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Why you should go out and meet people who follow you in real life, With Stephanie Lucas & Candice Georgiadis

One of my favorite benefits of Instagram is getting offline and meeting people I follow or who follow me in real life. It is always eye opening to have coffee with other brands and to learn more about their process and ideas. Every time I meet in real life I learn something new and I […]


One of my favorite benefits of Instagram is getting offline and meeting people I follow or who follow me in real life. It is always eye opening to have coffee with other brands and to learn more about their process and ideas. Every time I meet in real life I learn something new and I make a new connection. I recently had coffee with an influencer who is very close to 10,000 followers. We discussed her posts and stories about reaching for that magic number and about how she connects with followers to grow her brand.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Stephanie Lucas, owner of South Lumina Ave, a boutique marketing and communications company based in Charlotte, NC. This niche firm focuses on helping customers promote their passion, by managing their public image and reaching their full potential using all aspects of social media.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

For most of my career I’ve done what I love — marketing — but for someone else. After becoming a mother, I really started focusing on what would fulfill me professionally while allowing me to spend the most time with my family. My oldest is now and 5 and I finally found the courage to venture out, build my own brand and help people build theirs.

Can you explain to our readers why you are an authority about Social Media Marketing?

With over 15 years of experience, I have gone from marketing a major city to marketing luxury real estate. In this time, I’ve been an integral part of building new brands and taking peoples’ dreams and companies to that next level. I understand how overwhelming and confusing social media can be for some. While working with clients, I get to see the lights turn on as we discuss how the tools I utilize will grow their business.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

In addition to working with customers, I manage my own social media accounts and keep in contact with friends, clients, acquaintances and followers. I had a friend direct message me on Instagram. She asked if South Lumina Ave is my company and if I can help her launch a new travel brand. Having worked in the tourism industry for years, I was ecstatic to be a part of her new venture, especially starting from a launch. This will be an incredible project as we work together to grow her new brand.

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?

When I started South Lumina Ave, I built a website on a platform that wasn’t the best fit for my brand. I had to learn new software and rebuild the website before I launched. At the time it wasn’t funny, but it served as a reminder to research before committing and that I can learn new technology very quickly when pressed for time!

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?

I always recommend starting a company’s social media with Facebook. With over 2.23 billion active users, this site is a no-brainer to have a presence on. I also want my clients to do one thing well, rather than spread themselves thin trying to be everything to everybody. While I recommend having a presence and posting relevant content to Facebook, I lean towards Instagram for maximizing your brand. The number of users is growing every day and Instagram is a platform that people use to be visually stimulated. Our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text, so we can absorb more info more quickly with Instagram.

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.

As the founder of a marketing start-up, I can attest to Instagram being a key tool you can use to grow your business. From IG stories to promoting blog posts, Instagram is the fastest, free way to gain followers. It’s even a teaching tool.

1 — Make your Instagram account a business account.

Instagram allows you to convert any account to a business account. This is step one in building your business. It’s free to convert your account and you can track analytics to really drill down into who your audience is. You can also run ads, once you convert your account to business, which you can’t do when you only have a personal account. One of my clients had her mind set on what her customer demographic was, and she catered to that market. Once she set up her business Instagram account, she realized that her target market was off, and she quickly redefined her marketing plan to increase her profit margins.

2 — Be Consistent

It is key to be consistent. The more you post the more you will appear and the more you appear the more people will follow you. You’ll build credibility on being an expert in your niche and people will rely on you for content. Build rapport with followers and convert them to clients by engaging with them. Ask questions in your posts and respond to the answers. A follower of mine commented regularly on my posts. I would always like their comments or respond to them when relevant. After several months, this follower requested an RFP for a project she was working on. We had built a relationship through Instagram comments.

3 — Learn from and remix what others are doing.

We follow people we admire. We look to them for their business acumen, their beautiful feeds, their mission. Look at those accounts and dig deeper into what it is you really like about them. Is it the flow of colors in their feed? Maybe they always have the newest features Instagram rolls out. Or maybe it’s the way they present their message that resonates with you. Take what you learn and make it your own. This past summer, a baker client noticed her real estate agent friend had Instagram stories highlights on her page. She knew this would be a great way to feature cakes she had created and promote her best work in an organized way, so we added highlights to her page.

4 — Network through DM and Stories.

It’s easy to get lost in the online world. People still need to feel a connection, so build relationships through your stories by sharing bits of personal information as well as sending direct messages. Think of DMs as little sticky notes where you can congratulate, cheer on, or support the people you follow. This helps them get to know you and feel connected and will increase your credibility.

5 — Connect with influencers and grow your tribe. Build a community within your niche and make your feed beautiful.

One of my favorite benefits of Instagram is getting offline and meeting people I follow or who follow me in real life. It is always eye opening to have coffee with other brands and to learn more about their process and ideas. Every time I meet in real life I learn something new and I make a new connection. I recently had coffee with an influencer who is very close to 10,000 followers. We discussed her posts and stories about reaching for that magic number and about how she connects with followers to grow her brand.

6 — Post relevant content but stay true to your brand.

Use new content, repurposed content, and user generated content to be consistent in posting to your Instagram page. Make sure to stay true to your brand through the photos you publish and the information you share. Keep your feed visually appealing and keep content relevant to your offerings. Always remember that you are building a business and your Instagram feed is a snapshot of your public persona. Put your best images out there!

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. 🙂

As a female we are told from a young age that we can be anything we want, but as we grow up, we put ourselves into limiting boxes. We suffer from fraudy feelings and hold ourselves back when we should be pushing ourselves and other women forward. One of my very accomplished, awesome mom friends told me she looked up to me — to me! — and that I was a power mama. This gave me such energy because she is such a super woman herself. We need more support and love in our girl tribe!

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 🙂

There are so many amazing people who use their influence to accomplish greatness across all platforms. P!nk has been a source of inspiration and helped me push outside of my comfort zones. Breakfast or lunch with her would be such an incredible experience. There would be kids running all over, it would be loud, and it would be completely girl power.

Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!

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