Updated: Feb 11
Hashtag Authentic by Sara Tasker is one of the first podcasts I listened to. In fact after discovering Sara I went back and listened to all of the episodes.
Sara specialises in interviewing creative people, at the top of their fields often, who have interesting perspectives to add on topics that many can relate to. Issues like comparison, self belief, nurturing creativity, and building a business that is authentically yours.
On the last point this is where Sara specialises. She was a photographer, who built a successful career on Instagram, after having her family. The way she did this was by starting small deciding to post every day with something that really resonated with her. She specialises in imagery. Her photos are absolutely beautiful, and they each tell a story.
Her own rise to Insta fame was relatively quick, she went from zero to 40,000 followers in less than 4 months and it opened up a whole new world of work and opportunity for her. At the time of writing she has a 227K.
Her book also named Hashtag Authentic came out in 2019 which I remember hearing about on the Emma Gannon podcast Control Alt Delete. I couldn't wait for a read.
It isn't a long book, and your reading time and speed may depend upon how many of the excellent exercises Sara includes for you to do. I snuggled up on the sofa and found myself absolutely drawn into her photography and gentle narrative.
I don't want to take away any sales from Sara so I won't cover the content in depth in this blog, I think I have already convinced a couple to buy it though which is great! But in summary some suggestions you may wish to consider from the book:
1) You need to up your photography game
Instagram is all about images. The first thing we see of someone is the photos they post. The functionality of Instagram allows photos that do very well to go far and wide. The more comments an image attracts the more people it will be shown to because of the way the algorithm works. Sara gives some fantastic tips from her perspective as a professional photographer on things like lighting, composition and how to use your smart phone to get the most from it. But in summary, post better photos to get a better response.
2) Consider your audience
Sara makes the point that the way to thrive on Instagram is to develop an audience of people who want to see your content and want to develop a closer relationship to you. Great if you are a small business looking to interact with your customers.
One thing she says which I really appreciated was if you were gifted 100K of followers today, you would lose followers every time you posted simply because not all of those people would be interested in your content. Numbers are not everything at all, it is much more important to build on engagement and interaction with the right customers
3) You still need a mailing list
Sara and I both agree on this one. Although she has a large and dedicated following on Instagram, Sara still takes the time to build relationships in other areas, such as her website and newsletter.
Newsletters allow us to be much closer to the people we want to speak to and can only be controlled by us. Social media can be changed tomorrow to suit its owners in a way that could be really hard for a small business to cope with. For example fees being introduced for use. So building other ways to contact people is important.
As a side note, Sara's monthly email message always includes hashtags for people to try on their posts some she suggests #chattycaptioncommunity #asecondofwhimsy #thisiswinter I'd recommend subscribing to her mailing list to benefit from all of the amazing content she shares
You can buy Sara Taskers book here
Thank you for reading, I hope this was a useful book review for you.
Would you like more help with your marketing? My new book is out now
If you would like a book of 100 Marketing Tips written just for small business owners then do have a look here. I wrote this book to be easy to read cover to cover or to be kept as a reference to dip in and out of!
Shona Chambers Marketing is a Marketing Agency based in SE London.
Specialising in helping Small Business Owners and Freelancers with their Marketing.