Hey everyone, I’m Greg Sideris and today I’m talking with Melanie Martins. Melanie is the creator and owner of one of the most wonderful Travel & Lifestyle accounts on Instagram (@melaniemartinsblog) with over 1,2 million total followers. Melanie is an avid traveller who loves exploring the world.
In this interview we would like to know more about yourself and get some Tips for people who would like to start & grow as a Digital Influencer especially on the popular photo sharing platform Instagram
With all your travels How do you structure your days?
Hello Greg! And thank you so much for having me here! Well, my mornings are quite different depending if I’m traveling or at home. But in general, if I’m traveling, my day goes something like:
7 AM – Wake up, take shower, get ready.
8 AM – Breakfast
9 AM- Reply to my emails and have a chat with my manager about future trips and projects.
10 AM-1 AM – Create content, visit sightseeing, beach, etc.
1-2 PM Get Lunch
2-5 PM Continue to create content and have another call with my manager if needed;
5-6 PM Gym time
6-7 PM Sunset photoshoot
7-8 PM Getting ready to go to dinner
8-10 PM Dinner time
10 PM back to the villa/room/house
11 PM Sleep time
Where and how do you work best?
If I have to update my blog with fresh content, I prefer to work from home as story writing takes quite some time and I need to be concentrated. But to create the content itself traveling is obviously much better.
How do you solve traveling and running successfully such an Instagram account?
I have to give the merit to my manager Hanan, who can approach brands and negotiate on my behalf while I’m traveling and focusing on creating the content with my partner Diogo Novo.
Having someone to deal with brands, prepare the trips and handle the negotiations goes a long way so you can focus about your content and new business ventures if needed.
What are your favorite books or movies on Travel and Photography?
It’s gonna sound quite old-fashion but I really love “Anna and the King” which is about an English Teacher named Anna who has to teach to the royal family of the Kingdom of Siam several subjects from English to math, science, etc. The cultural differences back in the time when there was no Internet or airplanes is quite fascinating.
I also have to stay, when I was younger I grew up watching the likes of Indiana Jones, The Mummy, and Tom Raider (with the amazing Angelina Jolie) so travel-oriented movies with a lot of adventure have been present during my entire life.
Now lets talk about Instagram a bit,…
What would you have done differently on Instagram if you knew then what you know now?
I would have started to have feed consistency since the very beginning. See, I was never really aware until recently how to plan a feed color, filter, style, etc. So despite each independent picture looks nice, they don’t have any major impact in the feed. If I could go back, I would have definitely created my own presets and colour range to have a consistent feed look since the beginning.
What’s the best advice you ever received about Instagram?
Be friend with the people that inspires you. You will grow faster.
What tools do you find indispensable for accomplishing Instagram growth?
I don’t use any tool in particular but I believe one of the best process to grow is to create great and consistent content + using proper hashtags and post at the right time of the day. Try to get as much outside PR as possible by befriend with journalists, getting your personal story out of the Instagram app is vital to achieve growth. People must be able to simply google your name and find plenty of articles about you, your work and story.
Who are your biggest influencers on Instagram? Who do you admire most?
I had the pleasure to meet in Istanbul Jack Morris (@doyoutravel) and Lauren Bull (@gypsea_lust) just before Christmas time as they were speaking at the same Summit than I. I really admire Jack content and its brand consistency. I wish I could have been as consistent since the beginning. I also love @travel_inhershoes – her work is magical.
What is still your biggest challenge on Instagram?
At my stage the biggest challenge is not really about Instagram itself, but dealing with brands who undervalue us – Instagrammers – and our work on Instagram. Fortunately, now my manager Hanan can deal with them. But there was a time where I had to explain why I charge X and why their budget is far from reasonable. When you have a manager or “Director of Partnerships” you are more credible, and they can pick the phone and prepare digital packages on your behalf.
What surprising lessons have you learned along the way to become Instagram famous?
Stay true to yourself, to your style. And improve it. Don’t try to be a copycat of some Instagrammer. It’s important to take inspirations from other accounts but find your own brand and evolve from it. Have a clear strategy of why you are doing this, how will you grow, what niches you want to cover and grow your image and brand. If you want to do it as a business, not just for fun, then think long term. Think about having a Price List and a professional media-kit with your stats, case studies, etc. Think Team. Get someone (or more) who can be your photographer and travel the world with you + a backstage team to deal with brands when the time has come. Right now, we are 3 and we are thinking to grow the team this year to 4.
What do you find are biggest stumbling blocks on Instagram and what are the best ways you’ve found to overcome them?
Growing. Create great content is relatively easy nowadays with all the presets and tutorials available. But growing is relatively hard with so much noise. Getting your name out there is essential to grow.
Which photography gear to you use for your photos?
I use a Nikon D810 + prime lenses from Nikon and Zeiss for Instagram pictures, I also use a GoPro Hero 5 for underwater pics, and a Mavic Pro Platinum for aerial shots. Equipment is very important to achieve high quality content.
What’s next for you? What are your future plans?
I’m planning a trip to Qatar end of March as I will be shooting an Editorial for Grazia Arabia. In April, I will be going to Sri Lanka and Japan. I’m also working on side projects to be launched very soon.
Where can our readers follow your activities, what are your Instagram and other Social Media Accounts?
On my own blog melaniemartins.com
Thanks you so much Melanie for your valuable time!
Thank you very much Greg!
Happiness in one photo! Thank you @turkishairlines for the amazing flight to/from the #Maldives ?? ! Check on my Insta-stories for some funny moments on the plane ? #widenyourworld #turkishairlines pic.twitter.com/fAq4RfyTt3
— Melanie Martins (@_MelanieMartins) February 22, 2018