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Today, we’re interviewing Orlando Fashion Girl to gain her insight into social media’s secrets and successes. We ALL want to know how she gained those followers and how she plans on keeping them engaged. Here’s our interview with Maria and the secret to her success!
Tell our readers about yourself and your blog
Maria Wyatt Uhl (AKA Orlando Fashion Girl) is a fashion-obsessed public relations professional living in Orlando, Florida. It all started with an Instagram page created to showcased daily outfit choices. Soon it emerged into a brand and a blog. Maria’s style is true minimalist with clean lines and neutral tones. No trends – just classic, good fashion. Orlando Fashion Girl is still Instagram-based but the blog also profiles brands, events, beauty, travel, and lifestyle on its new website OrlandoFashionGirl.net.
Tell us how you first got into blogging.
As a public relations professional, I work with reporters and bloggers all the time as part of my job. Another part of my job was getting up every day to dress the part. I wanted an outlet to showcase my daily fashion choices like a diary. I wanted to show other working, professional women that you can have fun with getting dressed for the office.
How did you establish your “theme” or brand?
I started the Instagram account, hiding my face in all the photos. I did not want anyone to focus on me. It was all about the fashion. Soon I was asked to start hosting fashion events and my followers were finding out who I was. I recently started showing my face here and there on the blog but I still emphasize that fashion is the focus. I also don’t want my blog to come off like an advertisement or a sales pitch. When developing a brand, is important to develop a brand voice and how you want to come across to your followers. Even when collaborating with another brand, I am very conscious of the language that is used so it is not looked at like a paid opportunity.
For your theme or brand, do you have things that you do consistently?
I consistently post on Instagram. I want to keep true to the roots of the brand which is a style diary. I think that the Instagraming world we live in has become too pre-meditated and thought out. I think Orlando Fashion Girl is relatable because not every picture is perfect. Most of them are taken with an iPhone by a friend or my husband, not a photographer.
Where do you find the inspiration for your blog posts?
The inspiration for my blog posts come from my daily outfit choices, new styles that I see, other influencers and magazines. As a public relations professional, I have to keep very up-to-date with trends. I read magazines and other blogs all the time to see what other outlets are doing.
What do you think is the best strategy to get more traffic to your blog?
I am very conscious of the timing of each blog post. I think it is important to strategically plan when you are going to post. I also like to utilize hashtags and paid components when necessary.
What’s your favorite social media platform?
I use Instagram the most as it is a visual platform. I don’t like a ton of copy in my posts as I prefer them to be more visual. I have also been having a lot of fun with Snapchat! I think it is a fun “behind the scenes” view of the experience.
How do you gain followers?
I have developed my following 100% organically. I have never done any paid acquisition campaigns to promote Orlando Fashion Girl. I would have a much bigger following if I did these types of campaigns, but having a massive following was never very important to me. I would love to grow the blog more, but unfortunately, my career has taken up so much time that it does take a backseat a lot of the time.
Once you have the followers, how do you keep them?
I engage my followers by keeping the content fresh and consistent. I also keep abreast of fashion trends and local happenings. I use Orlando Fashion Girl to be informative on topics that my followers want to know about.
How many times a week do you post?
I post on Instagram about four times a week, Twitter and Facebook twice a week and blog posts are usually monthly or a few times a month depending on collaborations/partnerships/events.
Is this a part of your strategy to keep gaining followers or do you post at random?
Yes, gaining and keeping followers is the goal when consistently posting. You want to keep them engaged. Believe me, there are many days where I feel like I don’t have anything to post or nothing fresh to deliver. That is when you have to get creative and make it work.
What are some misconceptions about social media?
I think the misconception about social media is that it has to be a perfect photo. We live in a world when Kim and Kayne’s wedding photo took three days of editing to make perfect. I think that things like that should be left to the professionals. We are not perfect and need to show our imperfections.
Do you have photos taken professionally or do you take them yourself?
I am in the midst of re-launching my website, so those photos I will have taken professionally because they will live there for a long time. For my daily Instagram posts, I just take them on my phone. I don’t think a single social post needs to be a production. We have enough technology at our fingertips now that it can be kept simple. I know my content would look so much better if it was professional, but I don’t want to look too much into it.
What are some tips you can give in order to take a good photo?
Lighting is the most important thing to think about with a good photo. I love to take photos in the morning when the lighting is best and even. I also like to think about the background in a photo. Don’t ever have dirty dishes or laundry in the background. We are not always in a beautifully rustic, scenic setting for photos so make the best of it. Find a blank wall or try a clean flat lay. Also, try to be conscious of your angles when posing in a photo. I am not 100 lbs but I know how to stand and look that way. Work it!
What’s your favorite location to take photos?
My favorite location for photos is outside. I almost never take photos indoors. I love to feature flowers in my photos because they photograph beautifully. I also love an art piece or a cool wall.
How do you find relevant hashtags for your photos?
I use hashtags all the time. I find they are great for reaching new followers. I also use them when looking for inspiration. I search hashtags all the time.
What are your top 3 favorite emojis?
Heart eyes, champagne bottle, and the red dress dancer.
How do you keep your website updated & relevant?
My new site’s home page is a live feed to my Instagram. Since Insta is the base of my brand, I think its best to keep the most current photos living there. Otherwise, I have a content calendar that I update regularly to remind me of posting. I also utilize trends and holidays for content.
What apps would you recommend to our followers?
I use the AP app as a tool to check myself on my AP style. I also utilize Hootsuite for scheduling my posts.
What else do you want to add to help small business owners?
For Orlando Fashion Girl, I think creating a schedule is super helpful. Staying organized is very important. Think of social media like you would any strategic marketing plan. The ROI many not be clear right away. Things like this happen over time, but use it as a way to speak directly to your customers.