With a constant stream of Facebook posts, YouTube footage and tweets filling our online world every day, it takes genuine creativity and X-factor to stand out amongst the rest.
Despite it's competitive nature to shine, the beauty of social media is it’s an even playing field. Anyone and everyone has the ability to catapult themselves into the online stratosphere, and Kiwis are no exception.
“You can now talk just as easily to your fans and followers in New York as Te Kuiti,” says Wendy Thompson, founder of social media agency Socialites. “As a country that is physically remote this is a great advantage.”
Keeping up with the Solas
Wendy touts two examples: Shaaanxo from Palmerston North with over 1.75m followers, and Jamie’s World from Napier who has over 10m, but another up and coming Facebook page is Serenity (16) and Faith (22) Sola’s Keeping up with the Solas.
The sisters from Manukau, Auckland started the page in March 2013 when they were bored waiting for church and thought, “why don’t we start a page?” It’s now verging on 100,000 followers.
“We started off with posting funny memes and videos,” Serenity says. “In our first three weeks, we had 10,000 likes each week. People started recognising us in public, asking for photos and autographs.”
When asked why she thinks it grew so fast, Serenity says the key is being genuine and real.
“We aren't the skinniest or the prettiest but we are confident in our own skin and embrace our flaws. We love to make fun of ourselves and see the funny things in life.”
The sisters say having a large following has made them aware of the influence they hold and want to be positive role models.
“We never swear and stay away from negative messages, memes, and posts. We just do us.
“We regularly get messages from people who have said our posts have literally seen them not commit suicide.”
The Solas’ advice to any up-and-coming social media wannabes: be yourself and know your audience!
“Pay attention to when the most people are on Facebook. For us that’s time is 9-10pm so we usually always post then. Videos are more popular than photos in terms of interaction, but photos tend to get more likes.”
A Petite Kitchen
Another local social media success story is Eleanor Ozich’s Petite Kitchen.
The 26-year-old from Auckland started her blog in 2012 as a personal diary to document her family’s journey to better health.
“I first started posting images of food on my personal Facebook page. My family and friends urged me to start a blog so that they could try out some of the recipes. It was during this time that I also set up a Petite Kitchen fan page on Facebook.”
She soon realised having good photos was key to getting readers.
“I splashed out on a more expensive camera, and really working on my photography skills which made a huge difference to the quality of my blog site.”
Her online following began to gather momentum. “Within 6 months of starting the blog, my Facebook page had around 10,000 followers, and I was receiving at least 2,000 page views on the blog per day.
“I loved the feeling of almost creating a 'community'. It became a wonderful space to share tips, ideas and recipes.”
The mother-of-two tries to post on Facebook and Instagram most days, and share a recipe one to two times a week.
“The blog has opened many doors for me, which I believe would not have been possible through traditional ways of networking. Since starting it, I’ve been asked to present at events and cooking shows, and have been offered some amazing opportunities.”
Two such opportunities were writing ‘My Petite Kitchen Cookbook’, and also starting a café called ‘Mondays’ in Kingsland, Auckland with fellow health blogger Hannah Horton.
All this from loading a few photos on her Facebook page.
Authenticity is key
“Successful social media users create authentic content that is just as compelling and emotional as your best friend’s baby photos,” Wendy says.
She says Petite Kitchen and Keeping up with the Solas are great examples of how social media needs to always be genuine.
“Authenticity is a word you’ll hear a lot around social media. With Petite Kitchen and Keeping up with the Solas their content is true to themselves and they are actively involved in the communities they have built up.”