Tips and tricks from Palmerston North's top Instagram users

Palmerston North woman Julie McEwen promotes fashion, skincare and make-up products to her 30,000 followers on Instagram.
DAVID UNWIN/FAIRFAX NZ

Palmerston North woman Julie McEwen promotes fashion, skincare and make-up products to her 30,000 followers on Instagram.

Cyber stars making it big on Instagram have shared their tips and tricks on how to get thousands of followers.

From 1000 followers to 30,000 in just over one year, Julie McEwen said frequent posts and interaction was all part of the online game.

McEwen's Instagram started gaining traction when a photographer approached her after seeing her profile.

Ryan Meta says interacting with Instagram followers and posting pictures three times a day is key to gaining followers.
SUPPLIED

Ryan Meta says interacting with Instagram followers and posting pictures three times a day is key to gaining followers.

After a few modelling shoots, more businesses spotted her and it grew from there, the Palmerston North woman said.

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It wasn't all plain sailing for McEwen to begin with. She said "you find out who your true friends are" when trying to make a career out of Instagram.

"It affected a lot of my friendships. People were taking my excitedness for boasting.

"It was hard, but it was worth it."

 

Shooting for @rochelle_goodrick @mgm.i 📸

A post shared by JULIE ღ (@juliemcewenx) on

When McEwen started gaining followers she approached businesses suggesting the she could promote their products on Instagram.

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Businesses then began sending her cosmetics and skincare products. She receives about 15 new offers every month.

At first, McEwen promoted every product she was given, but she has reached a point where she can be selective.

"I don't want to be promoting stuff that I personally don't find good."

McEwen, who now studies in Wellington, started off in Palmerston North and said it did not matter where Instagram users were based.

Shannon Harris, who is also from Palmerston North, has 1.5 million followers on Instagram and was named one of 10 global beauty influencers in the Forbes' inaugural list in April.

Harris said living in Palmerston North was "not limiting at all".

"I think success on social media has nothing to do with your location, and everything to do with your content, quality and personality."

The hardest thing coming from a smaller city was attending brand events, she said.

"For someone growing their audience online, it's a great idea to attend events to network, but can be difficult when you are located so far away and its also expensive to travel."

Despite the challenge people should not be deterred because it was possible to grow an online presence from anywhere, Harris said.

"Anyone can do what I do, with a lot of hard work and perseverance."

Palmerston North man Ryan Meta hoped that perserverance would help his following grow.

 

Obviously getting a wee bit mad at the wind 🌬

A post shared by S T U F F. I. L I K E (@ryanmeta) on

Meta posts at 8am, 2pm and 8pm to target countries at peak times.

His followers have tripled to 4500 since his first post more than one year ago, which he said happened when Harris tagged him in a photo shoot they worked together on.

To get more followers, Meta uses plenty of hash-tags when he is wearing certain clothing brands or promoting skincare products.

Meta also tries to promote self-empowerement as a point of difference and portrays people other than "a guy with a six-pack".

Massey University innovation and entrepreneurship professor Lorraine Warren said it was important to show personality and be different to the millions of other people who use Instagram.

"Until we do something very distinctive, it's not necessarily a fast-track to instant stardom."

Making a career out of social media also took skill and education, Warren said.

"Trying to do anything without any experience is attractive and appealing, but although we see a few success stories, we perhaps don't see all the failures."

WHERE AND WHEN IT ALL STARTED:

- Instagram has more than 600 million users worldwide

- It began in 2010

- It was founded by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger

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