For many entrepreneurs, Instagram was heaven sent. Although many still live and die by Facebook ads, during the past few years Instagram is arguably the best option for growing brand awareness. Studies have shown that engagement with businesses on Instagram is 10 times higher than Facebook.
In May 2017, Instagram attracted an astonishing 1 billion advertisers to its platform. Most of those advertisers were small businesses. About 5 or 6 years ago the talk among many skeptics was that monetization on Instagram was too difficult. But with 36 percent of B2C brands and 13% of B2C brands claiming that Instagram is “very important” or “critical” to their business, entrepreneurs, startups, and established companies can no longer wait to make an impact on the brand.
In today’s interview, we’ll get some insight from an entrepreneur who has built her brand using Instagram. Paola Alberdi is the founder of the Blank Itinerary fashion and lifestyle blog. She has attracted a whopping 784,000 followers on Instagram. In this interview, she tells us her story, her IG philosophy, and what it takes to build your brand on Instagram.
Q. Tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been blogging.
My name is Paola Alberdi and I am the creator of Blank Itinerary which is an online website mostly about fashion, lifestyle, home decor, travel and more! It started off as sharing photos on Instagram of my travels when I got married and went to amazing places on my honeymoon. Right before getting married I had to quit my job where I worked as brand manager for three products, because the company was moving to Mexico and I didn’t want to move.
I have always loved fashion, so, after returning from my honeymoon and trying to figure out what to do with my life, I thought I would give blogging a try. It’s been four years I still can’t believe that I have been fortunate enough to call it my full-time job! We are over 740k on Instagram and growing! I feel so lucky to be able to have made this dream a reality and do something I truly am passionate about!
Q. What is your philosophy when it comes to creating content on Instagram?
I like to create content that people can relate to and aspire to! I really love that I can inspire people with my style and by sharing my life. I feel so grateful that my followers have grown with me throughout the years and I feel like I have really created a community.
People tell me that they feel like they are my friends even though we have never met and that is the most incredible feeling! Of course, as bloggers, we have learned how to create aesthetically appealing photos, but there are different styles of fashion bloggers and the vibe of the content can be very different. I feel like most of my content is usually natural, real and in the moment.
Q. What are your favorite tools for growing your reach and influence on Instagram?
To be honest, Blank Itinerary has grown very organically. I focused on creating good content, being consistent on how often I posted and the quality of the content. I would take notice of what my audience seemed to like and would do more of that. Instagram Insights can be very helpful. Some apps that I use to plan and create my content are UNUM, VSCO, and Snapseed among others.
Q. What 3 things does anyone starting in your industry need to know?
I feel like everyone wants immediate results but it takes a lot of work and time. You need to have patience and be consistent. You need to invest the time to create unique and amazing content. I would also say, to stay authentic. Don’t try to be exactly like everyone else because the things that make you different is what will attract people.
Keep in mind that there a millions of people on social media and there is a niche for everything. Also, four on building a community. 5,000 loyal fans that interact with you and feel like part of a community can be more valuable than 30,000 followers that have no real engagement with you.
Q. What would you say is the #1 thing that has contributed to your success on Instagram?
I think I entered into the industry at a very good moment. So, in a way, it was about timing and luck, but also, when I started, I told myself to see it as a business and treat it as such. I worked very hard and took the time to create quality content which take a lot of time. Of course, my style and travels played a part.
I think people genuinely like my style and get inspired by what I post. At the beginning, I was also traveling a lot with my husband so that provided amazing content creation opportunities. Like I said, investing the time to create good content is key.