John DeMato - NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait Photographer

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NYC Branded Lifestyle Portrait Photography Blog | Hi, I'm John DeMato, and I collaborate with thought leaders to create powerful, purposeful and authentic images. This is my blog where I talk all about the magic behind the portraits we create.

Stop riding the algorithm wave


Ride the algorithm wave?

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If so, brace yourself to fall off the board at any time…


Recently, I was speaking with a business owner friend about how his company has hit the wall and plateaued over the past couple months.

For 4 years, he has laid tremendous groundwork for his side business, to the point that he has thousands of engaged subscribers on his lists, his ticketed events sell out in hours, and his company has gained some attention in the community that he serves.

But, he’s experiencing some ominous trends.

Recently, he’s noticed that several vendors have been less responsive to his requests to plan events with their companies. He’s also noticed the conversations become less chatty and more matter of fact - if they respond to his emails at all.  

He’s also witnessed competition moving in to his space by setting up events at venues that were once exclusive to him.

What the hell happened?

Well, for years, my friend built his business solely on leveraging algorithms. Since he is a wizard at that type of stuff, he was able to be seen by the right people through targeted ad campaigns, emails, and website optimization, and, from there, was able to make several, high-level connections solely through digital means.

All of his marketing efforts were dedicated to riding the various algorithm waves both on social and his website, and it was working big time, but...

...when you live by the sword, you die by sword.

When I asked him why he thinks he hit a wall, he points directly back to what got him here in the first place.

While he worked tirelessly to build his list and attention for the company through a multitude of digital avenues, he never addressed the most important part of these connections - nurturing the relationships once the connections are made.

Thinking back on some of his business relationships that have soured, he remarked about how he never attempted to connect with any of them beyond the email and the ask - he would just contact them when he needed something from them.

And that transactional-based communication is why those connections went elsewhere and moved on.

He even mentioned that on one occasion, a long-time vendor of his pulled him aside and suggested that he hang out and socialize more in order for this relationship to stay on the rails.

That conversation was an eye-opener for him, and listening to my friend’s story served as a huge cautionary tale for me.

It’s impossible to ignore algorithms, folks, and to a certain extent, you shouldn’t.

When you are a business owner who seeks visibility through your online presence, you need to have a basic understanding of how to get yourself in front of the right people through these means.

But, leveraging the algos only gets your foot in the door.

When you commit to developing and nurturing relationships with those you serve, now that’s what keeps you in the house.

It’s not one or the other, it’s both, and it’s important to understand when one takes the lead over the other.  

Still think you can bury your head in your computer and that’s enough to create a flourishing business? Remember, when you eliminate relationship building from the equation, your ass will most certainly wipe out after riding the algorithm wave for too long.

Connect with your audience beyond the work, and that will truly set your business up to flourish in the long run.

What are your thoughts on the algorithm/relationship building dynamic?

PS - For those of you who aren’t in the know, I mail out these blogs 3x a week, and lemme tell you, they’re a real party, so, if you’d like to get in on this, sign up for it here and I’ll throw in a free gift for you, because I care, :)