Instagram has grown to more than 1 billion monthly users. Social media has given us this platform to build relationships and influence at a far greater capacity than ever before. In this podcast episode, host Mitch Russo talks with professional Instagrammer and social media influencer Lauren Bath. Lauren is from Australia and deemed Australia’s first professional Instagrammer as a photographer who’s focused on becoming a social media influencer. She has worked with clients worldwide large and small. Today, she shares how she got started in photography, what the term professional Instagrammer means, and how much you get paid by being one. If you’ve dreamed about becoming a social media influencer and would like to know how, you’re about to find out.

Becoming A Social Media Influencer With Lauren Bath

I have someone who’s about to blow your minds. Before I get to her story, I have a short request. I have a new book and I want to invite you to check it out if you’ve not already done so. It’s called Power Tribes and it’s a blueprint on how you could build your own tribe to shower you with love and money. Who doesn’t like that? It’s all based on your existing client list. It’s power that one of my readers made over $66,000 by following the blueprint in the book and you can too. Go to Amazon and check it out, Power Tribes by Mitch Russo. Don’t forget the ability to talk back to me. I invite you to talk to me, tell me what you think, what you like about the episode, what you didn’t like, what you’d like me to bring you next.

Here is the star of this show. She is from Australia and deemed Australia’s first professional Instagrammer as a photographer who’s focused on becoming a social media influencer. She has worked with clients worldwide large and small. Her audience is nearly 500,000 followers and has been featured in Travel Leisure Magazine as well as many others. She has appeared on 60 Minutes. She has been in Mashable and many others as well. If you’ve dreamed about being a social media influencer and would like to know how, you’re about to find out. Welcome, Lauren Bath, to the show.

Mitch, thank you so much for having me.

It’s my pleasure. Lauren, it’s so exciting to talk to another photographer. All of my readers know that I’m crazy about landscape photography and anybody who wants to see my work, go to MitchRussoTravels.com. We’re not here to talk about me. We’re here to talk about you. How did you get started in this?

It was a pretty crazy ride. I got started on Instagram years ago. Most people don’t even know the platform existed that long ago. I downloaded the app as a hobby on my very first iPhone. I had read an article that said Instagram was more fun than Facebook, which I had a lot of trouble believing because I was such a fan of Facebook at the time. I downloaded this app out of curiosity. I did not realize it was a photo-sharing app at all. I quickly realized obviously and my first upload was a picture of my boyfriend that he himself took. It was not my image at all and it was dreadful, like most people started out on Instagram.

Within the first few weeks of stumbling across this platform, a couple of things stood out for me. One of them was the community. It was fun to be on a platform where you’re meeting new people that share a common interest with you. I found it fun to go out and take some creative picture on my iPhone and posted and be having conversations with people that were interested in at the time mobile photography. I don’t know how it happened, but within about three months of using Instagram, I had 5,000 followers, which back then basically made me a Kardashian with the platform which was still very new and emerging, that was a lot of followers back then.

Know who your audience is and who are engaging with your content. Click To Tweet

I wasn’t into photography and using Instagram to share my work. I was trying to get better at photography so that I could better at Instagram, it was the opposite because I love the community and I love the conversations, the people that I was meeting. I started putting in quite a bit of time to the platform. I bought my first camera not even for Instagram. I bought it because I was going to Zimbabwe for the first time. That was a family trip. My partner is Zimbabwean. I picked up a camera because I was now interested in photography and I didn’t think that the quality of the mobile shots would be good enough for going overseas to a country like Zimbabwe. I didn’t think when I bought the camera that I would use it for Instagram. I still wanted to stick to mobile photography, but of course once you got a sweet little camera in your hands, you fall in love with that and with the quality. I started getting into photography around month four, I would say.

What I like about it was I accelerated my learning of photography as a genre because of all of the photographers I was able to access on the platform. I would do something as simple as going to the #LandscapePhotography and finding pictures that I love, asking the artist that shot it, what their settings were and what their process was, then I would go out and try and do the same thing. I went from, not being able to shoot at all and not knowing what the buttons on my camera were to quickly going out and being able to master quite a number of different techniques. I had this massive community of people to draw on to ask questions and learn. All of this was happening in the background. It was all tugging along nicely. Unfortunately, I still had a job because we all have to make a living. I was using Instagram in my spare time as a hobby and going out taking pictures, being on the platform. My daily usage was starting to creep up. At my peak, I was hitting about eight hours a day on Instagram, which is insane.

You’re doing this while you were at your other job?

I was a chef, so my work was in the kitchen, which is not a great career to be playing around with your phone. You have to be quite present obviously, sharp knives and fire and all of that and busy. I did actually get caught at work while I’m in the cold room checking my Instagram feeds. I did occasionally have a sneak peek. Most of it was happening on my breaks. I work split shifts. Before middle and after work, rather than spending time with my partner or family. I was head glued to the phone on Instagram. I managed to get myself to around 200,000 followers. It was by accident and yet not by accident.

A lot of people these days want to go on Instagram or want to have an audience or have followers because they can see the benefits and they can see what they can get from it. For me, I had no idea where Instagram was leading me. It was not a mainstream platform. It wasn’t the world that I knew anything about and knew nothing about influence. For me, it was fun and it was hobby. There was no ulterior motive for me to want to use the platform and to want to build these relationships and improve my photography. It was pure passion, which is a major aspect of what I’ve build that a lot of people these days don’t get to experience.

You made a point of mentioning that this was a pure passion for you. I’m wondering in the world that you’re living now, which is as a professional Instagrammer. When you meet others who are in a similar role as yourself, do you feel it’s their passion too or has many people now started to look at this as a job of sorts?

FTC 166 | Social Media Influencer

Social Media Influencer: If you don’t love and have pure passion for what you do, you won’t be able to sustain your career for so long.

 

There are a lot of people that don’t have a passion for it to be completely honest. It does become a job and when it is a job, it brings its own pressures. If you didn’t have the passion to start with and the motive wasn’t there to start with, then probably you won’t have as much love for it as what I still do. Instagram is a platform that infuriates a lot of people because of the change in algorithms. The work itself is challenging. It’s a lot harder than what people think it is. It looks glamourous to people. People sometimes say, “You’re so lucky you get to go on holiday all the time.” The work is not like that at all. I’m working effectively as a marketer and I have a huge number of responsibilities in my job, creating the content and sharing the content in an engaging way. To start conversations, following through with reporting and all of the administrative tasks, running my own business and all of other facets of my business as well. If I didn’t love and have pure passion for what I do, I wouldn’t have been able to sustain my career for so long.

I completely understand that and it’s part of what I love to talk about here. People see only the surface activity and think it’s everything. I remember early on I studied to be an electrical engineer and I went to get a job and I got a job as an electrical engineer in a computer company. I was shocked to find out that only 5% of my time was doing any design work at all. 95% of my time was spent running to the parts room, filling out forms, creating list and walking down the manufacturing to see if they’re doing stuff right. I was like, “I want to be a designer. I don’t want to be a babysitter to a bunch of people who aren’t qualified to do their job, come on.” That profession wasn’t long for me. I can imagine it’s the same in your world too where people think as you said, you’re on exotic vacations all the time and you happened to pull out your camera and make a few snaps.

I’m transparent with what I do and with my audience. I talk about the pain of running your own business. I try not to glamourize it like a lot of people in my industry do and then they crash. It is hard work, but it’s the feeling. I would never have my life any other way.

The other thing that you shared with me, I hope it’s okay I’m going to blurt it out in the case. You should know, readers, that Lauren is also pregnant and pretty soon she’s not going to be able to do much jet-setting around to take this photograph. Because she has set herself up in such a professional way, she can still maintain her business and she can still thrive, even though she may be off of the planes for a few months while doing it.

I wanted to jump back quickly to when I did decide to quit my job. When I did decide to quit my job, I basically was getting a few opportunities for Instagram. At that time, I had 200,000 followers in eighteen months with my photography and with this eight hours a day, I was punched into the platform. I did manage to get up to 200,000 by accident as I was saying. When I decided to quit my job, I did it because these little opportunities were trickling through and my boss wasn’t able to keep giving me time off work. I sat down with my family and said, “I’m not happy anymore, I don’t have any passion or love for this career. I want to see what I can get out of Instagram. I’ve always wanted to travel more and that’s being something that I’ve missed out on. There’s something here.” Everyone supported me. I wrote on a scrap of paper that travel, photography and Instagram were my three passions. I can still remember the piece of paper.

I wanted to make a living that way. I knew that Instagram would be my niche because that was the strongest resource that I had at my disposal and my photography obviously. I knew right from the start that I didn’t want to rely on Instagram forever, although I am quite cautious when it comes to business. I’m a careful person. I have made slow but consistent inroads into setting my business up in a way, so that I don’t have to rely on doing the paid work where you get paid per day by tourism boards and brands. Instead of creating something bigger for myself that will enable me to have a career in this space even if I’m not traveling in that way. The fact that I am pregnant as you said. I announced it on social media, so no big surprise. It means that all of the work that I’ve done and all of the diversification that I’ve done in my business is going to start to pay off now. I foresee that when I give birth and I’m not traveling, I’m going to be busy than I’ve ever been with all of my other business endeavors and obviously with a newborn.

Take negative feedback as a massive learning experience. Click To Tweet

You have no idea what’s in store for you, but I do. I’ve been there, not as a mom. You’ll be busy if you didn’t have a business.

My partner is fabulous. As I said, he’s Zimbabwean. We’ll still be traveling. We’ll be traveling to Zimbabwe quite regularly. It’s my hope too to raise our child both Australian and Zimbabwean. Also, my partner is exceptionally great with children. He wanted children for a lot longer than I did. He’s great to be looking after our child if I still have opportunities and I still want to travel. With the work that I’m doing outside of obviously influence and marketing and Instagram. My goal is always staying to have as much money to travel wherever I want, whenever I want, with whomever I want.

That’s my goal too.

That’s what I’ve been setting myself up for.

By the way, what I like most about what you said is not a goal, it’s the planning. It’s the forethought to decide in advance what I want, when I want it and how my life will be when I get it. You have no idea how few people do that. When you do this, what ends up happening is that that manifestation shows up probably a lot faster and might even be a lot stronger than you ever imagine. Great job on getting that done. Lauren, you are in an unusual position as Australia’s first professional Instagrammer. Tell me what it means when you say first. Are there other people who have since done it? What does professional Instagrammer mean?

People this day still get confused with it. Instagram gets a little bit miffed that I’m calling myself the first and they’re like, “How do you claim that?” It’s funny because I was on Instagram at a time where in Australia where it was not that well-known and not that well-used. I joined Instagram when it was less than year old, still only on iPhone, not on the android market and still predominantly an American populated app. When I started becoming popular on the platform and I got up to that 200,000 followers quite quickly within eighteen months of joining. Australian tourism was actually taking notice of me.

FTC 166 | Social Media Influencer

Social Media Influencer: In order to travel as a professional Instagrammer, tourism boards would be a good point to start emailing or canvasing.

 

I live on the Gold Coast, it’s a tourist destination. I was shooting here, getting shared by tourism Australia who was forward thinking with Instagram. They used to go around and do conferences and speak to state tourism and regional tourism boards and educate them on the importance of having a social media strategy and tapping and to use generated content. They would mention my name and they were big endorsers of my work. That early recognition in the tourism industry enabled me to kick start my career nice and early.

At the time when nobody else was doing it, every tourism board when I quit my job and I have that sheet of paper, travel, photography, Instagram. In order to travel, I assume that tourism boards would be a good point to start emailing or canvasing. I would email tourism boards and effectively say, “Can you hire me to come out and Instagram your destination?” Very early on, I didn’t even do any reporting, I didn’t know anything about destination marketing. Obviously, I’ve since learned. I didn’t know what to charge. It was to join dots, ask for feedback, I was humble. I would always say to my client, “I’m a chef. I don’t know this industry. Please teach me.”

I had a few potential clients that backed up a bit at the prospect of paying me because traditionally, journalists would do this work and they would write for their publications and get paid by the magazine they work for. Obviously, I wasn’t working for a magazine, I was self-publishing. I didn’t have the source of income. It was quite interesting trying to get this off the ground, but it was early in my second year. At which point there were a few other people working in tourism at that point. Most of them were my friends, people that I knew, acquaintances for Instagram. A lot of the work was originating through me.

My clients hiring me for a little job in Queensland and asking if I knew any other influences and I would bring people that I knew. A lot of that was happening in tourism in Australia at that time. I was very over aware of, I saw it all, I heard it all. I had contacted Tourism Australia. I was on a campaign with the brand called Top Deck. I’m doing a big ten-person campaign that I was project managing and they had organized for some journalist to interview us along the way, try and get some traditional PR around the campaign. The journalist that interviewed me, I still remember her name, Grace. Grace interviewed me and asked me during the interview whether I thought that I was Australia’s first because I was at that time twelve to eighteen months into my career. I had a lot more experience than anyone else. I was doing it full-time, which I was still the only person doing it full-time. I said to her, “Yes, I am. I don’t know anyone else doing this full-time.” She called the piece, Australia’s First Professional Instagrammer Shares her Secrets for Career Success.” That was the title of it, it was a News.com page.

What year was that?

That would have been 2014 that piece and I quit my job in early 2013. That went quite viral. It was posted on a Friday afternoon and Grace was shocked because she was a young startup journalist and the piece went far. Ever since I’ve run with that. I’ve claimed it being first having that authority, having the work experience. I’ve worked with 2,000 tourism boards when people were starting to realize that this was a thing. All of those early relationships have held. I’m working with clients still today that I work within my first year. It’s given me a big jump start on other people in the industry, not that that’s what I wanted. The great thing about it means that I do stand apart. I do have this point of difference and I don’t have to hustle for work. I don’t have to convince people who I am because if anyone googles my name, Australia’s first professional Instagrammer would jump up along with probably hundreds of interviews and articles that I’ve contributed to over the years. I have legitimacy as well.

When you can sell yourself, you hit the ground running. Click To Tweet

I wanted to make a point here particularly for readers who are casually reading. This is interesting to me. This is a story about Lauren who decided early on that this was going to be your living and then you took some deliberate moves. Some of us, I’ll include myself, sometimes when I try something new, I think of myself as putting it out there and seeing what happens, but you were very deliberate. You rang up a lot of these tourist boards and you proposed that you work for them. You had to come up with all kinds of pricing and you had to figure out how to do it.

You’re not starting a business. You’re starting a new type of business all at the same time and that is I would say quite ambitious. Anyone who’s reading this episode probably has some business and it’s likely that what they’re doing is something that other people have done before them. Here, you come along, particularly in Australia nobody has done this before you. You had to create from scratch everything all by yourself. Did you have anybody to help you? Did you ask questions of other people that were in similar industries? Where did you get your guidance from?

I was fortunate that some of the women that I came across through early jobs were generous with their knowledge with me and their time. I wouldn’t say that they mentored me. It was a lot less formal than that but two women in particular, Shelley Winkel from Tourism Queensland and Karena Noble from Voyages. Both of them unknowingly at the time through the conversations we had thought me more about destination marketing than I could’ve possibly found out in a lifetime without help. I’m working on these slides for my next conference, I’m rehashing all of this to tell my story to my delegates.

Karena, I remember the first time I ever tried to write a report that justified the work that I’ve done, which was basically back then tallying up the likes, adding them up to post by post. I’ve given her this rough report, which was the first time I’ve attempted such a thing. I was proud of myself, I thought I was doing the professional thing. When I sent it to her, she came back with an email saying, “This looks great, cool. Lots of Instagram likes, but for me being tradition or PR, I need to know the demographic. I need to know who your audience is and who are engaging with the content. What income families are they from? What country are they from? The key markets that we’re trying to attract in.” I was like, “What are all these words? She was talking about media value.” I got googling and went back to Karena and had more of a dialogue with her around it.

I learned more in that conversation and that feedback. I didn’t take it as negative feedback. I took it as a massive learning experience and my reporting got a lot better from there. That would have been the tipping point for me when I realized, “I’m not going and taking shots and Instagramming a destination.” This money is coming generally from the tax payer budget when its tourism and it needs to be justified. They have their own internal reporting. It’s quite in depth. In order to justify my existence in this world, I need to understand it. That’s when I started learning a lot more about tourism, marketing, PR and the differences between PR and marketing and what I was offering. Once I understood that for myself, I could sell it. When you can sell yourself, you hit the ground running. That was a massive one for me.

Let’s ask the hard questions here. Let’s talk about money. You can give me a range because I’m curious and readers would be too. How much does a professional Instagrammer get paid to cover a topic, maybe a destination, a vacation spot or an event or a city? Give me an idea of what someone like you might charge. Range is good enough.

FTC 166 | Social Media Influencer

Social Media Influencer: Most influencers doing the tourism work charge a day rate depending on their influence, the engagement of their audience, and the quality of their photography or content.

 

The more open the dialogue is around money, the better and stronger the industry is for it. I do want to quickly say that when I started working, my rate was $1,000 flat for anything. Commercial job seven-day trip to wherever. I didn’t know what to charge. I knew that as a chef, I was earning terrible money. As a chef, I was earning about $700 a week and if I could get one job a week and earn $1000, I was better off. That was my justification in the early days. Most influences doing the tourism work, we charge a day rate depending on our influence, depending on the engagement of our audience and the quality of our photography or content. It can be anywhere between, I would say some people are still working for free when they’re starting out because the value of the travel is equal to the value of the work, probably up to about $2,000 a day. I personally charge $850. That’s the tourism board. Tourism board has a fairly low budget and I always need from the start at first, “$850 that’s more I’d earn in a whole week in the kitchen.” Money is relative. To me, it seemed like a lot of money. As I get more and more into business, $850 a day even if I’m going away doing a week with the tourism board. It’s small money to me now with the goals and ambitions that I have.

I don’t make a lot of my money through tourism work, but I still give quite a lot of my time to tourism work purely because I love it and I have a passion for it. I want affordable influence in marketing to be available to tourism boards because it helps them. Most of my income I would say comes from commercial photography, which gives you $2,000 a day plus and image rights. Project management when I’m working on larger scale campaigns where I’m traveling with a group of influencers. Definitely, I’m starting to get more into online courses and conferencing with my own conference. I’ve started routing some tours in Zimbabwe.

That is all a bit separate from the influencer work where obviously having my own audience, definitely hopes me to sell those things. I would say that working with brands definitely pays a lot better that tourism boards. Often if you’re lucky, you can get a good campaign that will have some work around posting, some influencer work or brand sponsored posting, some commercial work and some work as talent for the brand as well. These packages are five figure packages that can boost your income of the year. I was turning six figures within about a year of starting in this industry and now I’m in the mid six figures with huge ambitions to do a lot better than that.

Let me ask a few questions. You briefly mentioned that part of how you’re paid is based on the number of followers that you have. How true is that because maybe I heard that and thought that it’s a major component, obviously if you have no followers you can’t be an Instagrammer. Does it matter if you have one million or two million? Where are these breaks if you will? Where are the levels that change how you get paid with the number of followers you have?

The interesting thing about this industry is that there are no industry standards yet. There is no set pricing or set rate. It’s like most creative industries. If you’re a photographer, you could go into your cousin’s wedding for $50 or your cousin could hire a professional wedding photographer for $30,000. Influencer marketing is similar. Your price is what you think you’re worth. As far as the work with tourism boards, I could probably get away with charging a lot more. I certainly have a reputation for it and I’m good at work. I have a good audience that’s engaged with tourism and travel content.

I choose to charge that because I have the passion and the love for that work. General speaking, it comes down to not followers but engagement. How many likes and comments you get, how many people save your work. People that are genuinely interested, having a relevant audience or a niche audience. My niche is broad, but I was able to claim it because I was one of the first in Australia, so my niche is travel. These days starting out, you are better off having a smaller niche. Quality of your audience, relevance to the work that you’re doing. Quality of your content whether it be photography or video, writing whatever it is. Industry knowledge and know how, effective marketing skills, all of these things contribute to what you can be charging.

The interesting thing about the influencer industry is that there are no industry standards yet. Click To Tweet

I would also assume that the experience of working with someone like you is much different than working with an amateur. What I mean by that is that you understand exactly what the client needs probably in some cases as well as the client does.

Better than I do.

You made my point. The idea here is that someone chooses to work a pro versus a hobbyist, they’re getting not just great photography, great engagements and almost guaranteed quality coverage. They’re actually getting the entire backend reporting system as well. Would that be right?

Yeah, absolutely. They’re going to have any headaches in dealing with me. I’m a professional, I’m prompt apart from when I’m meeting you for the podcast. I’m prompt with everything that I do. I deliver on my promises, everything turned around in a timely manner. I don’t leave people waiting with emails. I’m generally good with that stuff. I have a six-page document that I send to clients that have commissioned me, which goes through how to write my itinerary, what flight to book me on, my dietaries, everything is there. They don’t have to ask me or I don’t get to the destination they booked me in for steak dinner when I’m vegetarian. I like things to run easily because at the end of the day, the client’s goal is to have as many eyes on their brand or their destination as possible. My goal is to create the best content possible which will get the most number of eyes on the content. This is great synergy. We have the same goals for the campaign. I want them to quickly understand that and give me what I need to do my job, which I understand well based on years of experience.

I’m sure somewhere in your contract there is the purple jelly bean, is that right? Do you know the story behind the purple jelly bean?

No, I don’t know it.

FTC 166 | Social Media Influencer

Social Media Influencer: Being an influencer is having trustful relationships with your audience, whoever your audience is.

 

Steven Tyler was famous. When they did a venue, the agent would send a contract over to the venue and the venue had to read the contract and sign it. What Steven Tyler would require is that there be a bowl of jelly beans and there had to be one purple jelly in the bowl. Everyone said, “He’s such a nut job, why does he want the purple jelly bean?” What he was doing which was clever, is seeded the contract with that one thing and this would tell him whether or not the people who hired him to read his contract. He shows up and there are no jelly beans in the green room, he knows that they never read the contract which means that he’s going to have problems. At least now you know about it. There will be a purple jelly bean clause of some sort in all of your contracts.

I’ll have to do it.

The other thing I wanted to point out here and again this is to show for people who are here to run a business and to grow their company. The real question is what can we do, what do we use Instagram for? What lessons do you have for all of us business owners who love to find a way to use Instagram to make money? Can you give me some information about that?

First of all, I don’t like the word influencer. I feel it makes me sound pretentious. When you write down what influencer is, taking aside the fact that I hate the word influencer. An influencer is having these trustful relationships with your audience, whoever your audience is and isn’t that what every single business in the entire world wants? Don’t you want to have a relationship with your clients or potential clients where they trust you enough to buy your product or service? That is the key to business. I’ve realized that more over the years it’s not having followers, it’s not being popular on social media, it’s relationships. Every single thing comes down to the relationships that you have.

Social media has given us this platform, these places where we go to build our relationships of influence at a far greater capacity if we were in a room networking, with our business cards, old school. This happens through being authentic. Sharing is something that you are genuinely passionate about, something that you have an interest in and allowing these relationships to grow over time. To do that, you have to look at Instagram not as me, like I’m advertising to you, take my content like loving me. Instead looking it as a place to go and meet people and to have conversations and to make these relationships. For me, that was fundamentally what I did in the early days and continue to do that I believe sets me apart because the relationships that I have on this platform are deep. These are now friends. These are the people I visit. I’ve gone overseas and met people that I’ve known on Instagram for years. This transcends social media and being an influencer and being popular. These are real people.

Let’s break this down a bit because now you’re giving me more work to do. You’re telling me I’ve got to get know these people and I’ve got to communicate. Let’s make it easy. Let’s say I’m a business coach. I don’t have products. I don’t have services. What I do is I put stupid little quotes up on Instagram and people like them. There’s no engagement at all in my Instagram account and it’s because I’ve ignored it, I haven’t even tried. I once hired somebody to do it for me, but obviously since I didn’t care about, they got no engagement at all. You’re saying that unlike things like Facebook or other social media or Twitter, this is serious stuff. You need to do the work and you need to take responsibility for these relationships or else you won’t have them. Is that what you’re saying?

Industry knowledge and effective marketing skills contribute to what you can be charging. Click To Tweet

Absolutely. There’s more to it than that. You need to have great content, that’s pretty obvious. Instagram is a visual platform and if you don’t have good visuals, if you don’t have good engaging content, you would never keep up. Content doesn’t have to be as hard as people think it does. It is a simple as coming up with a visual brand strategy, which is, “What are my passions? What are my talking points? You’re a coach, what do you want to talk about? Do you want to talk about money? Do you want to talk about motivation? You want to talk about planning?” Say these are your three social media pillars. First of all, you identify those passions, you identify the talking points around those passions.

We have done a brand strategy for the conference that I run, the Travel Bootcamp. It’s a good account for you to go and look at if you’re curious about doing this for your own business because this has been orchestrated, this is not an accidental account like mine was. We’ve got these talking points. We’ve got these pillars. You need to come up with the content. If you’re not a photographer or if it’s not a photography account, a lot of people think that Instagram is for photographers, but it’s not all, it’s for any content creator whatsoever. If you don’t want to use photographs, you can use quote cards, but the design has to be sexy. We use Canva for our designs. You can use video. Video is what you should be used as a coach. You need to get your face our there as much as possible. Sharing utility content and utility content is content that helps people that are free.

Obviously, the knowledge that you have is astounding, but you don’t have the capacity to go and film and yourself doing it. Hire a videographer. In one day, they can probably do 30-minute tutorials, have them IGTV format and Instagram format and start posting them. You want to do video, photos, quote cards. You don’t have to do your own photos, you can hire people, use stock, use user a generated content. You could do more with Live, that’s another great aspect of the platform where you literally go live and talk to the camera. Some of the best business entrepreneurs, Gary Vee, Kerry Wood from Australia, they’re doing this.

They’ve put in and had a lot of content all the time, that’s useful to people. You have your brand strategy, you’ve got your passion points, talking points, your pillars. You start to collect exceptional content around what it is that you’re talking about and then you need to post that consistently. Consistency is a big Instagram. You need to be showing up preferably daily and you need to be engaging with your community and talking with your community. To some, it’s a bit of work but a lot of it can be planned in advance. Getting all of the content, using some planning platform. We use one called Planoly for the Travel Bootcamp. I still do mine organically on my own Instagram.

You can plan all this out a couple of weeks, a few weeks in advance or you can hire someone to do it for you. It comes down to the matter of engaging. You can look at that as networking. Whatever word you want to put on it, you are meeting people that share the same interest as you. If you for example, wanted to look for the audience that is interested in coaching, you would find a dozen other coaches that do similar things to you. Go and have a look at their audience, have a look at who is engaging with their content. Start conversations with those people. They’re already interested. They already share the same interest as you and they should convert and come over pretty easily to your platform.

I love these tips. This is good. While I originally thought we would be talking about photography, we are talking about some of the coolest business tactics I’ve heard in a long time. I’m not an Instagrammer. I already admit it, I did a terrible job at trying to create my own account, but what Lauren has shared is priceless. I’m blown away by how powerful the tips you’re sharing are Lauren and I’m pleased that I have you here. At this point, we’re going to transition to a different part of the show. We know a little bit about you. We know that you’re pregnant, you live in Australia and you started this as a hobby, but there’s a deeper you and that’s part of what of these questions are about. Here’s the first question. Who, in all of space and time, would you like to have a one-hour chat with to enjoy a walk in the park, a quick lunch or an intense conversation with?

FTC 166 | Social Media Influencer

Social Media Influencer: Travel can be hugely motivating. You grow so much through travel and the people that you meet and cultures that you see.

 

I didn’t pre-think about this one but as soon as you said it, I thought that my answer is Buddha. I’ve been going through quite a transformational year. I’m working with coaches myself and I’m doing a lot with personal development and with mindset. Obviously, I’m quite a high-performance business person and I’m trying to get passed my limitations to be the best that I can. It’s been interesting. I’m quite interested in philosophy and I’m interested in happiness and what it means and what drives people. For me, I identified that what drives me is growth. I want to be growing, I want to be bigger than my emotions. I don’t want to let them control me. I want to be more conscious of everything and that would be a conversation that would be grounding, humbling and insightful.

I’ve climbed up to the top on one of his temples in Bhutan, it’s called Tiger’s Nest. I didn’t realize that I had altitude sickness and about maybe 15,000 feet from the top or less, I collapsed and had the monks carry me to the top which I thought was wonderful because I didn’t understand a word of the language. They knew I wanted to get there so they helped me. It was great. I love your story and I love who you would like to spend that time with. That’s incredible. The next question is the grand finally question. It’s the change the world question. What is it that you were doing now or would like to do that truly has the potential to literally change the world?

A big sticking point when it comes to changing the world is thinking that one person can make a difference. That comes down to thinking small which comes down to your childhood and everything that you know. Travel can be hugely motivating. You grow so much through travel and the people that you meet, the cultures that you see. Through my travels, I was fortunate to start to meet people that were making a difference, often and quite a small way.

One example is this French man that I met in Borneo. He relocated to Borneo because he was originally there to do some work with orangutans and he had noticed that this foundation was hosting some sun bears and the sun bears were these accidents, byproduct animal that was coming in because of deforestations. Orangutans were the main focus and the sun bears were coming in. He noticed they have these awful living conditions and he decided to move to Borneo to build a better facility for the sun bears. They are an animal that is not eligible for release back to the wild, they don’t survive and he wanted them to have a better quality of life. He changed his entire life to go to Borneo to build an enclosure for sun bears at this foundation.

I couldn’t believe that he would offer his entire life for this one group of animals in this one part of the world. It was before that originally but I met a man in Zimbabwe when I was there. He had seen how bad the poaching was in Zimbabwe and how political it was, how the corruption was stretching up to the very upper reaches of government. He has made the decision in this one part of the world, this very small corner of the world in Lake Kariba. He had made the decision to start this anti-poaching patrol to try to bring back the numbers or elephants which had dropped 85% in the last years. He did it old school. He got an anti-poaching crew together, he started doing forensics. They started carrying gunpower. They got support from the government. The difference that they made in that area was astounding. The elephant numbers have exceeded what they once were. There’s little poaching in the area.

They have saved the animals in that one part of the world. Other animals were starting to come back. It’s amazing. I was having these experiences and thinking one person can make a difference. You feel so small and you feel you can’t do anything, but one man is saving these sun bears and one man is controlling poaching in this big part of Zimbabwe. That was when I started to believe in the possibilities of what people could do and something that I want to do and something I am doing. I’ve started doing this year is making a difference in Zimbabwe. In a couple of different ways, I want to shed light on the fact that Zimbabwe is a struggling economy and the tourism dollars make a big difference. I’ve personally seen that difference. I’ve seen people that come from nearby villages that wouldn’t have had worked were it not from my visit because there are few tourists in Zimbabwe.

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I’ve seen my partner’s family and the very few opportunities that they have are open to them. I’ve seen the problems with poaching where it’s a situation the animals are worth more dead than alive. I made the decision that I wanted to try help and I started running some tours there. I brought two groups of six people over, quite a high-end two-week tour where I was simultaneously teaching them my thoughts of that conservation how it’s not as easy as we think like, “Just don’t kill elephants.” Tell that to someone that can’t feed their family. Showing them how people are surviving over there and how difficult it is with the economy, inflation. I don’t know if you read much about international politics and Zimbabwe is in a bad way at the moment. The work that I’ve started to do will continue to do our over there. The fact that I’m pregnant we want to raise our child partly in Zimbabwe. We want to be over there making a difference and that is something that will be a big part of my life.

That’s an amazing story. To me, the message is very clear. You can change the world all by yourself. You don’t need an army, a government. You have to want to do it about as badly as Lauren does. I love that you talked about that because it’s rare that a single human being will take the time, the initiative and the rearrangement of their life to do something as powerful and as genuine and as giving like that. Thank you for sharing that story. Now, we get to the special part of the show that all of the readers are waiting for and that’s, “What is the free giveaway?” Lauren, what do you got for my readers? I know you have something nice.

It is a PDF, it’s some Instagram tips that I’ve put together. The purpose of these tips is to show people not to overthink their Instagram. There’re three key things that you could do, and that has great content, be consistent, show up and engage. Look at it as a community. My little PDF has some tips that will help obviously kick start your Instagram journey or breathe new life into it if you’re not doing it very well.

If your Instagram tips are anything like the content you shared in a quick fifteen minutes with my readers on this episode, I’m sure they’re going to be amazing. Thank you in advance from all of us for offering those tips and making them available.

It is my pleasure.

Thank you. The thing that I wanted to bring out here is that, I’m touched by the idea that you can do something for anyone right now by deciding to do it. I want to encourage readers, if you made a decision after reading what Lauren said, whatever that decision was, tell me. I’d love to hear it. In fact, you can go and click Speak to Mitch and literally on your phone tell me what it is your reaction to this show was and some of the decisions you made. Lauren, when I get them, I promise I will share them with you too.

Thank you.

It’s my pleasure. Lauren, thanks again for everything that you’ve shared. I can’t wait until we get a chance to talk again soon.

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