How did you get started on Instagram?
I started an anonymous blog on Myspace to share my experience with bullying and depression while attending a very elitist catholic school that wasn’t really concerned about my mental health since for them being bullied for being gay was my issue or something I need to fix with myself. My blog got millions of visits and when I got better I finally revealed who I was and people invaded my Instagram, they loved my lifestyle and fashion choices which is the main subject in my Instagram but I promised myself that I would never lose my focus on mental Health and I would never stop speaking out for my community, youth empowerment and advocate towards mental health awareness.
What's the content strategy and how do you decide what and when to post?
I’ve created a photographers and filmmaker's network worldwide, especially in the cities I visit often like New York and Paris. I want to my feed to look beautiful and not so commercial. I mix professional with branded content and natural content that is relatable on top of my activism content. I want it to work altogether like it’s linked. At the beginning of each month, I have a content calendar planning meeting with my assistant deciding upon things like beauty posts of the month, styles to be highlighted for fashion trends, important dates or events of celebrations related to mental health awareness, Black and Immigrants Consciousness and LGBTQ+ community, any holiday posts. Then, we decide on what we want to show on my Instagram and how the aesthetics would be. We block in the various things we want to highlight. We're strategically planned with sponsored posts and do not oversaturate. I make my sponsored posts relate to the causes I fight for.
I shoot something cool happening leaving the room as it is; this helps me to be more organized, strategic and creative because I get to scout the location and pull the style for the trend we're highlighting.
I'm always excited about the new content, and hence do not post anything that is boring. I make beauty posts different from my last one, making people feel they are following my life and getting inspired.
What advice do you have for others, wanting to build brands on the platform?
Understand that people come for interest, but stay for personality. You have to stand out with a strong voice for your niche. Consistency and a strategic content are essential as it can create more impact. If it's not a hobby, you need to invest a bit, maybe for a photographer or someone for editing photos. Dialogue with your followers and engaging them with the comments and the DMs is also important. Be relatable, but offer inspiration as well.
What's a misconception people have about Instagram?
Sometimes people don't understand how they can monetize Instagram. I have been busy creating content, doing trips and events, that's what my contract is, but people think we're going to lunch as I'm not showing all the behind the scenes, I'm showing the final product. It takes a lot of writing, website stuff and coding.
People also complain about how they are not making money after starting an account and when should they quit. They shouldn’t quit their job until they make it or it will get all risky. The same thing is with any startup; it would need people to work for free at first. You have to put in 100 percent, know the realistic expectation of it and try the best to do it.
What have you learned working alongside industry leaders like Burberry, Moncler, Gucci and Valentino?
I have learned that such brands are always re-inventing themselves and keep pushing boundaries, to embraces the world new reality which is constantly changing. For example, gender-neutral and environment-friendly clothing like Gucci does fur-free and many brands have been joining these movements recently. Fashion's sustainable and charity side is also super-important like Louis Vuitton and UNICEF, do a few projects together.
What's your favourite Instagram post?
I like all my posts to make one piece of art together and then I archive it all keeping only my favourite seasons on there.
But there are a few posts that I love the concept and got super happy with the final result.
Dior is one of my favourites and this sueter looks like a fashionable superhero suit so I brought some flames and a serious face like I’m about to save the world. #DiorSuperHero on the go!
This video is the proudest content I’ve created for a brand. It was exhausting shooting this Moncler ad at over 13.000 ft above the ocean, I couldn’t catch my breath but the result is just incredible. Proud!
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Forbes India journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.
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