Using Instagram For Business: Interview with Mallika Malhotra
Welcome to the second installment of our Instagram series. If you missed our first post and want to find out how illustrator Melinda Cooper uses her Instagram to get clients for her business you can catch up here.
But now let me introduce you to our lovely guest for the day; Mallika Malhotra.
Question One: Please tell us a bit about yourself, so we can get to know you!
My name is Mallika Malhotra and I am a brand photographer and small business mentor at mikifoto. I live in New Jersey along with my three sons (14, 12 & 7) and my husband, Sunil. We love to travel and see the world, play loud music and dance and eat big, delicious meals. I also am a reading + learning addict, coffee lover and fun-loving party girl.
Question Two: What is your business all about?
I help women entrepreneurs discover their story and share their message with confidence through photography, branding and social media. I also teach Instagram for business and host local networking events. I am passionate about creating spaces for women in business to connect and support one another.
Question Three: What inspired you to start your own business?
I first discovered my passion for photography when we moved to the West Coast many years ago. I had two young toddlers at the time so it wasn’t easy to travel across three time zones to visit family. I found myself feeling disconnected and it was heartbreaking that my relatives didn’t know my sons’ personalities. The days were long and lonely. So that’s when I picked up a camera and started snapping away. I wanted to capture every moment from milestones to the simple everyday moments in between. I wanted to help tell their story. Photography helped me feel connected again.
Let’s talk Instagram specifics….
Question Four: How long have you been on Instagram and what made you decide to join the platform?
I started on Instagram in February 2013. A little late to the game, I decided to join to connect with other photographers and see/share work. Little did I know how powerful Instagram is for building your business!
Question Five: What was your biggest Instagram struggle and how did you overcome it?
At first, I posted images randomly and didn’t see any growth or engagement. I had no idea what to do or how to use the platform. When I started to incorporate storytelling and be more intentional with my content, then I started to see improvement.
Question Six: What do you think is the best way to grow your Instagram (with engaged followers)?
Have a consistent theme and look to your feed. Be strategic and intentional with every post. And always respond to comments! It’s not only good manners but it also shows that you care and are a real person behind the brand.
Question Seven: What program/tools do you use to create your posts?
I actually don’t use many programs or tools to create or plan my posts. I do it all organically. I do have a list of content “stories” that I like to share and will refer to that list as I post. Sometimes it feels like I am flying by the seat of my pants, but it is all the real-deal and in real-time!
Question Eight: What’s your favourite app to use for Instagram?
My favorite apps for editing are Pic Tap Go and VSCO but I also use the Instagram editing tools often. I use Over for adding text. I use Moldiv for creating collages.
Question Nine: How does Instagram help your business?
In so many ways! First, it humanizes my business and showcases my brand’s personality. Instagram gives an insider view of my everyday, allowing me to connect better with my audience. I also can share my recent photography work and spotlight my clients which positions me as an expert and builds a sense of community.
Question Ten: What is your number one tip on creating content for Instagram?
Be transparent! Share your story, your spark, your why, your challenges, your goals, your failures, your tribe, your process. Take your audience with you on your business journey and speak to them as if they were your friends. This is what builds connection and relationships.
If you could give one piece of advice to a business owner looking to grow their Instagram, what would it be?
Take GOOD photos! Since I am a photographer, I believe in image quality. Good images will always get good attention. Make sure to use natural light and always tell a story.
Thank you for sharing your story with us Mallika! If you’d like to know more about photographer and boss mom Mallika then do drop by her lovely Instagram account. Mallika has also very kindly prepared an Instagram cheat sheet for you which you can download over here!
Look out for our next interview with a very special guest, a branding expert and all round lovely lady….can you guess who?