Tis time for our December Social Media BOSS Interview! I hope that you all are enjoying meeting new bloggers that are absolutely killing the social media scene as much as I am. Today, let’s get to know Rachel Rouhana from Haute Chocolate and get her take on Social Media!
How to be a Social Media Boss: Interview with Haute Chocolate
You may have already “met” Rachel around my blog; I mention her genius stock photography images quite often, I don’t know where my biz would be without her stock photos y’all, seriously!
Now, this lady is not only an amazing graphic designer, photographer, and blogger – she is also one of my women entrepreneur besties! Rachel and I “met” over a year ago when I fell in love with her stock photography and the rest is history! This lady is not only a genius business women that works hard everyday to provide amazing photography, she is a sweet person. I wish Rachel nothing but the best in business and am cheering her on the entire way! Rachel is definitely a Social Media BOSS y’all and for many reasons…
What’s the 411 on you and your biz?
I’m Rachel, a self-taught graphic designer, photographer, and founder of the Haute Chocolate Styled Stock Library. I help women entrepreneurs create visually stunning brands to attract their ideal clients. I’ve been an entrepreneur since 2010 when I started creating and selling chocolate favors – hence the name, Haute Chocolate – but I launched the Styled Stock Library (SSL) in March, 2015. I created the SSL because I realized that there were very few stock images out there that were affordable and a stylish, fun, representation of my brand (at the time, I was launching a party printables course and needed stock photos for my website). So, I taught myself photography, bought a bunch of pretty props, and worked #likeaboss to grow the Styled Stock Library. We now have 1000+ images (with new collections added twice a month), graphics packs, and pre-made social media quotes for available for members to use.
Why use social media? What’s your take-away from it?
Social media is a must for modern day businesses — if you’re not using it, you’re definitely missing out. Not only is it an amazing way to get traffic to your site, best of all, it’s the perfect platform to show your brand’s personality and to build a strong community. I love seeing how members use our stock photos, how creative they get making the images their own, how I get instant feedback on new collections. It’s great to have that opportunity to connect, and to have real-time conversations with my community.
Where is your social media home?
I spend most of my time on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook, and I recently started a Twitter account. But out of those four, Insta is my fav.
How long did it take you to grow your social media following?
I didn’t start getting strategic about social media until last year, and to be honest I felt like it was taking sooooooo long. But now that I’m measuring and trying to be more planned in how I approach each platform, I can see that growth is happening. There’s still a lot of work to do though!
What overwhelms you the most with social media?
I think many of us struggle with the same thing — how to create content that reflects our brands and how to make it engaging so that our community cares about what we’re posting. I don’t struggle with the visuals (that’s what the Styled Stock Library is for!) but I do struggle at times with the copy and trying to post things that are educational, inspirational and of value, and not just a pretty picture!
Which social media network gives you the biggest return?
Pinterest is one of the biggest referrers to my blog, and I’m currently working on strengthening my Pinterest strategy for this reason. Instagram is great for building community and getting feedback on upcoming collections or ideas from my audience. But Facebook is also a good source of referrals, more so than Instagram by way of people actually clicking through to the website. They all have their value!
How much time per week do you spend in social media land?
I try to post at least once every day on Facebook, Insta, and Twitter – I like to batch and schedule out my posts using programs like Later or Buffer. It’s perfect because some days I don’t always have time to think of a caption or what image to post, so taking an afternoon to batch my social media graphics for a week or even a month lets me not be on social media all the time. That said, I am on Instagram every day. I would say I spend about a half hour a day to keep up with my favorite accounts and reply to comments.
Do you ever think of unplugging from social media?
I look forward to my half hour a day on Instagram because it helps me see what’s trending in terms of color palettes or patterns that I can incorporate into my new stock photo collections. I follow a lot of people outside my niche but who are my target audience, so for me, it’s important to stay connected to what people are posting and what they want to see more of. I think of it as research 🙂
I actually don’t spend much time at all on Facebook. I hop on every few days to see if I have any messages and reply to some comments, but that’s about it! I definitely did spend too much time in Facebook groups in the past and I found that it stressed me out and reduced my productivity big time, so I don’t even have the Facebook app on my phone anymore. Oh, and one of the best things I’ve done is to turn off all notifications. I don’t get any – no email or social media notifications. That has helped me stay sane!
What makes your fabulous self follow another blogger or brand on social media?
I’m very visual, so I love beautifully curated feeds that have a lot of variety in what they’re posting. It can get pretty boring to see someone’s coffee or lunch every single day. I love following brands that are creating beautiful things or have a unique perspective on the everyday. I also follow my Styled Stock Library members so that I can support and encourage them! I also use Instagram to search for and follow local businesses, and I’ve met a lot of friends (both local and from around the world) through Instagram. I think it’s an amazing platform!
If you could describe social media in one word – what would you choose? Social Media Boss in one word?
Social Media: Connection
Social Media Boss: Storyteller
Where do you see social media going in the next 5 years? Will your biz change with the new trends?
Everyone is talking a lot about video right now. I’ve been slow to get on the trend, but I do see myself doing it more next year, especially live video. I’ve been loving Instagram Stories and seeing the behind the scenes & less curated stuff that goes on with my favorite brands. I think having strong visuals will continue to be an important part of social media platforms. Humans are drawn to images and we can process them so much faster than words, so I think having a visual content strategy is going to be more important than ever. Consumers want to see polished and professional visuals, but also the personality behind the brand. I think brands that figure out how to use visuals in a way that helps tell their story and share their message will be successful.
What do you enjoy most by using social media?
I love seeing the personality behind the website and getting to know fellow boss ladies from around the world! It’s an amazing way to connect and stay in touch with the people and brands you love.
Spill it. Any tips on how to rock social media like a boss?
I think the key is knowing how each platform is different and why your audience is using a particular platform. That way you can connect with them in a way that makes sense and enhances their experience with your brand.
What’s next from Haute Chocolate?
More beautiful styled stock photo collections! For 2017, we have lots of fresh ideas and we’re going to be taking things to the next level. That’s all I can say for now!
Since we are all about making Social Media a Party I asked Rachel…
Bubbly and great conversation!
Below is one of Rachel’s recent stock photography collection releases…bubbly and conversation much?! 😉
Find Haute Chocolate on social media and show Rachel some Social Sister Love!
Thank you so much for being a part of the Social Media Boss series, Rachel!
And a huge thank you for providing the Haute Chocolate Styled Stock Photography that is perfectly perfect for women entrepreneurs like me!
DON’T FORGET IT : PIN IT!
*affiliate links were contained in this post. all thoughts on Haute Chocolate are 100% my own*