Sometimes I read someone's blog and I feel an immediate connection with them. I can't remember how I met Lauren Dahl of Dahl House Interiors, but I know it was on Instagram. Like me, Lauren is a former teacher, mom, and just the right amount of kooky. Unlike me, she wears clothes that match. Kidding...sort of. If you haven't been to her website, go take a look. She has a really funny blog and offers killer e-services that you probably need. Who doesn't? Don't you want someone to make your space look like a magazine instead of like Costco?
1. Who are you, what do you do, and how did it all begin?
My name is Lauren Dahl, and I'm the owner of Dahl House Interiors. An interior design business specializing in E-Designs, Art Sourcing, and illustrations. I provide affordable interior design to clients local, and far away. I taught middle school art/graphic design for three years, and recently quit my job to pursue my interior design business full time. A complex multitude of things also went into quitting my job, including more time with my son, creative freedom, and just freedom in general. It's scary, and exciting all at the same time. My true passion is curating objects and colors within a space, and helping a client live in a happy home.
2. Where can we find you on social media?
3. What is your favorite hashtag?
#hurryup #what #yum , and #interiordesign . Mostly, I use a bunch of meaningless hashtags, but #interiordesign is always a good one, for searching, and for being searched. I also love searching #newhome, #justmovedin , so that I can connect with people who might need my services, or just see a bunch of cool people starting their own process of decorating their space.
4. Why do you use social media?
The reason I started an Instagram account, was strictly for my business. My sister told me I needed to, so I did. I'm an over-sharer, so I share details of my daily life, but also a lot of sharing about my business. They kind of overlap anyways. I also use social media because I like to stalk people. Lastly, I use social media, because It is my platform to share my creative endeavors, and always hopefully bringing in new clients.
5. Which tools do you use for posting or creating content?
With Instagram, I mostly use my camera phone, but set up interesting compositions. And honestly, not all of the images are even interesting, which is something I need to work on. Some are impulsive photos of my son, or my food, or my toe, or whatever. But, anything I do design-wise, I want to showcase on a level that could potentially bring in a new client. So, if it's a wall mural, a finished space, or an art piece, I photograph it with my good camera, edit in Photoshop, and then post that image. If an image is dark, or not skillfully curated, then it will not be attractive to the Instagram world. Even progress photos of let's say, a painting, should be well lit, and interesting to look at.
6. What effect does Instagram have on your business?
I am extremely thankful for social media, because no joke, without it, I would probably have like one client. I would say 90 % of people that hire me to design a space within their home, or creative a painting, have found me through social media. The other 10% is my mom being proud of me, and sharing the word about my business via old school conversation.
7. How do you measure success on social media?
The amount of followers I have is how I measure success. Which sounds so silly, but with a small business, I use Instagram to promote my work, not necessarily just myself. So, it's not like a popularity contest. It's more like, I need more followers so that I can have a greater number of potential clients. Stemming directly from that, is the amount of people that found me via Instagram, that email me. Followers are one thing, and they are great because it means they enjoy what I post, but what I can consider an even greater measure of success, is when a person from Instagram emails me for a project. That is the moment that I see I have done something successful via social media.
8. What aspect of social media do you find most challenging?
Gaining followers, and using the correct hashtags to gain followers. Instagram is such a huge world, so it's easy to become diluted. How do I stay interesting? How can I keep my personality? How can I promote myself without being overly annoying? These are the challenges I face with social media.
9. What makes you follow another brand back?
I follow brands that interact with their followers, and also provide spotlight opportunities for their followers. Martha Stewart is a great example for spotlight opportunities. Constantly, and literally almost daily, Martha Stewart (or whoever runs her instagram account) posts photos looking for people to make cute ornaments, cute pet photos, fancy florals, etc. The list goes on and on, and all of it is for the possibility to be featured on Martha Stewart Instagram. Which okay, sounds weird, but the opportunity to be featured on an account with 300,000 followers... Well, that should definitely bring some business my way. I follow a lot of artists. But, only if they have pretty photos of their work. Emily Jeffords (@Emily_Jeffords), Gray Malin (@GrayMalin), Jennifer Davis (@JenniferDavisArt), and SuiteOneStudio (@SuiteoneStudio). I follow a few interior designers, but only ones that are uber successful, because I like to learn from them. Amber Lewis (@AmberInteriors), Shea McGee (@StudioMcGee), and Emily Henderson (@em_henderson).Also, I follow brands and people, that are just crazy inspirational or interesting, like female bodybuilders, and Hilary Duff, and okay like Kylie Jenner because I'm really into her new fake lips and goth style. Just putting that out there.
10. Which brands have social media you admire?
My most admired brand/person on social media, is Bri Emery (@designlovefest). } I mean, yes, I am jealous of her followers, and awesome lifestyle, but she worked so hard to get there. She is truly an inspiration to wake up every single day, doing what she loves, and doing what she built. Her social media is inspiring not only because of the amount of followers she has, but because of her carefully curated images, her behind the scenes photos, and the acceptance of her flaws.
11. Any advice for other brands just getting started on social media?
My advice is to keep your personality, so that you don't just look like everyone else. I mean seriously, how many more pictures do I need to see of an ice cream cone with a brick wall background? Or a pair of really cute shoes, standing on the edge of a gorgeous rug? Like none. Also, involve, and care for all of your followers. Remember, that each person that follows you, could be a client, or a reader or your work, or a new online friend. Not in a weird way though.
If you are feeling stumped for what to post on Instagram, then schedule a One On One Brainstorming Session with me. You will walk away with a content calendar and a clear understanding of how to grow a relevant following quickly.