We like to get to know our members at InChief, and one such wise woman is Natalie Manu, who joined with her very uplifting, positive and relatable Instagram account. We caught up with Natalie about her social media history and goals, and sunshine was beaming out of our faces by the end of the chat. Enjoy.
Hi Natalie. So your Instagram account is in the early stages, and seems to have had a bit of a transformation this year?
My account started as a personal account – I actually started it to share photos of my son quite a few years ago, you know when you have a child you just want to document everything. I used to be quite shy, so I started with just my son and then my son and daughter… and then I started to show myself a bit more. I found as I slowly decided to throw myself out there, the response was getting better and better. Obviously, everyone likes to see your child, but when they see the person behind the page as well it helps to build that lovely family community on Insta, so it’s just all gone up from there.
You know, this year is clearly bringing a lot of challenges. When lockdown happened and everyone was staying inside and being on the internet, I decided to challenge myself and come out of my shell a bit more.
So asides putting yourself out there more, is there anything else that helped you grow your engagement?
Posting more regularly has definitely helped. It got to the stage before where I was just posting once or twice a week, and I realised I needed to be more consistent. I started posting more and adding in more motherhood related hashtags. I’ve found so many other great accounts through those hashtags, so I just started following them and engaging with their great content. We just all started talking in DMs and formed a little community. Our Stories are all full of so many things we can all relate to, so the conversations kept going. It’s a real community and we support each other.
I’m on a little self love journey right now. As I said, I was always hiding before, and now I know I’ve just gotta love me, and I’m just really trying to work on that and be positive as much as I can be. Even when it’s hard, we’re still here. I’m really, really trying to be positive.
So how much time does that mean you spend on your account?
Oh my god, it’s a lot of time. Especially because I’m at work during the day, so my evenings get really stretched. I want to make sure that I’m still remaining active, but also showing love and empathy to others and engaging with them. So I put the kids to bed, and then it’s like, okay, now is my time. And my time consists of… being on Instagram! It can be a lot – I don’t enjoy seeing my screentime notifications!
It’s a lot of work, trying to make sure that you have the right content, that your page looks good, and that you’re giving your followers what they want to see as well. Sometimes I’ll ask questions in my story to get more of an idea of what my followers like and that always works really well.
You clearly enjoy the community on the platform
I was thinking about this recently, and about what a positive experience it’s all been. I was thinking – I actually haven’t ever had a negative comment, or even something that’s “not so friendly”. The only thing I’ve had is those random comments from the weird fake looking accounts that have never posted and have no profile picture, so I just delete them and pay them no mind. I might get a DM if someone doesn’t agree with something I’ve posted in my stories, but never something that’s been horrible or could be defined as bullying. Hopefully it stays like this!
What kind of analytics do you use?
I just use Instagram Insights and I really like using it and seeing which posts are doing well. At the moment I’m getting laser hair removal treatment on my face. Female facial hair is something that’s not really talked about much and I’m getting a lot of feedback and comments on those posts and a lot of DMs when I talk about it in Stories. It’s something that people can relate to, but not something they’d necessarily share. I’ve learnt that anything that I think “oh my gosh I can’t share that!” about, people love to see. Also I just keep interacting with my followers and asking questions, and that helps a lot.
I try not to be too hard on myself if something didn’t go exactly as planned.
What about brands and sponsored content, is that something you do?
I’m still trying to get myself out there more to brands. I’ve been gifted a few items, including the laser hair removal – I hope lockdown eases so I can go to my next appointment. I’d definitely like to move into sponsored content and collaborations. Right now I’m finding Instagram a great place to express myself and I’m really enjoying it, Who wouldn’t want to do something they enjoy for a living? I would like to be able to get a point where I’m doing it ‘properly’ and can earn money to support my family.
I like to look closely at brands and see what they represent and see where they have come from. Obviously I’m a mother of two, so brands that are family orientated will be a natural fit. I’d work brands that can cater to everyone, brands that are fair. I’m always open to having talks with brands and then doing my own research and seeing where were they stand on things that matter, and see what we could make happen. I’m open to brands, definitely.
As you continue to grow, what kind of thing do you want to use your platform for?
Well as you can tell, my feed is quite positive, and I love to encourage the approach that you can really do anything yourself if you apply yourself to it. As clichéd as it sounds and however hard something is, if you take it one step at a time and keep going, you can do it.
I just wish someone had really told me that 10 years ago, or when I was 18 and going to university, it would have been great to have been told that really, it’s okay not to know what you want to do. Yeah. Sometimes you’re just a bit confused at that age, and it’s easy to think that you have to follow the path set out infront of you. You think you have to go through to A Levels after GCSEs, and that you have to go to university, and you just feel like you have to know what you want. A thing I always like to say is like, okay, we’re all on a journey, but there will be bumps. There will be different hurdles that we’re going to have to get through, but it doesn’t mean you can’t get to where you want to go.