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One of the great pleasures of working on a start-up is laughing your way through the discovery process as you tackle new tools and platforms to leverage your brand. On that note, I thought I’d laugh my way through this fun little post on my newly discovered tactics for how to market yourself and attract followers on Instagram.
I should start off by saying that while I consider myself fairly savvy in the social media world, I humbly gained a majority of the real tips and tricks of Instagram from… middle schoolers. Although I’m still in my 20′s and one of the younger gift industry entrepreneurs, I perhaps for the first time felt old through this discovery process as I watched pre-teens walk me through their favorite and most effective Instagram Apps on Youtube. One girl in particular had a folder of six different photo editing type apps specifically for Instagram that she walked me through via her Youtube video.
I believe Instagram more than any other social network requires an entrepreneur to be a “strategic narcissist.” It’s fascinating quite how large the search results are for the keywords “help me get followers on instagram.” And I would bet that the majority of people conducting these types of searches are not interested in creating marketing tactics relating to anything other than personal popularity. There are also search inquiries like, “how to get followers without liking back.” Everyone wants to be “instafamous” and if you are developing a brand, both personal and professional, it is in your best interest to up your PR with Instagram too. So, here’s what I’ve learned:
How Can I Get Instagram Followers?
The best way to get fast results is to follow the hashtag strategies outlined below. If your goal on Instagram is simply to become the most popular human in the digital world, the hashtag tactics listed below will get you there. If you are really building a brand, you need a combination of the hashtag strategy and the long term strategy…
Long Term Engagement:
Obviously the goal for a business professional using Instagram is not to populate one’s profile with thousands of irrelevant users. The long term, time consuming strategy with Instagram is to treat it like you would any other social platform – engage your audience in conversation. That means comment on posts. Most people don’t take the time to engage their followers this way on Instagram. It is far more standard to “like” a photo. And while this works in the short term strategy, it does not help you create a targeted audience. So, like you would on Twitter, engage Instagram users of influence who are in your target market. Look up hashtags related to your brand, industry and demographic. Engage those people. Not only are those people more likely to follow you back, they will be more likely to engage with your content beyond “likes.”
Hashtags and Instagram
There are two basic strategies utilizing hashtags on Instagram:
1. Popular hashtag categories for your photo.
Most people know this tip. You can download apps like Tagstagram which will allow you to copy and paste 30 hashtags that are popular and related to the topic of your post. This will boost your visibility and will attract more “likes” than if you only utilize a handful of hashtags. The real tip here is to delete your comment with your 30 hashtags and replace them with another set within a few hours for an extra dose of visibility. Now you’re really an Instagram warrior. Like, well on your way to instafamous.
2. Search #new and popular hashtags and go on a liking spree.
Now this tip I learned straight from the youngest of youtubers. It’s under their strategy for “how to get followers without following” aka how can I make myself look famous and more popular than I am without showing I reciprocated. That’s a fun one. This tactic involves searching for hashtags like “follow” or “like” and then going down the list and liking every photo in your stream. I don’t know who has all day to like 300 photos at a time, but these savvy Instagram gurus can show you first hand the benefits to taking 20-30 min out of your day to liking this many photos. Their tried and true logic is that if you like 300 photos, a percentage of those users are bound to be flattered by your engagement, think you are genuinely interested and some will follow you back. A larger percentage will “like” a photo to reciprocate, but this is essentially the premier youth strategy for gaining tremendous growth of “real followers” without having to necessarily follow them back.
Lastly, all Instagram advice givers end with the same note:
If you enjoyed this information, please #follow me on Instagram <3 @elanajolle @ejhbrand
I had the great honor of speaking on the Career Discovery Panel at Milken Community High School yesterday! As a Milken alum ‘03, it was a very special experience and an opportunity to connect and give back to a community that has had a tremendous influence on developing my world view and outlook on life.
During the morning program, I met with different groups of high school seniors who were specifically interested in the design field. We talked about EJH, product design, manufacturing, the challenges of running a business and I asked them about their interests; where they saw themselves going next year. Who did they want to become in life after Milken?
Interestingly, the question most often turned back to me was, “When and how did you know that this is what you wanted to do?” I realized that many of these students weren’t yet sure what they wanted to study or if they did, weren’t sure if they were choosing a path that would limit them, or worse, that they wouldn’t like it in the end or know what to do with it.
Well. This is familiar. And there I was, right there with them, back in senior year!
And in that moment, I also felt a distinct sense of a decade gone by. I was in a completely different mental space, as one would hope to be ten years out of high school, past that particularly daunting career question and I genuinely felt I had advice to share that I wish someone would have imparted to me in a clear and resounding way.
I told them that it’s ok to not know what you want to do in high school. Being the creative type with all sorts of hobbies and talents, I always had a hard time envisioning myself in one career. It was definitely something that bothered me when I applied to college because I didn’t feel “tracked” in one particular field. I was a theater kid in high school. I loved theater. But did I want to study acting for the rest of my life? I didn’t know.
I also explained to them that if you would have told me in high school that I would be doing what I’m doing now I might have laughed at you. In college, I switched majors three times, finally picked Art History my junior year and then didn’t make the leap to start my business until a couple years out of college. I told them that you feel like there’s a rush but there isn’t one.
I shared with them what has taken me almost a decade out of high school to fully grasp:
Find what you’re passionate about. If you’re not sure, try what interests you. If you don’t like it, that’s ok, remove the pressure and try something else. Find the people who will build you up, who value you and what you’re doing. Have a positive attitude. Find your niche. Find your people.
As the morning came to a close, I was asked to take a step aside and answer a few questions more formally about my involvement in the event. What advice do I have for students? How has Milken influenced my life years later? Talk about community involvement and being here at career day.
My advice to the students was everything I wrote above. The answer about Milken, which I’m sure I expressed less articulately in the moment was as follows:
Milken is a place that provides students with so much more than a quality education.
As I drove up that very familiar hill up to the sanctuary that morning, I drove past different signs and posters all relating to Jewish life. The one that caught my eye particularly said “Hineni” in big letters which means “I am fully present.” Why was I here? I wanted to joke, “Didn’t you see the poster?”
Milken is passionate about creating well rounded students that will leave their Milken career with a strong foundation of values and a world view that compels action and participation. Be present. Be involved. Be generous with your time and spirit. You know…hineni…
While I rarely share with people the influence of my Jewish education on my business, I must admit, it’s ever present. As an entrepreneur, there’s a great need for self motivation and it’s not an accident that my go to reminder phrase for moving mountains and taking on impossible challenges is “Im Tirzu.” If you will it, it is not a dream. It’s a “can do” attitude, the same one I was trying to impart to the students.
What I hope I relayed in that quick interview was that Milken sets the stage for self discovery in adulthood and lays the foundation for a young person to connect back to the community in their own time. That’s a heck of a lot more than a college prep education!
Favorite question of the day:
“How do you get street cred. if you’re just starting out and haven’t accomplished anything?”
My response: One, you make up for it by charming them with your positive enthusiasm for what you’re doing and two, just say you’re in development. When in doubt, you’re in development.
EJH ❤ Milken
I thought it would be fun to start off the New Year with some work related resolutions.
1. Breathe. Sounds obvious but often overlooked and should come first.
2. Don’t panic if you didn’t accomplish everything you thought you would by 9:30 am. The fact that you have this concern means you’re already seriously productive anyway.
3. You don’t have to be superwoman all the time. Most of the time will do.
4. Have more lunches with friends. This was productive last year for two reasons. One you force in a meal and two you get to see your friends.
5. Eat. Workaholics sometimes forget to do this.
Happy New Year!!
The first post I wrote for EJH Behind the Brand began, “I have spent countless hours in meetings, on planes, phone calls, at trade shows, feverishly reading, learning and observing, absorbing as much insight as I could into the worlds of art, business, retail, manufacturing, marketing, all in preparation for this journey that I’m taking to create a brand that I can be proud of.”
That post was titled “Reflection of 2011 and the First Steps of a Journey.” A full year has passed since that inaugural post and as I reread what I wrote, I smile to myself when I look back on the year and reflect on how I’ve grown as a business owner, product developer, creative thinker and as an individual.
I realize, 2011 was the search for an identity. For me, 2012 was about guts. It was the year of fearlessness. Don’t be afraid to show the world who you are and what you can do. You can move mountains. There is always a way.
It was the year I launched an unknown brand in one of the most competitive international gift fairs in New York, pitched an undeveloped candle line to Hallmark and presented for a top hospitality design firm. We launched our pillows on One King’s Lane. We’ll be launching on JPSelects and DesignPublic in January.
It was a year of pushing too hard and not hard enough. Learning Balance. Still learning. Looking for open doors and creating doors to walk through. It was a year of philanthropic outreach and community. To quote Grandma Bess, “Who says not?”
I’ve learned that it is nobody’s business to define your potential. It’s on you.
I am excited for 2013. Excited to see what I will learn, how I will grow, how I will navigate in uncharted waters. This is the blessing of entrepreneurship.
As I embark on a new year, new chapter, new challenges, I want to take a moment to thank everyone who has supported me on this path by liking, sharing, retweeting and commenting on my work! For supporting me before I even had product to show!
Thanks to those who’ve taken a chance on a new brand and have adorned your couches with EJH throws and gifted your friends EJH Luxe for the holidays! And what a great feelings to see all your friends walking around sporting EJH temporary tattoos! I have always believed it takes a village to build a brand. Thank you so much for all the love and support.
Wishing you a Happy Holiday and a Happy New Year!
We did our first holiday boutique! What a fun way to present the brand for the holidays and raise money for Heal the Bay! We spent a few days prepping and loading up a truck load of candles, pillows, stationary and prints… This was the first time the public had an opportunity to buy EJH Luxe before it is available in stores and I’m thrilled to say we sold out of all the Nectarine Mint!
Setting up for events can be so labor intensive but a tremendous opportunity for creativity. I spent a good amount of time putting together arrangements of fresh tuberose and white hydrangeas with accents of dried lavender around the display. Between the eight arrangements of flowers and boxes upon boxes of product, we certainly had our hands full! It’s amazing how much man power goes into setting up for a boutique show.
The flowers were a nice touch and really added to the decor, although we did notice a fair amount of ladies requesting our tuberose candle. We don’t have a tuberose candle… but please try the Wild Rose! It’s really fresh and a new spin on a classic!
“I only want tuberose,” one woman said. “It was in my wedding!” Note to self, only display flowers that are featured in the collection.
We also had a blast sneaking over to visit our good friends Savour This Moment who were sampling signature sauces in the other room! If you’re looking for farm fresh cuisine, look no further than Marlene Bernstein, one of the most talented and inspiring chefs I know.
My favorite moment from this event actually followed just after the show… I received a call from a man I’ve never met before who said that his wife had her eye on my chimp print! A dedicated husband, he had called the Bel Air Bay Club to get my phone number so that he could purchase the Chimp 8”x10” Limited Edition Print and surprise his wife for Christmas! How romantic for a man to buy a piece of art for his wife.
It is moments like those that remind me how special it can be to have a product based business. When a perfect stranger chooses to buy your creative work to gift to his love, there are few moments more gratifying.
Last night, EJH Brand made it’s debut on One King’s Lane! We have three out of five decorative pillows from the Wildlife Collection featured in “Neutrals with a Twist.” I’m so thrilled about this partnership with OKL!
I met the founder of One King’s Lane, Susan Feldman, at a SMARTY event over the summer where she, Wende Zomnir of Urban Decay, and Jen Bilik of Knock Knock spoke about entrepreneurship. I have such great respect for these women entrepreneurs. So inspiring!
I was thrilled when Susan came by the EJH booth at the New York International Gift Fair in August and put me in touch with her buyers. OKL is a great opportunity to showcase EJH Brand among some of the biggest names in luxury home goods to an audience of 5.5 million! This is a new level of exposure for EJH and I can’t wait to see what sort of relationships will develop from this opportunity!!!
For a limited time, you can snag some EJH pillows at an outstanding discount, just check out:
The first collection of limited editions for this year totals out to 1,825 individual pieces plus a certain number of artist’s proofs. That’s 1,825 limited editions that need to be touched up, signed, numbered, embossed, and then another 1,825 of signed certificates of authenticity. One by one, by me, no one else.
What you see above is number 2/250. So far I’ve spent two hours touching up the first 8×10 “Leopard” print and now have just about wrapped up on the second. When I’m finished, it will be embossed and signed, that being the mark of the artist’s approval.
I have to confess, I did not realize that I would be spending this much time finishing up an 8×10 print but I think that is part of the deception of smaller works: you’d think they take less time but they actually take longer when you zoom in on the details. Combine that with being a person who obsesses over the details. The plight of a perfectionist.
The beauty here is that even though I have countless hours ahead of me refining the line work for these prints, ultimately, this extra time meticulously working on the prints increases their value and also makes them the next best choice to owning the original work.
These limited edition art prints are so much the result of a handcrafted process. Every collector of the Wildlife Collection will have an individually hand-pulled print (no digital printing here!) that has then been personally worked over at length by the artist and then signed, numbered, and embossed. This process makes each print a unique work of it’s own.
It is in this spirit that we’ve made our tagline.. fancy prints for savvy collectors...
We hope you’ll agree!!
To be the first to know about our limited edition release date, like us at www.facebook.com/EJHBrand
Last night, while I was out enjoying a burger at The Honor Bar in Beverly Hills, I was asked by a new acquaintance what the greatest challenge has been over the last two years with EJH Brand. It was so interesting when she asked because I realized in that moment that no one has ever asked me that question in casual conversation. Equally interesting to me was how quickly I was able to answer.
Manufacturing. Vendors. A subject I have held back for months to write about because to do so would mean walking a fine line between telling the honest truth and breaking one of my biggest self-imposed blogging rules which is not to write negative posts about anyone. Still, it’s a passionate hot topic for me regarding my business and that is what this blog is about- to give insight into who I am, what I’m going through, and how this business has come to be.
So then, the challenge of this post: How to discuss this topic gracefully? Suppressing the urge to shout from the hilltops how it feels to have a vendor suddenly skip town to Mexico while they are supposed to be in production for your product, or when a vendor delivers three weeks past their deadline, when someone makes a mistake and blames it on you, how people aim to take advantage of you as a startup and treat you differently because you’re female, 5’4 and smiley.
These are the blog posts that I’ve been writing in my mind. That’s the real dirt. It happens in every business and it’s not traditional or favorable for a luxury brand to divulge the details. Still, my inclination towards transparency is stronger than my desire for appearances. My business will succeed, not because I’ve been thrown so many curve balls, but because I’ve learned to overcome them; because I work hard and believe in what I’m doing.
So, I think that the best way to continue this post is really to leave the dirt behind, rise above it and talk about the positive outcomes that have resulted from the chaos. Many successful entrepreneurs have said: you don’t learn from success, you learn from failure.
And to that effect, the difficult experiences that I have had through this process have taught me immeasurably. Had my first go at production turned out the way I planned, I wouldn’t know half as much about the details involved in manufacturing. When something goes wrong, your attention is brought to the source of the problem and therein lies the challenge to solve it. Through the challenge is tremendous growth.
My pursuit of quality has taken me through a sea of vendors, each bringing their own challenges which have in turn pushed me to seek even better quality, efficiency, and cost. After each frustration, I’ve leaped one step closer to my end goal. I refuse to sacrifice on the integrity of my brand. I don’t fear sharing these challenges because I know that it will only show my commitment to this company and what is has to offer.
At the end of the day, the quality of the work has been improved upon and perfected one step further after each and every setback.
When this woman asked me my greatest challenge, there was no hesitation whatsoever. The entire process has not been easy, but I can turn this experience into an opportunity to reflect on personal growth, persistence, and the commitment that I have made to create a product line that truly reflects my aspirations for EJH Brand.
Earth Day has a different meaning for different people but for me it is really an opportunity to self reflect on how we interact with our environment; to take stock of the efforts we’ve made, the lack there of, where we might improve and acknowledging the opportunity and power within ourselves to make small changes to help the greater good.
For those who don’t reflect that heavily on a spirited day like Earth Day, hanging out at a local festival is the perfect way to celebrate the earth and spend the afternoon. (You can also go see the Lorax in theaters. Protect those trees!)
As I take a moment to reflect on my lifestyle habits… do I recycle? yes.
avoid harsh chemicals that contaminate the earth and my body when I make purchasing decisions? yes…
do I turn off the faucet sooner or take shorter showers to conserve water? errrr… um.. guilty.
Clearly, there’s always room to improve!
As a small business owner, I am very aware of environmental impact and try to keep it in mind when making big decisions. Making changes as a business is a process but I feel that taking inventory of good and bad choices is helpful in progressing towards a more earth friendly company.
I’ve always drawn on recycled paper and as I’ve been working on product development, I’ve definitely made an effort to use sustainable fabric with our pillows and eco-friendly vegan wax made from coconuts with our candles. Our stationary is letterpressed on to 100% cotton so there were no trees involved there… it’s also chlorine free. Same goes for the limited editions. On the scale of eco-friendly businesses, I think we’d rank fairly well.
Still, there’s room to make changes. I’m a visual person (an artist after all!) and I’m also very tactile which makes me resistant to going paperless on statements and important documents. Admittedly, I have switched over to paperless on some accounts and I use Bento to make online databases, but I honestly find it harder for me to stay organized when I can’t physically flip through the pages… no one’s perfect!
Ultimately, Earth Day is not about criticism (unless it’s directed at the havoc created by the agriculture industry) Instead it is about taking a moment to appreciate the beauty of the world around us, to remind ourselves about finite resources and to take into consideration our impact on the environment. Did you know that by 2050 most polar bears will disappear? The world is ever-changing but it’s never too late to make a difference. Happy Earth Day!!