want to change the way people (your customers specifically) use social media to be healthier and more personal as a brand, then keep being honest, keep using it consciously and with kindness, allow space for real conversation and community, set up more in-person events for your customers/clients etc. If you don’t want to pay to appear in newsfeeds, don’t pay, and find other ways to genuinely connect and share. By simply disappearing, you don’t make the issues go away.

I am posting about this because I find it an interesting and thought provoking decision for a business of this kind to make and am curious about it, and what we can learn from it. I totally feel that the decisions any company makes are theirs to make, and no one can say what is right for another, I respect Lush’s decision.

Here’s their full post on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bv_F76GFOZw/

What do you think about this move? Would you ever step away from your IG? Have you done it? What difference did it make?

Listen in: Authentic branding on the NursePreneur Podcast with me!

Hey hey! I hope you're having a lovely week so far. I'm just back from a few days visiting some of my family in west Wales which was super lovely :) I don't have ANY phone pics to show for the long weekend - it's so unusual for me, but I think it's good for me to leave my phone in my bag sometimes and let go of capturing everything, all the time ya know!

Today I'm sharing a fab podcast episode with you I was thrilled to do with one of my dear clients, Catie Harris.

Catie and I worked together on her personal branding photography about three years ago in Philadelphia (see the blog post here) - it was such a wonderful time we had together and I've so enjoyed following her journey since!

I was excited to be interviewed for her show aimed at NursePreneurs and anyone starting their own business - it's filled with interesting biz stories, tips, inspo and practical tools to help her listeners recognise and hone their skills, market their services and live a life and business in harmony with their true values. I have personally found the episodes fascinating and useful and highly recommend listening! Catie asked amazing questions to bring my learning's and experiences through to help her audience.

In our 25 minute conversation we covered some of my personal and business journey, plus...

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  • How to craft an authentic personal brand that resonates with your ideal clients

  • Ways to use photography, and the hidden benefits of having a photo shoot

  • Catie's experience of starting her business, developing a personal brand, and reflections on her shoot with me

  • Ways I help my clients to get confident and comfortable in front of the camera

  • Tips on finding the right photographer for your brand

  • The power of video in your business

  • The transformative process of a personal branding shoot, the revelations and up-levels that can come from it

Click here to listen!


I hope you enjoy the interview and find it useful, it was so lovely to have this conversation. Would love to know what you think!

Thank you so much for the opportunity to share with you and your audience, Catie.

If you have a podcast and feel your listeners would benefit from hearing from me, or know someone who does, I'd be delighted to do this with you. Just reply to this message and we can take it from there!

P.S. I still have one space available for a shoot THIS MONTH (April), so if you've been wondering about a Spring brand session, message me now and we can speak to plan your best ever shoot and get you all set up!

Have a beautiful rest of your day! Becky xx

Charlotte Colliver - Personal Brand Shoot, Surrey - Holistic Wellbeing & DoTerra
 

It was such a pleasure to work with lovely Charlotte and capture a day-in-the-life shoot for her beautiful business last year! Charlotte was keen to raise her visibility and share the message at the core of her work and life in a bigger way, so we worked together to get clear on the kinds of photographs that would help to tell her story, illustrate her tips, and represent her authentically. It was so fun creating this fab variety for her new website and social media, and I’m sharing a few favourites below!

Just from talking with Charlotte you can FEEL her enthusiasm and passion for wellness and self care at the core of her work. It’s so inspiring and uplifting!

Part of her mission is about changing the way we heal ourselves and our families - moving away from only looking outward, and rather regaining the confidence to trust our bodies and intuition, working with high quality essential oils and developing our own natural medicine kits and supportive lifestyles.

Charlotte works with her clients to support their healthiest and happiest lives, through natural medicine, essential oils, pilates, movement, nutrition and coaching. I love how she works in such a holistic way, bringing in the perfect tools to support her clients.

It was amazing to hear how much of a difference these tools and practices have made to her own life, and so interesting to hear her personal stories - she is an incredible person who pushes her own boundaries to know herself, and expand in her knowledge and experience. You can check out her Instagram at @charlotte_colliver, and below are some of my favourite photos from our fab day!

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Keen to bring the holistic approach you bring to your work to your website and marketing, and capture a ‘day in the life’ in your brand?

Email me by filling out the form here, and we’ll find a time to speak! Can’t wait to hear from you!

 
On maintaining a healthy relationship with... our phones.
Drawing by Becky Rui

Drawing by Becky Rui

When I started properly reading fiction books a couple of years ago and had to keep looking-up what new words meant on my phone 🤔, I would find myself replying to messages that had popped up on my screen instead. So I’d stop reading my book for a while, get back to a friend, think about how to respond to something else, and then I’d go back to reading. Oh, and then look up what that word meant again! And then I'd try and get back in the flow of my book. Repeat.

I realised my peaceful reading time was getting all eaten up by distractions and requests every time I looked up a word, and it felt so wrong! I mean, the answer really is: get a dictionary babe. But it wasn't until I started Googling words when I was reading that I realised how often I must be interrupted by phone notifications day to day. I guess I just thought that seeing and responding to things on my phone was a totally normal thing, and for most people, it is.

Even though having a smartphone is super great for so many reasons, I am relieved that we’re all starting to become more aware of how our usage can also:

📱 Massively distract us from pretty much anything we’re doing
📱 Create an unnecessary feeling inside of urgency to respond to people immediately and be available to them at all times. (This is without saying anything on the effect that social media/the way we consume information online has on us emotionally and mentally. You can read my musings on this here.)
📱 Take us away from the initial reason we went on our phone and get sucked into the digital vortex (like, really)
📱 Create or feed into addictive behaviour and constant, unthinking phone-checking
📱 Act as an acceptable way to put a wall around ourselves when we're out and about, makes us appear unavailable when we're using them (so sad when that becomes a default way of being - yes there are often valid reasons for wanting to blockade yourself, but I think much of it is literally just phone addiction)
📱 Limits our observation of, and engagement with, the 'physical' world around us and our fellow human beings

This is not how it has to be.

And it's okay if we're choosing to 'browse' or scroll or look into things and go down those rabbit holes; that's part of what the internet is for. I just feel it's just a problem when it becomes an unconscious activity that is having a detrimental effect on our mental health, sense of presence, peace and community.

My aim is to protect myself, at least a bit, from the the negative impacts of it and increase my flow and productivity in my personal life and working day. Some of these ideas below for making that shift are obvious and common and you are probably already doing a lot of them, but for anyone else, here are some ideas!

Tips on managing our relationships with our phones as entrepreneurs:

  1. Switch on flight mode when you go to bed. (This way, when I check the time in the morning etc, I am not immediately drawn into messages from people, or what I might have to unexpectedly do that day, etc. If we’re able to take the time, our early mornings can be personal, sacred time to be chill, set our vibration for the day ahead and clarify our intentions, before opening ourselves to any media or communications.)

  2. Only go on social media/maybe news etc once you’ve gotten yourself grounded in the morning or set up for the day. Be patient. For me, this is def after my morning-pages-journaling and after getting clear about what’s most important for me to focus on that day. Then I can go online and see what's up. If I don't have my own clear intentions first, I can honestly get kinda overwhelmed with all the messages and swept into the current of seeing what other people seem to be doing and the troubling news. It's so much more manageable when I enter from a more centred place.

  3. I turned off notifications, except phone calls and SMS messages (which I have to actually unlock to open and see the content of, because... might as well make reading messages a conscious choice, too). Radical. So I just don’t see a lot of stuff until I choose to check my apps (admittedly probably every 1-3 hours most days). You might think you’ll miss out on potential work or things going on with your friends, and maybe you will, but people will call you or text you if it’s genuinely important or time sensitive. If you’re getting all FOMO about it, just tell your real life friends, family and clients to give you a call or text if they need to get hold of you.

  4. I keep my phone on silent pretty much all of the time, except when I’ve got calls booked with clients or something like that. Because, if I’m in the middle of something and I hear a ‘ding’, of course I look at my phone. And I have known myself to get distracted for a minute. Or ten, or twenty.

  5. I arrange set times to speak with my lovely clients. We check in to arrange a time to talk (I use the calendly site), so that we don’t play phone ping-pong and waste time (which you might spend on your phone). This wouldn't work for all types of businesses, but I’m okay with it and it has always worked for me.

  6. Turn off WhatsApp read receipts. Just, so much better.

  7. I tend to keep my phone out of sight and face down when I'm not using it. Because sometimes when it's in my peripheral vision, I get drawn to checking it out of interest. If we look to the science, it's obviously because we are itching for that little endorphin rush you get when a message has appeared. Over and over again. I don't want to be slave to that and I don't think we should allow ourselves to develop that habit, or set that example. I basically get shit done better if I'm not checking my phone every 15 minutes! And, my sense of validation is not dependent on people messaging me on my phone.

But, isn’t this what phones are for? Contact and sharing and staying connected with people? Why even have a smartphone if this is such a big deal for you?

I believe we should each have a say in how we interact with technology, and the freedom to engage with it on our own terms.

Some people might feel this is over the top and strangely controlling, to filter the way I do. But if other people are okay with being on their phones a lot, being constantly interrupted with updates and messages, and if that actually works for them, then I guess that's cool. It's not for me to say what is best for others.

Technology moves so quickly, and I personally want to keep being conscious about my own usage, about where my energy goes and the way it affects my life. If we can be aware of how our phones impact us and the people in our lives, we can consciously adapt our usage and notification settings to serve us.

P.S. I understand that not all of these things are available for everyone to do all the time (phone on silent etc). In certain situations, and for parents, for people who are working on-call, etc you need to receive the notifications. But we can still intend to bring awareness to it.

What do you think? How do you maintain a conscious healthy relationship with technology?

Have you tried any of these things? I’d love to hear from you!

Comment or email me at becky@beckyrui.com

Éadaoin Curtin - Personal Branding Shoot - Dublin, Ireland
 

Oh my gosh, I had THE BEST time shooting with the amazing Éadaoin last summer. Éadaoin is a kindred spirit and was so much fun to spend time with… it was such a pleasure to capture her in and around Dublin, Ireland where she’s based, in her many creative zones and favourite places.

I love getting to capture ‘a day in the life’ of my clients, creating both planned portraits, story-telling images, and unexpected moments, as we flow through the day, and this was one of those shoots. That creative freedom is one of the things I most love about this work… having a strong vision for our session, maintaining clear intentions for the outcome of the images whilst at the same time staying open to creativity and the serendipities!

As a fellow personal brand photographer and artist, Éadaoin was preparing to increase her visibility and share her message in a bigger way.

She was looking to come away from our day with a library of personalised images that she could update her website with, use in Instagram posts, email marketing and more. It was important for her also to experience what it was like to be on the other side of the camera, and go through the journey her own clients go through.

It was so awesome chatting with her and planning the shoot in the lead up to our day, and it was beautiful how aligned we are in our values and approach to our work in branding - we had such a good understanding. She is passionate about women empowerment, visibility and voices, and her fascinating journey has led her to be so beautifully positioned to do this work. You can find out more about her interesting journey on her About page here.

It’s so important to walk your talk, to invest in yourself and also to try being on the ‘receiving end’ of the service you offer to from time to time, because…

  • firstly (obvs!) it provides you with the benefits of whatever that service is.

  • it gives you a truer, deeper understanding of where your clients are at when they come to you, and the challenges they may be facing when they work with you.

  • it provides you with the tools of real experience to support your clients more fully, as you come from a broader perspective.

This is what Eadaoin bravely did for herself, and I think it’s an important journey to take, and example to set.

If you’re investing in yourself, doing the work, and showing that you believe in the service you offer, you inspire others to believe in themselves too, and to understand the value of your offerings.

On our day we documented different aspects of her life, showing her as if on a photo-shoot, getting creative at home, being in nature, and spending time with her lovely partner in the STUNNING Dun Laoghaire.

I traveled over one week in August last year to create these with her and it was an absolute dream visit... loved exploring the area and having some adventures on my own while in Ireland too! Thank you for having me come over to photograph you dear Éadaoin.

You can check out her website here at Firechild Photography and Instagram here at @firechildphotography.

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Are you a photographer who’s finally ready to be seen on the other side of the camera?

Are you committed to walking your talk and journeying into the kind of experience you normally provide?

Is it time to allow your unique creative energy to shine, and give your prospects a taste of what working with you is like?

Email me at becky@beckyrui.com and let’s plan your best shoot, lovely!

An invitation to getting better photos for your business! (Sign up)

The photography you use across your social media and on your website is the first introduction your potential clients and followers will have with you when they initially connect. That first impression says sooo much about you and really counts when it comes to the way your business and offerings are perceived!

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It’s like the poster for the movie, the cover of the book… your photos are supposed to tell your audience about you and give a glimpse of what working together could be like.

While in your videos and written content you have the opportunity to go deeper in words or in movement, your photos are that first piece that grabs their attention.

(You still flick through to look at all the photos before you read a book or article too, don’t you!?)

This means you have the power to put a representation of yourself that is true, feels good, and connects with your peeps!

Join the email series - An invitation…

There are loads of factors that contribute to the narrative of your branding photos, and with my seven years of experience as a branding photographer, I'm sharing a series of emails full of tips and resources on important topics such as...

  • Why your energy is the most important thing about your brand photography

  • How to 'pose', and what your body language is communicating

  • How to choose outfits, colours and accessories based on your unique business

  • How to find the perfect locations, choose props, makeup and more.

In this series I’ll be going through the factors that make for YOUR best photos, breaking them down and clarifying what’s important to think about and what’s really, really not, as you continue along this journey of business and truth.

Sign up below to get the emails - starting next week! It’s an honour to share with you.

This series is really for anyone who’s using photos in their website or social media and uses online platforms to attract clients, whether using professional photography or the power of the selfie.