For this month's interview, I had the absolute pleasure of talking to one of my Instagram besties - Helena Malogorski from @helenarawandlifestyle. I met Helena pretty early on in my Instagram journey, and have witnessed her account grow to over 25.000 (!!) followers over the past year.
Apart from being a what I call "ice cream artist" (scroll down her feed and you'll know what I mean by that, Helena has been incredibly successful at creating and growing her brand on Instagram, and part of the reason for her success is her use of video marketing. And this is exactly what this month's interview is all about: finding your theme, staying true to your style, and growing your brand using video. Enjoy!
Your feed is not only incredibly beautiful and creative, but I think something that really stands out is your personal style! What role do you think does “finding your style” play on Instagram?
I think it plays a vital role. Your personal style differentiates you from all other accounts on Instagram, and there is a big competition out there. Dare to be different & unique, and you’ll always have an audience.
I know (from my own experience) that this isn’t something that happens overnight… What would you recommend to other Instagramers out there who are still trying to figure out their own style? Any tips on how to find it?
Ok, first and most important - figure out your "theme" and stick to it. By this, I mean your color theme, as color is the first thing that pops when someone visits your Instagram account. It makes your account more appealing and looks like you put an effort into it. People appreciate this and it somehow makes them click the ‘follow’ button right away. The main tip on how to find your own style is to ask yourself what colors you personally like. If these are the colors that people like on IG (do the research if it’s visually appealing), then go for it. If not, find a compromise between your desires and recent preferences and tastes on IG.
I’ve been following you quite a while already, and I was a witness of the incredible growth of your account over the past year! Your account literally grew from 8k to over 20k followers in a matter of weeks! Talk about going viral… What an amazing achievement! Congratulations!! Now, a little birdie told me that your videos have played quite a big role in this growth, so I wanted to talk a little more about this topic with you… What made you decide to start incorporating videos into your Instagram strategy?
Yes, it grew fast and it was a big surprise! I always try to find new ways to reach more followers, so one day I read an article on how videos are more likely to go viral than pictures and how video has quickly become one of the most impactful ways of speaking to an audience. So I thought, why not? I’ll give it a try on IG, as I already had some of my older videos on my YouTube channel. And it really made a difference! I think it’s because it’s much easier for us to become emotionally attached to something we watch in a video than something we see on a pic or read in an article.
Interesting! I know it can feel a little scary to start posting videos, especially if you’ve never made one before (I’ve been there!). What would you say are the most important aspects to creating a “good” video? (Light? Camera? Equipment?)
Yes, it can be difficult in the beginning. But as the time goes by, you really get used to it :). In my experience, the most important thing is lighting. If you have a bad light, the most expensive camera won’t help you to get a good photo or video. The camera doesn’t have to be expensive, you can take gorgeous photos or film a solid video even with your smartphone (which is a lot easier). But if you use a camera, make sure to invest in a good lens, preferably one with a bokeh.
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Now what if you don’t want to invest a lot of money to start with (because you’re just seeing if it’s really for you…) - how can you create quality videos on a small budget?
First, make sure you have a good natural lighting. One of the best sources of natural light indoors is windows. The closer you are to a window, the more light you will have to use and work with. But, the disadvantage is that not every hour of the day will provide you with great lighting conditions. How can you know when is the best time to shoot by the window? Check at different times throughout the day and see how the light has changed.
(*Note from Carla: usually the best hours are either in the morning before 10am or in the late afternoon before sunset, but it really depends which way your window is facing - figuring out the "right spot" in my house with the best light took me quite a while, but once I did it made such a big difference in the quality of my photos. So Helena is right, you need to find the light!).
Second, find a unique composition. For instance, food videos are most appealing when filmed from above. But you can get creative of course and try other composition techniques.
And third, use an inexpensive video editing software. You can find affordable (or free) programs online that'll make a good job with your videos.
So as far as the technical aspects? What programs would you recommend using? And how/where do you even look for music to add to your video? That’s something I’ve been wondering for a while, actually! :)
I would definitely recommend Premiere Pro. I tried many programs, but I find that Premiere delivers quality results for us independent filmmakers.
Oh, and music, it’s actually very easy - I just go to Youtube Audio Library and find a music for my theme video. The great part is that you don’t have to worry about copyright rights, as long as you pay attention to copyright notification (below every track).
And what does 2017 hold for you and @helenarawandlifestyle? Any big goals for this year?
As my Instagram community plays a big role in my brand at the moment, the biggest goal for me is to hit 100k followers this year. Pretty high expectations, but I’ll do my best to achieve this :).
What's your experience with videos on Instagram? Have you made one yourself yet? IF not, what's holding you back? Let me know in the comments below!