If you are looking to grow a successful business by teaching what you know this is the episode for you!
Welcome to The Blogger Genius Podcast brought to you by MiloTree. Here’s your host, Jillian Leslie.
Jillian Leslie 0:11
Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the show. If you want to join a community of like-minded bloggers and entrepreneurs, please join my Facebook group. It’s called the MiloTree Mastermind group.
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For today’s episode, I am in interviewing Kimberly Espinel. She has so many titles. She is a food photographer, a prop stylist, and food stylist. She is a food photography teacher. She’s an Instagram growth coach. She’s a podcaster and a food blogger.
And if you want to see beautiful food photography, head over to her site, which is called the little plantation. Her photos just make me swoon. We talk about how she grew her business.
And the word that I’m going to say is organic. How she discovered the power of Instagram and has used it in a whole host of interesting, cool, creative ways. So, without further delay, please enjoy my conversation with Kimberly Espinel.
Kimberly, welcome to the show. I’m really excited to talk with you.
Kimberly Espinel 2:00
Thank you so much for having me. I’m really excited to be here.
Jillian Leslie 2:04
You have a beautiful food blog and you’ve really turned it into… Gosh! A whole business with lots of different moving parts. I want to talk about all of this stuff and how you did it.
So, briefly, can you share your entrepreneurial journey when you started, what inspired you, and how your business has grown since then?
Kimberly Espinel 2:30
Firstly, thank you so much for your kind words. You really made me blush actually. Thank you. I would say I started my food blog… Gosh! Already now, almost six years ago, as a matter of fact. So, in 2014.
I started it because after I had my son, I changed my diet to a plant-based diet and I was really excited about it and just wanted to blog about it and share my recipes with the world. So that was really my start. It was just this excitement about plant-based foods.
At the time, actually, I was retraining to be a nutritional therapist. So I thought, you know, like, let me share these recipes. And then, by the time I graduate, I’ll have a whole bag of recipes that I can share with potential clients. That was really my thinking.
Jillian Leslie 3:25
So, it was not to build a blog and monetize a blog?
Kimberly Espinel 3:30
No. No. It never even occurred to me. That was not my strategy. That was not my plan. But as I started to do the blog, a couple of things that were happening. One was I realized that my photography just wasn’t up to scratch.
I was like, “I really want people to eat more broccoli and cauliflower and what have you, but if my photos don’t look great, then no one’s going to take notes.” I really need to up my game. I need to get better.
And then, the more I practice, the more passionate I became about the food photography side. So much so that by the time I graduated from my nutrition studies, my passion for food photography had taken over my passion for nutrition.
So, my nutrition science was three years. I essentially have the blog for three years by the time I graduated. And then, at that point, I decided rather than going into becoming a nutritional therapist, I’ll focus on food photography, styling, and food blogging full time. So I had the blog for three years before I turned it into a business.
Jillian Leslie 4:39
Wow. So, you were not monetizing at all. This was all just as kind of a side hobby.
Kimberly Espinel 4:46
Oh my God, yes. The first year, my photography was so bad that even if I had wanted to monetize it, that was not going to happen. I did get a few requests for sponsored content.
Probably, year two of the blog. And then, by the end of year two, I had somebody contact me actually out of the blue and she said, “I really love your blog. I love your photography. I live in Spain. I’m going to be in London (where I’m based) for a couple of days, I was wondering if you could teach me all you know about food photography.”
And I was like, “Gosh.” Like, “That never even occurred to me, but yeah. Of course.” And so, that was actually the beginning. She came and we did a day-long workshop.
Jillian Leslie 5:37
Just the two of you.
Kimberly Espinel 5:39
Just the two of us. It was one to one. She came into my home studio. And then, we had a one to one. I absolutely loved it. Also, that really just opened my eyes. I was like, “Oh my God, I can do this?” Like, “This is possible?”
And so, by the time I moved into the end of my third year, I’d had some people come in for one to one food photography. I’ve had a few more sponsored content requests.
And by the end of blogging for three years as a “side hustle”, I felt able to go in it full force and really focus and be really intentional about monetizing my blog in that way.
Jillian Leslie 6:27
Okay. So, tell me then how you started that. Like, how did you think about building that part of your business?
Kimberly Espinel 6:39
So, you mean during the one to one?
Jillian Leslie 6:44
So, it started one to one. But now you offer so many different services in food photography.
Kimberly Espinel 6:51
Yes, that’s right. So, I did mainly one to one for the very first year of my business. And I still do one to ones. And to be honest with you, I know that in the online sphere, this one to many models is really hailed as like the model, the best model or the thing to go for.
But actually, personally, I feel the fact that I have done so much one to one really gives me an edge over many of my other competitors because really spending six or seven hours with a student one to one, I’m really observing where they’re getting stuck, where are they struggling, what’s stopping them from understanding light and shadow and all the things that I teach.
It has helped me build on my online course and respond to those struggle points and all the things that you know, like when I teach a certain way, I can just see the penny drop. Like, I can see it happening.
I know, “Okay. This is how I need to teach it in a group setting.” Or, “This is how I need to teach it in my online course.” And so, I think it’s given me an edge because I’m really empathetic.
Like, I can really put myself in my student’s shoes and help them move through blocks and feeling stuck in their food photography. I mean all my one to ones were selling out really really quickly.
Jillian Leslie 8:14
And can I ask, how much did you charge for a one day one on one coaching session or workshop?
Kimberly Espinel 8:23
I started it was super breakfast in retrospect. At the time, I was like, “Oh my God, 200 pounds.” which is maybe $100. I don’t know.
And, you know, of course, my prices have since increased with experience and all the rest of it, but they were very affordable. They were very affordable. That’s also when I realized it’s like maybe I’m undercharging that they’re selling out so quickly.
So, every time I was selling out, I was like, “Okay”. So, every quarter I review my prices. And if things have sold out really quickly, I know I’m undercharging and then I increase and so on.
But also, the other thing I did after my first year actually, so after my first year of being full-time food blogger, I got so much work. And then when he looked at my income, it was really nothing to write home about.
What I decided to do was to hire a business coach to really get to the bottom of what was going on in my business. I was getting all this work but my bank account wasn’t reflecting that.
And so, we did a lot of work in terms of money mindset, pricing, but also kind of thinking about how I could diversify my offerings. Because you know, I’m one to one.
Unless I charged loads, it was going to be really really hard to meet my financial goals. So, that’s when the idea of doing more group workshops, and also the online course came in.
Jillian Leslie 9:50
Got it. Okay. That’s what my next question is. Did you start doing workshops where you could have five students or 10 students?
Kimberly Espinel 9:58
Yes. I’ve done a lot of different size workshops. I have to say where I feel I thrive as a teacher is in small groups. So, I tend not to take more than eight students. So, it’s really really focused and small.
It’s because I really want my students to succeed. And I have done workshops where there have been 25 students, and I’ve just always come out feeling that I spread myself too thin.
Every teacher is different. Like, I think there are some teachers who can do that and really make their students thrive and shine.
Actually, I heard Bernie Brown say something the other day in an interview in another podcast, actually. She said that some people are in fact further sort of people and other people are closer and deeper.
I think I’m a closer deeper person and so, I know that as a teacher, that’s where I shine. I know that’s where I get the best out of my students. But then, of course, my prices reflect that as well.
But yeah, I feel that that’s the better scenario. Having said that, after doing my online course, and my online courses are live course.
Jillian Leslie 11:10
So, explain what that means.
Kimberly Espinel 11:12
Yeah. That means that we meet live. I use Zoom. And so, I’m there with my students. We go through the course material together, and we discuss homework together. And again, I keep it to about eight to 10. No more.
After having done that model for a year, again, I had to sit back. I’m like, “Okay. If I can only take so many students, that means two things.”
“One is that some people are going to be priced out of that package. And two, in terms of revenue growth, there’s going to be a ceiling. There’s going to be a cap.”
And so, for the first time this year I’ve also offered the course as a pre-recorded course. So, that’s kind of how I built it out. It’s kind of step by step touching into where I feel I shine as a teacher, and then also tuning into what students need and what they’ve requested. I responded to that.
My live course is at 12:30 Greenwich Mean Time. And so, people on the west coast, in the US for example, they’re like, “Oh, that’s like 4 am in the morning. That’s just not possible.”
And I was like, “Okay. So there are those people, there are people who are just slightly priced out of the package that I offer.” That’s when the pre-recorded course came in. It has done really really well, actually.
Jillian Leslie 12:36
Oh, that’s terrific. How do you promote it?
Kimberly Espinel 12:43
The way I do it, I teach the online course… I’ve taught it actually three times a year this year, just twice because of a big other projects. I’m working on my book. But the way I do it is I have a mailing list. That’s number one.
And so, quite a few spots go to my mailing list subscribers. And then, the other thing I do is I run an Instagram food photography challenge. I time my challenge around the launch time of my eCourse so that anybody who signed up to that, of course, goes on the mailing list.
But also, as part of the challenge one, when I announced the winners and all the rest of it, I use that as a way to promote my eCourse. And generally, I also sell really really well to challenge participants.
Jillian Leslie 13:34
That’s terrific. Let’s talk about then what does your challenge looks like?
Kimberly Espinel 13:41
My challenge is called Eat, Capture, Share. I host the challenge exclusively on Instagram. The way it works is you have to sign up for the mailing list. When you do, you get four weeks’ worth of themes sent to you.
To give you an example, week three for the winter challenge was called Learning from the Masters. We took inspiration from people like Frida Kahlo, Vermeer. Gosh, who was in the middle? Who was the third one?
And so, every week has three challenges. I teach something in relation to that. With Vermeer, for example, this Dutch painter, he works with really dark and moody images. And so, my teaching around that was like how can you create those images?
What do you need to do with your light and shadow work? I give some tips around it and then set the challenge. And then, everybody photographs their food in that style. And at the end of each week, I crown two winners. A winner and a runner up for each specific theme.
So, you get the themes which are a lot of fun. You get tips. And then, you also have a chance to win and win a shout out on my Instagram and then also on my grid.
Jillian Leslie 15:03
Nice. Okay. Now, are you teaching, let’s say, every week, how to create mood and stuff in the challenge? Or are these written tips in the email? Because is this also where your Facebook Live is coming in?
Kimberly Espinel 15:20
Yes. So, I’ll break it down. Firstly, you sign up for the email list. Then you get all the themes sent to you. So, you know in advance what the 12 themes are, so three themes per week for four weeks.
And then every week, you get a mood board for a specific theme to get inspiration and a tip related to each. I share 12 images and 12 tips in the four emails that you get. Then, there’s a live show.
Usually, in the evening where I look at the winners and I analyze the images. I’m like, “Okay, these are winning images because… Look at how they use layers. Look at how they use the color theory.”
I really explain why the image is good because sometimes we see a food photo and we can see that it’s beautiful, but we don’t quite know why.
Jillian Leslie 16:19
Kimberly Espinel 16:21
It’s really hard to replicate the beauty of it. And so, I break it down to really guide students into recognizing beauty, what makes beauty, and then finding their own style and you know, trying things at home, that kind of thing.
So, there are tips in the email, and then there are also tips that I share during the live.
Jillian Leslie 16:40
I love that.
Kimberly Espinel 16:42
Yeah, it’s super fun. And then people ask questions as well. So, we announced the winners and the tips then. And then afterward, we also have a Q&A session. People can either ask live in the moment or a lot of the times, I ask people to submit questions in advance so I can also prep or bundle certain questions together.
And so, there’s a Q&A section as well. And then, I don’t do a fake live, but what I do is I save the Instagram Live onto my phone. And then, I upload it into my Facebook group because if you’re a mailing subscriber, you get access to my Facebook group.
It’s an exclusive close group just for mailing list subscribers. So, if you miss the live or if you want to rewatch it, or if there were tips I share and you’re like, “I don’t know what you meant. Let me see it again. Then it’ll be saved forever that tutorial, that mini masterclass, so to say, will stay forever inside the Facebook group. And so, you can rewatch it as many times as you want.
Jillian Leslie 17:44
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I love how everything is intentional. And everything is leading to something else. There are little rewards along the way. In a week, when you have three challenges, are there three winners per week or one winner who’s done all three challenges?
Kimberly Espinel 20:07
No. For each theme, there’s a winner and a runner up. I have to say that’s not how it used to be. I just used to have one winner per challenge. But then I had a lot of feedback from the audience.
The last challenge, nearly 1000 people signed up. So, you know, that’s a lot of energy.
Jillian Leslie 20:28
That’s a lot. Yes.
Kimberly Espinel 20:29
And just to have three people win. So, I had a lot of feedback to say, “Please can we have more than one winner.” And so, now I have a winner and a runner up for each theme.
And then, at the very end of the challenge, I crown a Creative of the Season. So that’s the one person who threw out the challenge. The images were just incredible, and/or different, and/or spectacular.
I also crown a rising star. So that’s somebody who’s maybe not quite there yet, but I can really see that they’re trying and that they’re working hard.
And so, I want to honor people who are doing their best, or maybe using their phone still but showing up and doing the work. And so, yeah, that’s kind of how it’s structured.
Jillian Leslie 21:23
I can hear your passion for your students. It’s very inviting and supportive. Like, you are their best cheerleader. I can feel that. Like, I want to join your challenge.
Kimberly Espinel 21:40
So, please do.
Jillian Leslie 21:41
I will. What I think is so interesting, again, is like you took this interest of food photography, and then you found students who were interested in learning from you and you’ve been able to take that energy, that connection, that purpose, and then repurpose it in a whole host of different ways.
Kimberly Espinel 22:03
That’s correct. Like I really feel, you know, because you very kindly sent me some questions in advance to prep for the podcast today. But I really feel the success of my business has been to respond to my audience’s needs.
Because truth is, I started, as I mentioned as a food blog. So, I shared recipes. But as I was going along, I noticed that if I share something about food photography, I just thought, well, blog hits. If I shared something about how I grew my Instagram, I just got way more blog hits.
So, I was just like, “Okay. Wait a minute. So, my blog sets are telling me this. Do I continue on this path, which will lean into what my audience wants? And so yeah, I did the latter.
And that’s really been on every frame that I’ve developed subsequently, has been because of what people have said. They wanted my blog sets I’ve reflected. The likes on Instagram have shown me and I’ve always gone down that path.
Jillian Leslie 23:07
Absolutely! We talked about this before I press record. You have a hypothesis. You start off on a path which you’re like, “I’m just going to do some food blogging so that while I’m in school, to teach people about food and diet.”
And then, all of a sudden you start getting feedback, and the feedback changes your direction, but keeps you… Like, you didn’t know you’d be on this path but it’s satisfying your soul because it is about food, and it is about beauty, and it is about connection and teaching.
And so, you’ve been able to take those inherent gifts and loves, and skills, and just twist it in a way where an audience shows up for it and you had no idea.
Kimberly Espinel 23:59
Absolutely. There are so many other things that have happened, specifically as a result of the challenge. Again, being very strategic. The reason I set up the challenge was because I wanted to grow my email list.
I just thought, “Okay, what can I do to grow my email list?” People are really interested in food photography, my tips, how about I put the challenge together? Because I’ve been running the challenge now for three years.
So, you know, that was the very first strategic move I did. I said, “That’s what I wanted to do.” But actually, what’s happened is the challenge has evolved into a community. People who participate follow each other, cheer each other on. It’s just become this big family.
I just love that I’ve had people from Taiwan participate. Australia, New Zealand, the US, Brazil. Everywhere. Just everywhere in the world. We can bond over food photography. We can bond over delicious food.
And this coming together, I love that. People who never would have come together otherwise have come together. And as a matter of fact, I have met people through the challenge that we’ve become kind of friends through the challenge.
One of them is actually from New Zealand. She’s won a couple of challenges. I love her work. She just texted me the other day. She’s like, “You know what, I’m coming to London in the summer. Shall we meet up?”
And of course, you know. Like, she’s part of the community. She’s part of the family. So, it’s been wonderful. It’s been a wonderful side effect.
Jillian Leslie 25:43
That is so fantastic. So, now are you doing regular food blogging? Or has your whole business shifted to teaching people how to be food bloggers?
Kimberly Espinel 25:57
I still do food blogging. Not as regularly as I did before, but I do it for my soul. I love it. I enjoy it. I love writing recipes. And also, it is still an income stream. So, I still have companies come to me and ask for sponsored posts.
It’s not the bulk of my business but it is a nice income stream for me so I do still do that. I love keeping that foundation of where I started by sharing plant-based recipes.
That’s definitely not the biggest part of my business, but it’s still there. And, I love it so I keep going with it.
Jillian Leslie 26:37
How did you then segue into teaching people about Instagram? So, first is photography. And now, it looks like you have a whole other piece of your business about Instagram.
Kimberly Espinel 26:51
Yeah. There are two other pieces. One is I now also work as a food photographer. I would say that’s actually the bulk of my business. That’s the bulk of my income is free photography work that I do for brands, restaurants, that kind of thing.
Jillian Leslie 27:06
Okay. So, somebody comes to you, let’s say a restaurant or craft or whomever and said… Maybe not craft but says, “Will you do this?” Do they tell you the recipe? Or do they say go make something interesting with my product? Or, kind of how does that work?
Kimberly Espinel 27:25
Sometimes it’s restaurant photography so I just have to go into the restaurant and shoot what’s there. Or sometimes they come to my studio and we shoot it here if it’s for a menu or something like that.
Sometimes it is packaged food so it might be energy bars or things like that. It’s anything within the food or drink. I do that photography. I don’t style. I just do photography and deliver the images. That’s really the bulk of my business now, I would say.
Jillian Leslie 27:54
Kimberly Espinel 27:55
Jillian Leslie 27:57
Do you like that better?
Kimberly Espinel 27:59
I love it.
Jillian Leslie 27:59
Kimberly Espinel 28:00
I love it. I do feel a little bit like an imposter. Like, I didn’t even study photography, you know. But I find it hard. I find it hard and challenging and that excites me because it’s about capturing someone else’s vision and bringing it to life.
It’s not about what I like or what I want, but it’s about injecting what I know into their vision. And that’s a whole other skill. That’s been so fun and so exciting. And also, a lot of them are startups. So, a lot of them come to me because they’re just setting up a restaurant or they’re rebranding.
It’s almost being part of this new thing that’s being born, this new food story that’s being born. So that’s really, really fun.
Jillian Leslie 28:49
I just have to say I love the expression food story because I think that is what you are is a storyteller with food.
Kimberly Espinel 28:56
Exactly. But the other part is Instagram. I have to think about… So yes, this is how it happened. So, I grew my Instagram. This is pre-algorithm, I have to say. But in one year, I grew, I think 20,000 or 30,000 followers in just one year.
And so, what I started noticing and I have to say organically so I didn’t pay for ads. Nothing. Here we say, dodgy. Nothing sketchy. Nothing. Nothing untoward.
All organically. And I get a lot of DMs or messages, emails to say, “How did you do it? How did you do it?” Or stuff like, “Do you want to meet up for coffee and share with me your secrets?”
Jillian Leslie 29:47
Kimberly Espinel 29:49
Exactly. So then, what I did is I started something called the Instagram series, which is a blog post around trends, developments, tips, tricks around Instagram. So those are free blog posts. I’m very happy to give you the URL.
Jillian Leslie 30:07
Please. Yeah, I’ll put it in our show notes.
Kimberly Espinel 30:12
Amazing. So, it just has blog posts of things that were happening. The start of the algorithm, anything that’s affecting it, other things I noticed. I just wrote that in a blog post. And those blog posts were unbelievably popular.
And so, one especially did really, really well which was called “Why am I losing followers on Instagram.” And so from that, I develop a little eGuide that I sold, which sold really well.
And then, I also did what I now call Instagram mentoring sessions where bloggers can speak to me to talk about how to grow their audience on Instagram. I also take a wider lens perspective but my focus is mainly Instagram because that’s where my expertise lies.
And so yeah, that’s kind of taken on a life of its own too. So again, just responding to what people were asking for. And that’s how those things came about.
Jillian Leslie 31:11
Is that like one on one coaching? Or are you doing courses or leading workshops on Instagram?
Kimberly Espinel 31:19
I do one on one. I also do two masterclasses, which are group masterclasses a year. There are two masterclasses and then one on ones.
I don’t promote it, I have to say. But a lot of the times what I do is people who come for the group or the one to one food photography sessions, we build that into the session. So maybe the last hour of the one to one, we dedicate to Instagram strategy. That’s how that works.
Jillian Leslie 31:50
Got it. Okay. Initially, when I reached out to you, it was about talking about Instagram Live. I know you’ve shared that you do your challenges, and you do your Instagram lives. Are you using Instagram Live in other ways?
Kimberly Espinel 32:09
I don’t know. So I really… It was really interesting because again, the reason the live was in part, a very strategic move. So I thought, you know, Instagram Stories is getting really crowded, how can I stand out?
How can I do something that’s a little bit different? And so, that’s when I decided to do Instagram Live because it takes an extra bit of guts, I guess, to go live. And so, I knew that the space wasn’t going to be quite as crowded.
And so, that was the strategic move behind that. But then, of course, what happened is when you go live and people interact with you, the bond that you feel with your audience just intensifies.
That’s made me come back for more again and again. But I’ve seen a lot of people do random live, so to say. They’re out and about and then just go live. I think there’s a place for that.
But I really wanted to step onto that platform intentionally and show myself as the expert that I am, and also offer value. And so for me, that means preparing for the live and thinking it through and being sure that whoever tunes in is going to walk away with something tangible.
Jillian Leslie 33:31
Kimberly Espinel 33:32
Rather than, “Oh, look, I’m your target.” It can also serve a purpose of showcasing you as the authentic person that you are, but I don’t think that’s my most valuable way of showing up.
Jillian Leslie 33:51
Now, are you doing lots of stories?
Kimberly Espinel 33:55
I do. I do stories. Yes, I love stories. But again, I do more in terms of behind the scenes. My photography setups or also me as a person. So yes, I do that as well. I think that’s okay.
People can just swipe away and move on. But if I’m asking people to tune in to live, it needs to be work. The other thing is because I know that’s a big anxiety why a lot of people don’t go live is if I go live, what if nobody tunes in right?
What if I show up and no one tunes in? So, what I would recommend, if that is something you worry about, announce it. I always go live on Sundays.
I post on that grid on Saturdays and I say, “Listen, guys, there’s going to be a mini-live tutorial on Instagram, 7 pm Greenwich Mean Time tomorrow. Put it in your diary.”
And then, I post again on Sunday morning to reiterate it. Whoever didn’t hear it on Saturday, to make sure. So, that’s number one. I announce it on the grid. I would recommend that.
Number two, I put… you know how on Instagram stories you can put countdown? So, put the countdown on Saturday and I put the countdown again on Sunday morning. A lot of people then click on to the reminder.
So I really cover all bases so that if I go live, there is no way that people aren’t going to tune in. So, I would really recommend if that’s your anxiety about going live, that’s a really really good way around it.
I email it out three or four days before to my mailing list and say, “Listen, if you’re participating in the challenge, remember, this is happening. And if you’re not participating in the challenge, still tune in, you might get some tips, tricks, what have you.”
Jillian Leslie 35:47
I think that’s terrific. Okay. And now, what would you say in your experience is working on Instagram both in terms of in your grid, in your feed, and also in stories.
I know it’s audience-specific. Things that work with your audience might not work with somebody else who can go to Target and go live and people are fascinated.
Kimberly Espinel 36:13
So, if I’d have to get my top three tips to the students that I’ve worked, with the questions. So number one is you actually have to produce content. You actually have to show up regularly.
The reality is the weight of the platform is now… And I talked about this in one of my podcasts as well. I’ve talked about it in the live but it’s called decay, so post decay. In the olden days, way back when, if you posted something, your posts which will just last so much longer.
It would still pop up in their feed, they can like it, what have you in discovery. Now, the post decay so quickly, so to really grow you need to post at least once a day. If that’s not possible, five times a week. I think any significant growth.
Most of the bloggers I know who are really, really gaining traction at this point in time are posting two to three times a day. I think if you really want to grow, that’s number one. So, really posting regularly.
Number two, the quality. Not just visuals, but also in your captions. So, both of those just have to be on visuals. You know, self-explanatory. It just has to be really… I would say good is just not good enough anymore at the moment just because it’s so crowded.
And in terms of captions, I always think it’s not about you. It’s about your audience. It’s about engagement, connecting, showing interest. And that has to really shine through in a quality, quality caption.
And the third one, I think is about adding value. So one is communicating and the other is adding value. You can do that in tories. You can do that on live. You can do that on your grid. You can do that on IGTV, whatever one you want but there has to be an element of value.
Something. Maybe share a recipe, a food photography tip. Or if you’re a food and travel photographer or blogger, you know, the five best restaurants to go to in Paris or Milan or wherever it is. Right?
Like, add some value. And those three things I think, are really allowing people to gain traction at the moment.
Jillian Leslie 38:29
That’s terrific. Now, what about in terms of DMs? Are you interacting with your audience through the platform?
Kimberly Espinel 38:38
I am. I am. Definitely not so much because as I said, my main focus at the moment is food photography work. So, it just means I really try and step onto Instagram press rather than…
Because if not, it’s a little bit of a rabbit hole and I can be scrolling three hours later and still not have done the work that I need to do. So, there is that. And I think it can be like that a little bit too. What I love about Instagram now and I do use that function a lot is you can leave voice notes.
Jillian Leslie 39:14
I love that. Yes.
Kimberly Espinel 39:18
Just on a practical perspective, it’s just much quicker. But also it just is so much more personal. I think it shows that you care. And so, when I do engage in DM, I usually send a voice note.
And I always get a heart. “Oh my God, thank you for being so powerful.” People really, really appreciate it. And so, that’s definitely something to do.
Jillian Leslie 39:45
I think that is such a great tip. And I’ve shared this before, but I use a program called Bonjoro. Where somebody signs up for MiloTree, and I don’t do this to everybody but if the stars aligned, I’ll send them a little video clip just to thank them for signing up and to ask them if they have questions.
And then, what I always say is, “Tell me the platform.” So, with MiloTree, you can grow Instagram, you can grow Pinterest, you can grow YouTube, you can grow your email list, you can grow Facebook. And so I always say, what is the platform? You can grow multiple at a time.
What is the platform you’re most interested in growing and I will send you materials, podcast episodes I’ve done that will help you grow that platform more quickly? And it’s amazing because people will go, “Oh my God, that’s you.”
And you’re saying, “Hey, Kara. Thanks for signing up.” And it’s like, “What?” So there is something to that personal touch in our world today, where I think we feel somewhat isolated. It cuts through the noise and it says no, there’s a real caring person on the other side.
Kimberly Espinel 41:00
Yes. And it goes back to something I said earlier. I really feel that I’m a deeper closer person.
Jillian Leslie 41:09
I am too. Yes.
Kimberly Espinel 41:13
I wonder if in today’s day and age, most of us want to be seen. We want to be seen. We want to be seen for the creatives we are. We want somebody to notice that we’re there.
And so, those little things make people just smile. Yeah. So that’s definitely something that I love doing. If it comes from the heart, do it. Do it.
Jillian Leslie 41:39
Yeah. I totally… I was just thinking. This is a random tangent, but like, even with my daughter when she was very little, I used to say to her, I see you. Whether she was climbing on something or putting on whatever. I see you.
I think there is something to that. We want to be seen. When you make this, I think shift in your business, and it’s not about you, but it’s about seeing that other person and seeing where they are and helping them move to that next step, I think there’s nothing more powerful.
Kimberly Espinel 42:16
Jillian Leslie 42:19
Oh, wow. Okay. Kimberly, this is so like mind-blowing thing. Like, honestly, thank you. If people want to reach out to you, how can they do that and learn more?
Kimberly Espinel 42:33
The best place to find me is actually on Instagram. I’m @TheLittlePlantation there. You can also come and visit my blog, The Little Plantation. And as I said, I’ll give you that link to the Instagram series.
Jillian Leslie 42:49
Is it an easy thing to say? Say it just in case people want to know.
Kimberly Espinel 42:54
Jillian Leslie 42:54
Okay, no problem.
Kimberly Espinel 42:59
I wouldn’t want to give you the wrong one. If you go to TheLittlePlantation.com.UK, I have one of my top tabs there. It’s Instagram and you’ll see it there. Instagram tips.
Jillian Leslie 43:10
Okay. We’ll definitely include it. So, you will definitely get it.
Kimberly Espinel 43:18
Just one more thing if I may.
Jillian Leslie 43:19
Kimberly Espinel 43:20
And then, the other thing is I have a podcast called Eat, Capture, Share. If you love podcasts, and you want to listen in and get some food photography tips, then that’s another great place to connect with me.
Jillian Leslie 43:33
Oh, awesome. Well, I have to tell you, you’ve warmed my heart.
Kimberly Espinel 43:38
Jillian Leslie 43:41
Thank you. Thank so much for being on the show.
Kimberly Espinel 43:45
Thanks for having me.
I hope you guys enjoyed my conversation with Kimberly. She, to me, just oozes authenticity and passion for her students and for what she’s putting out in the world. She is definitely a deeper closer person. And you can feel that.
I don’t know about you but I feel like I know who she is and I feel so much trust and such a connection. And that is my biggest takeaway from this episode.
If you are trying to grow your Instagram followers, definitely check out MiloTree. Head to MiloTree.com, install it on your site in two minutes and start growing your Instagram followers using your own traffic.
These are people who already have been on your site who like what you’re doing, who will then become those raving fans that you want on Instagram. And remember, you get your first 30 days free so there is no risk. And I will see you here again next week.
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