Opinion

8 Questions with Ollie Holmes

We were talking all things social in the studio last month, the popularity of Instagram and the love hate relationship we’ve found ourselves in with it. Once a platform to post filtered pictures of your dog, is now the epicentre of a lot of people’s lives; it’s the way they connect, work, self-express, self-indulge.

We narrowed our conversation down to what we know – brands. We’re interested in what brands are doing to keep people engaged after they click that all important follow button (or possibly unimportant due to the new algorithms, it’s all a bit confusing). So, we thought we’d take 8 questions to catch up with Ollie Holmes, Social Media Content Creator for Electric Ink, which currently has over 15,000 Insta-followers.

First thing’s first, give us a rundown on what you do from day to day?

I start the day by checking through all platforms thoroughly, making sure everything is always answered – anyone could be messaging the brand. Through social media I also keep up to date on the news, to find out what I need to be talking about and what to avoid.

After I’ve answered emails it’s all just content, content, content. I’ve worked in social media for four years and for me, the key to consistent posting and an engaged audience is high quality and engaging content.

Think outside your brand, delving into wider Instagram communities can open your brand up to new opportunities and new opportunities to your brand.

Tattoo artists now get a lot of work from Instagram; do you think it’s played a part in the success of Electric ink?

Because the industry is so visual I think the platform speaks to our community directly.

The first thing someone does when they get a new tattoo is post it on Instagram to show their friends and to show their community. It’s a huge form of self-expression and that’s intrinsically what Instagram is for too.

I’ll often ‘stalk’ the hashtag #freshink or #newtattoo and like the posts. This way we can be fresh in the minds of potential and current customers. It’s a good way to make sure Electric Ink is the first brand they think of when it comes to aftercare.

Another way we engage with the community is by doing artist highlights. If there’s an artist we’re feeling and their work and attitude resonates with our brand we do an artist highlight.

This is free exposure to thousands of people for them but also brings our brand to their attention.

It also gives us an insight into what our followers are into. If we get a lot of love on a particular highlight, then their work is popular with our audience.

You use a lot of influencers to promote your products. Are you selective about who you use?

Well artists themselves can definitely be described as influencers, even if they wouldn’t say so themselves. So that’s something we’ve been able to tap into as a brand.

I call my feed my front lawn, I put a lot of care into it and keep it immaculate. Even though a lot of really big celebs and influencers use our product and post about it, I won’t always post it in the feed.

Some people I just wouldn’t align with the brand, you’ve got to be selective.

Do you approach them or is it vice versa?

Well we work with brands as well as people, I like to do collaborations with people and brands that aren’t really big, they’re slightly off the beaten track. Renegades – like us.

When I collaborate with people I like to meet them in person, I give them the product to try face to face, keeping it personal not virtual.

It’s doing something different, we build a relationship with them off the platform, so the person we’re working with always remembers us – they can actually put a face to the name.

But I will say that 10 smaller, more niche influencers are better than 1 big one that isn’t necessarily on brand.

How do you keep people engaged with your brand through your content?

When the brand was smaller it was all about us, the product, our story. But as we’ve grown we’ve made it more about the people in our community – the tattoo community.

I think I keep our followers engaged because I also try and offer things they wouldn’t normally get to do. We’ve just had a live chat with influencer Sammy Josephine, where anyone could ask her questions from when she got her first tattoo to what her favourite clothing brand is. It’s a cool experience that’s relevant to the brand.

I’ll often tell a story with more long form content. We’ve started #SkinStories, they give our followers a platform to tell the stories behind their ink. These have been really popular and I think it’s to do with the authenticity of the stories.

How do you view authenticity on Instagram and what do you do to ensure it?

So like we discussed above, there’s nothing more authentic that real life so #SkinStories have been really great.

They’re similar to Humans of NY in a way, tapping into the meanings and stories behind tattoos, those snippets of reality that people love – we try and keep it light though, always positive.

To ensure authenticity we keep it real and always collaborate with people that we have good relationships with, people who have been fans of the brand from day one.

I also like to do a lot of competitions; the popularity of the competitions allows us to get a gauge of what our followers are into at that moment and we love that.

Through the competitions I collaborate with other brands. A lot of the time I just find brands that I believe affiliate well with Electric Ink, buy one of their products and include it in a give-away.

Finding niche extensions of the tattoo c ommunity is really fun and we recently collaborated with PARIA. Just like us with the beauty sector, they bring something fresh to the cycling market and aren’t afraid to be the odd ones out. Together we brought out a limited-edition Electric Ink cycling Jersey – it’s wicked.

Tell us something you would never post?

For starters, purely for aesthetic reasons, I’ll never post with the repost app, I think it looks lazy.

Don’t just post what you like. At first it was hard to wrap my head around the idea that just because I like something, it doesn’t mean everyone else will. Everyone will be following your brand for a different reason. Try and identify your key audiences and research them, find out what they love and this will help you grow.

What are your 3 unwritten rules of Instagram?

Well for one, never post anything off brand.

Two, always delve into the wider community.

And three, it’s not always sell sell sell, meaningful content is equally as important.

 

Check out Electric Ink’s Instagram page here https://www.instagram.com/electricinkskin/

 

 

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