Instagram is an incredibly useful way to gather qualitative data. You can write thought starts in a caption or questions to prompt comments from followers/customers. You can even use the “Questions” feature in Stories to do this. Ask your followers a question that can’t be answered with quantitative data points and within a few hours, you’ll have plenty of responses to review! Best part? You can do this for free! I use this all the time when making roundups. Just this week I used the Questions feature to quickly gather a list of books for an upcoming blog post.
I had the pleasure of interviewingKara Harms, the co-founder of Whimsy Soul, a body positive lifestyle blog based in San Francisco. She creates content that is focused on inspiring women to find confidence in their daily lives. Kara and her husband made over 100,000 in 2018, all with under 65,000 Instagram followers. After earning six figures this year alone, Whimsy Soul is proof that you don’t need hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers to have a lucrative channel. Just a powerful, close knit community and an authentic voice.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I’m one of those people who had no intention of being a fulltime blogger / influencer. Heck, that wasn’t even a real career yet when I was in college! When I moved to San Francisco from the Midwest (I hate the snow and needed better weather, seriously!) I was set on pursuing a career in social media for big companies out here like Uber or Old Navy. The catch 22 of the real world is that it’s really hard to get hired for a job like social media management when you don’t have any professional experience actually running social media channels.
I quickly realized after a series of unsuccessful interviews that I needed to have at least one social community I could point to and be like “Look at this. I did this well and grew this channel by x% in 6 months, so you should hire me to work on yours.” So one night, I started Whimsy Soul and scaled it to 3,000 Instagram followers in about 2 months. It honestly started out as a way for me to show off my creative skills to get a big girl job, and it worked! I was able to leverage my personal Instagram account and blog into multiple full time jobs over the years. But, it didn’t take long for me to really fall in love with working on Whimsy Soul. I l love writing, creating and inspiring fellow women. By the end of that first year, I was set on making Whimsy Soul my full time career. After 3 and a half years, I made it happen.
Can you explain to our readers why you are an authority about Social Media Marketing?
I’m one of the rarities who have actually worn both the hats as a brand and a content creator/influencer. I’ve been on both sides professionally, which has given me the opportunity approach social media marketing in different ways that others may be able to. This really comes in handy every day when we work on sponsored content. I have to ability predict what a brand is probably looking for, how they are measuring success, how our work will be talked about internally and use that forsite to craft meaningful social content that jives with our followers well while helping our partners reach their goals.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?
Being an influencer can take you on some crazy rollercoasters. For instance, in January 2018, we worked with Lufthansa on a campaign where they sent us to Frankfurt… for just one night! They reached out to use just a few days before Christmas with this trip happening the first week in the new year. Lufthansa holds an annual fashion show on a plane (it’s a pretty great way to pass time on a long flight!) and wanted us onboard to cover it.
The catch? That flight left from Frankfurt, so we had to fly there first. It all happened so quickly that there wasn’t time to send us any earlier, so we flew all the way to Frankfurt, got to walk around the city for about 7 hours, passed out in our hotel, woke up and flew back to the United States the next morning. I was so jetlagged I legitmaily fell asleep in a Frankfurt historical museum!
Even though it was a crazy whirlwind trip, it was so much fun and makes a really great story. I mean, who else can say they flew to Germany for one night randomly (and got paid to do it)?
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
#love #shoe #dress #cool #blogger #street #ootd #iloveshoes….
Sometimes I look back on some of my first Instagram posts and can only laugh at the the stupid hashtags I used. Why so many stupid hashtags? These days I’m way more strategic about what hashtags we use on a post. I use this tool called Display Purposes to conduct hashtag research to help extend the reach of our posts. #love just doesn’t cut it anymore!
Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?
Hands down, Instagram has been the best social platform for my blog business. As an influencer, Instagram is where the money is at right now in terms of brand deals. Everyone and their mother wants to run Instagram-based Influencer campaigns. This year alone, we’ve made over six figures from brand deals and most of our partners were interested in working with us because of our Instagram channel. Even though we have a strong blog readership and even command over 1 million monthly views on Pinterest, leveraging our Instagram channel into a revenue stream has literally been the key to making Whimsy Soul a hobby-turned-career.
Let’s talk about Instagram specifically, now. Can you share 6 ways to leverage Instagram to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.
- If you’re an influencer, now is the time to leverage Instagram from just a social channel to a main source of revenue. I firmly believe that a successful blog business needs to have multiple streams of revenue. Affiliate sales, banner ads and selling products are classics ways to earn passive income, but right now Instagram-based campaigns are a great way to quickly increase your business’ revenue. I’ve personally made over six figures this year, and most partners wanted to work with me because of my Instagram account. Having a profitable year on Instagram means I can afford essential business upgrades and have the liberty to write blog posts about whatever I want, usually evergreen content that overtime can earn tons of passive income.
- Instagram is an incredibly useful way to gather qualitative data. You can write thought starts in a caption or questions to prompt comments from followers/customers. You can even use the “Questions” feature in Stories to do this. Ask your followers a question that can’t be answered with quantitative data points and within a few hours, you’ll have plenty of responses to review! Best part? You can do this for free! I use this all the time when making roundups. Just this week I used the Questions feature to quickly gather a list of books for an upcoming blog post.
- Of course, you can also use Instagram Stories to gather quantitative data. On top of monitoring insights on static posts to help indicate what products, ideas, mesassing, etc your customers are responding to, you can also use Stories to do quick polls. Want to know their opinion on a new product or article vertical you’re considering? Use a poll! (IE: would you like to see us sell shoes?)
- Drive more pageviews with Instagram Stories and Highlights swipe-ups. “Link in bio” works, but the swipe up feature is a powerful way to drive traffic to your website and make conversions.
- Conduct takeovers with influencers to spark brand intrigue and gain access to a new audience! Working with key influencers to do channel takeovers is a smart way to diversify your content and tap into a new audience who may turn into paying customers.
- Forge an emotional connection with customers. Instagram is highly personal! Your social media manager has to read and reply back to comments. They may be coming from a brand, but a human is still behind the voice. Take the time to write meaningful replies and answering DM’s in a timely, thoughtful manner can help you forge a loyal following. I personally take the time to answer any questions my community has and work on relationship with my followers. This high emotional connection has lead to a loyal following who keep coming back to Whimsy Soul to feel that connection1
Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I love the idea of using influence to spread doing good. It’s not all about sharing cool vacation spots or a trendy jacket to buy. Just today I bought sandwiches for a homeless man at the bus stop and reminded my followers on Stories that doing good for others in need is important. I’d love to see more influencers share about topics like politics they believe in or great charities to support. If we can use our influence to drive massive revenue streams for brands, why can’t we apply that same power to helping others? The world would be such a better place.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂
I’m pretty sure drinks with Gary Vee would be both enlightening and entertaining.
Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!