When did you start blogging, and what motivated you to start?
I started my first blog after graduating college in 2009 while living in the Syracuse area selling advertising at a local radio station. I called it Gen TaYlor (a play on “Generation Y” aka Millennials) and wrote about generational differences in the workplace and perspectives on life. This topic is still fascinating to me! Over time though, that idea transitioned into more of a “lifestyle” blog and I changed the name to “Taylor Made Me” (original, right?!) while I continued to work on writing content and editing images. When Instagram came about in roughly 2010/2011, I moved away slightly from writing and focused on taking photos to document my life on social media. Life and work in the marketing field took me to Chicago and then Washington D. C. before making my way home to Buffalo in 2013. Once we were back in the B-Lo I changed my blog name to IN THE BUFF and haven’t looked back. Major shout out to my friend Brittany Theophilus who helped me name my blog! Today, I use my Instagram and blog as a personal creative outlet aside from my career, which is focused on freelance social media management for a multitude of clients and events. Having an Instagram and blog has had exponential impacts on my personal energy, excitement, and creativity which, in turn, I am able to pass along to potential clients! A true win-win.
I love your Instagram photos. They’re beautiful! How do you use Instagram to help build your brand?
I tend to use my Instagram as a personal photo diary. I enjoy capturing images of and writing about food, art, lifestyle, beauty, and travel with a focus on the one and only Buffalo, NY. I launched IN THE BUFF’s Instagram account and blog simultaneously. Instagram is where I focus most of my creative efforts and where most of my blog’s audience comes from as well so – it’s a partnership. Gaining a following organically (read: without paying for followers) takes time, strategy, and effort but it’s so worth it in terms of real engagement with your audience. Organic followers will interact with your brand, comment and like your posts, and ultimately a real community can be created! I’ll spend time each day browsing Instagram liking, following, and commenting on photos that I enjoy or that I feel are similar in aesthetic to my brand. This builds relationships with other creators on the platform and also helps to build my following. Posting content regularly on Instagram helps to build momentum and I also include a call to action encouraging followers to head to my blog to see more. I also highly recommend using Instagram Stories for your brand! Once I incorporated Stories into my daily Instagram routine, I noticed a significant bump in followers.
Besides Instagram, what other social media platforms do you use? Which platform do you find the most appealing for your brand?
Since I work in the social media and marketing fields, I’m active on almost every social media channel you can imagine on a personal level. While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this for every brand or everyone, it’s working for me right now. As it relates to IN THE BUFF specifically I’m actively posting Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest. I find that Instagram is the most appealing for my blog’s brand, followed by Pinterest and Facebook. For personal social media use, I find Instagram and Twitter to be my go-to platforms, followed by Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
What challenges have you come across while building your brand? Are there any tools out there that have helped you overcome these challenges.
The challenge that comes to mind right away is a combination of reach and building a following. Ultimately, growing a following takes time, energy, and strategy as we chatted about earlier. Another challenge is creating a feed or brand aesthetic that is cohesive in appearance. A tool I use that has transformed my Instagram feed is a photo editing app called A Color Story built by the team at A Beautiful Mess. I implement this tool for almost every photo I share and I find that the filters and editing options are superior to many editing apps I’ve found.
Tell me about any recent collaborations you’ve done, and are there any creatives in Buffalo you’d like to network with?
Recently I collaborated with a brand called Purity of Elements to promote their new skincare line and I love the products they sent my way in exchange for a review. They were a great brand to work with and also shared my posts to their audience which improved my blog’s reach. There are so many talented creatives here in Buffalo! I would love to work with every. single. one. Two names come to mind right away! Nicole Cooke (@nicolecooke) who is a photographer, designer, and screenprinter (among many other talents) as well as Edreys Wajed (@edreys), a super talented artist, jeweler, speaker, and entrepreneur.
Now let’s get a little more personal! Tell me your favorites:
- Band or music artist – Drake & Lady Gaga
- Restaurant in Buffalo – WOW this is tough. Today? Cantina Loco. The Smoky Margarita is my favorite!
Clothingboutique – Ro Homeshop on Elmwood
- Graffiti spots/favorite neighborhood in Buffalo – My favorite neighborhood in the city is our own – the West Side near Five Points! Our neighborhood features locally-owned restaurants, yoga studios, fresh pressed juice, public art, pubs, neighborhood gardens, bakeries, refugee and community health centers, diversity, caring neighbors, La Nova Pizzeria (their BBQ wings from the pit are the best BBQ wings in town, in my opinion),
- Lipstick – I can’t name just one! Colourpop in shade Mama, Kylie Lip Kit in shade Koko K, & Kat Von D in shade Susperia
And let’s get a little more personal, shall we:
- Who was your favorite Power Ranger? None. Never watched it!
- Has anyone ever mistaken you for somebody famous? Nope!
- How many times does it take for you to listen to a song that you love before you actually hate it instead? The limit does not exist.
- How long does it take you to scroll through facebook before giving up? That 100% depends on the political news of the day.
- What is your favorite kind of cookie? Chocolate chip.
- Which Madonna era do you most identify with? The Britney Spears (AND Christina) VMA kiss.
- Finally, how many Taylor Swift songs do you actually listen to in a day? Haha – it’s been a while! Although when 1989 was released I had the album on repeat for days. Now, Drake on the other hand? I’m really stuck on his music right now…I listen to no fewer than 5 Drake songs a day. Every day. Luckily my boyfriend is a fan, too!
Thank you so much Taylor for being a part of our diary! Ladies, you can find more of Taylor linked below.