Week 8 Part 2

Visual media is the core of the business I've created. Fashion is, in itself, a visual medium, and the fashion content I create is in the form of photos and videos. The products I sell are also clothing, so showcasing these in a visual medium is integral to the success of my business. I chose 4 example businesses that are in the same field as me in varying sizes. They are businesses who began as a single, social media influencer and have expanded into an entire social media empire (of varying sizes); James Charles, Barefoot Blond, Aspyn Ovard, and Jaci Marie.

James Charles uses the visual aspects of social media to showcase his makeup abilities and sell his clothing line and makeup line. This has definitely been effective for him and his company, as he currently has 15 million followers on Instagram and 15 million subscribers on Youtube. James seems to post about every other day on Instagram, and once a week on Youtube. His audience on Instagram is highly engaged, averaging 2.3 million likes per post and 35,000 comments on a typical post. He seems to post 3-4 times per week, with his last post being two days ago. James does not use hashtags. The interesting thing about James Charles' Instagram account is that he goes for a less polished, more raw look into his life. His Instagram feed features a combination of high quality studio photos, makeup looks, and iPhone selfies. It doesn't matter what he's posting- James has built a loyal enough audience that they engage with everything he does. That's a very important lesson on the value of brand loyalty.

Barefoot Blond began as a blogger, so less to do with the visual aspects of social media and more to do with writing. However, when the creator (Amber Fillerup) expanded into Instagram, that is when her brand really began to explode in popularity. She currently has 1.4 Million followers on her account. She uses Instagram to showcase her line of hair extensions in a very trendy and aesthetically pleasing way. Amber's last Instagram post went up 11 hours ago, and her photos average 50,0000 likes and 270 comments, which is less than 5% of her follower count engaging with her photos. My understanding is that content creators should aim for 10% engagement on Instagram, so this is low in relation to the number of followers the account has. Amber does not use hashtags. The main takeaway I learned from analyzing the Barefoot Blond Instagram presence is that consistency is key- they are posting at least once per day.

Aspyn Ovard began as a Youtuber, now with 3.4 million subscribers, and expanded into Instagram where she found even more success, now boasting 2 million followers. She uses both platforms to showcase her life including pregnancy, fashion, and beauty in a very curated and polished manner. Her last Instagram post was 6 hours ago, and she seems to post every other day on average. Her photos receive around 200-500 comments per post, and around 150,000 likes per photo- with the exception of her pregnancy photos that have a much higher engagement rate and typically exceed 300,000 likes. Aspyn does not use hashtags on her photos. Based on the success Aspyn has had, the biggest take away for me is her consistent use of all of Instagram's visual features that contribute to growth: feed posts, Instagram live, and Instagram stories.

Jaci Marie began as a photographer, who gained popularity for her Instagram photos and has now grown her Instagram-based business to include photo guides, a podcast, merchandising and more, with over 400,000 followers on Instagram. Jaci's success comes entirely from this visual medium- her photos are beautiful, well posed but with a natural feel so this has definitely been an effective strategy for her. She posts on Instagram daily, with her last post going live 11 hours ago. Jaci averages around 30,000 likes per photo, so just under the coveted 10% engagement to followers rate. She doesn't use hashtags, but her finely curated feed is something that I could definitely incorporate more heavily into my own Instagram layout. Every single photo is unique, there are no repeats of the same background but a different pose. Each of her photos is perfectly planned and aesthetically pleasing, but they still look natural and effortless with a level of spontaneity to them, which is very important for a visual medium like Instagram.