One of the most complicated questions that I get asked is, what is my job? I’ve made my mark by coming out as “Australia’s first professional instagrammer” but I’ve done that through my photography, by learning about destination marketing and through networking and business. So I’ve decided that today I’m going to write an article that really explains my job and also gives you an idea of some of the career opportunities that are possible through Instagram.
One of my smaller clients is Local Tourism Organization Noosa.
Originally I quit my job as a chef because I saw that there was potential to work as a digital influencer in the tourism industry, using Instagram as my main platform of “influence”. I hate using the word influencer because I don’t want my online community to ever think that I’m trying to make them do something, that I’m advertising to them. After all, originally I was just after was a way to make a living through my three passions; travel, photography and social media.
Showing off my own backyard with Gold Coast Tourism.
Before too long I realized that the work I was doing was very valuable to the destinations I was visiting. I was exposing some very unknown places to a wide global audience and I was doing this using my own images and words. Some destinations can’t afford expensive marketing campaigns and sophisticated digital agencies but they have a product that deserves to be seen. With my genuine love for travel it was an absolute pleasure to show off some of the smallest blips on the map and promote passionate operators in these regions.
Promoting the Grampians National Park on a small campaign I put together.
From my earliest jobs I wanted to learn more, provide more value and ensure that even the smallest local tourism board could afford to work with me. That has always been at the heart of my business. But I also wanted to diversify! I was being approached to take part in campaigns that I didn’t think would work or I was going on trips that could have been done better. I started to think about pitching and managing my own small campaigns. With my knowledge of Instagram, Instagrammers, destinations and PR I tried some smaller jobs and worked my way up. In December last year I was the project manager for a 25 person Australian marketing campaign in Dubai and I feel confident that I can take on anything now!
Shooting for Voyages Uluru, Instagram is a great tool for brand awareness campaigns.
Aside from the digital influencer work and the campaign work I was putting together I wanted to do more! Reach more people, help others, form more meaningful relationships, crack the international market and strengthen existing client relationships. I decided that whatever I was asked to do I would try out and I found myself agreeing to all sorts of scary things like public speaking, hosting workshops and consultancy. I made an effort to speak to the media, mentor up and coming instagrammers and approach more challenging clients whilst still remaining completely transparent to my friends, clients and followers.
Timing campaigns around events can provide even more value; the Cairns Ironman Festival in Queensland was one of my favorite jobs last year.
This year has marked a big milestone for me, I’m in my third year of full time work and both my personal brand and my profession are being taken a lot more seriously. People that are aspiring to work in my industry are approaching me on a daily basis and I am taking the time to nurture and encourage their pursuits. I think that there is a lot of potential and value in Instagram marketing, when it’s done well!
Flight center Australia helped my mum and I travel to France, I sit down and chat “unofficial” social strategy with them every chance I get.
So I want to wrap this up by highlighting some of the steps I have taken to advance my career and give you some pointers on how to get into a job like mine!
Red hot digital agency “Circul8” wanted to do an Instagram campaign in Fiji and came to me for advice. It was an amazing success.
Evolving my business, some of the new avenues I have explored:
- Pitching and hosting small-scale campaigns. For example in the Grampians national park and for Voyages Uluru.
- Pitching and hosting larger international campaigns. Bringing international influencers to Australia on behalf of local tourism boards. For example the Cairns Ironman festival in Queensland.
- Partnering with clients in more meaningful ways. Did you know that I am an official ambassador, a “mate”, of the Northern Territory?
- Working locally. I’m currently hosting monthly Photo Meet’s in my own backyard with Gold Coast Tourism and they are going brilliantly!
- Workshops and Public Speaking. I can reach more people and teach them what I’ve learned when I talk to a larger audience.
- Consultancy and ongoing relationships. I believe in giving information with no thought of reward to form ongoing client relationships. I regularly teach workshops to even my smallest clients at no extra cost.
- Approaching and working with international clients. Tourism Finland was the first tourism board to take a chance on me from a cold pitch and I’m happy to say I’ll be back this year.
As a mate of the Northern Territory I travel to some of the most remote and incredible places, like Bremer Island in East Arnhem Land.
How can you use Instagram to get a job like mine?
- Use Instagram because you love it! I can’t stress this tip enough! You are never going to be successful if you’re only in it for yourself. I LOVE my Instagram community and often sit online until my hands ache and my eyes blur.
- Be realistic about what makes you an influencer! I know a lot of photographers with amazing images who don’t put the effort in to get to know their community. A community is a two way street, an influencer needs to feel like an old friend.
- You need a lot of eyes on you to prove yourself out here. On the above point I also know a lot of passionate and engaged Instagram users that just don’t have high enough numbers to be valuable.
- Be aggressive in your endeavor’s to find work. Think clearly about what you’re offering and be prepared to justify yourself a LOT.
- Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Offering numerous skills and reach outside of Instagram is hugely valuable in the tourism industry.
- Develop a thick skin! The fields of travel photography, commercial photography, tourism and marketing are all hugely popular and there are people out there who won’t be happy for your success. Accept that you can’t please everybody all the time and keep your focus on your work and your clients.
- Finally, give back! Social media has the word social in it for a reason! Be social and give back. If you’re lucky enough to be working at what you love, help others to realize their dreams too.
My work helps to raise awareness of different cultures and religions. These are some of my Australian instagrammers in Dubai.
Good luck out there!
One of the coolest gigs I’ve landed that started with an email, Finland.