Be Engaged — make sure to like every comment and respond to every question that comes in on your social media. It can feel tedious when there are many but it is important for your fans to feel like they are heard.
We often use the term “Influencers” to describe people with significant social media followings on platforms like Instagram, Twitter TikTok, Youtube, Linkedin and Facebook. Influencers have become today’s media titans, sought after for everything from product placements to timely trends. What’s the difference between influence and impact? Fans and followers? Sizzle versus staying power?
In this interview series, called, “How To Cultivate Community In A Click to Connect World” we are talking to influencers about how they define success and what we all need to discover about the true nature of influence. As a part of this series I had the pleasure of interviewing Taryn Scarfone.
Taryn Scarfone is a food blogger specializing in low carb and keto recipes. She has been blogging since 2015 and has over 500,000 followers across her social media platforms.
Thank you for making time to visit with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. How did you discover your career path and what got you to where you are today?
I have always enjoyed cooking and baking and have a background in photography. I began to blog in 2015 as a hobby while staying home with my children. After only a few months I realized that my recipes were taking off and I had a loyal following already. Over the last 6 years I’ve published over 800 recipes to Joy Filled Eats. It’s been quite the roller coaster ride because we also welcomed two more children to our family during those years. My husband and I have now been married for 18 years and have six children ranging from two-years-old to fifteen.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned along the way that influences how you operate now?
To work hard and be consistent. In order to grow a large following on social media I’ve had to post content regularly and engage with my followers. What began as a hobby has turned into my full-time job. To grow to the place I am today required countless hours of work. Once I began treating my blog and social as a job the growth was tremendous.
We’re all searching for some good news. How are you using your platform to make a positive social impact?
I love connected with my readers on Facebook and Instagram. So many have had success on their weight loss journeys while enjoying my recipes. It makes me so happy when they come back and share photos of recipes they’ve made and their weight loss success stories.
Many of our readers are influencers as well. Others have tried and have yet to succeed. What words of advice would you offer to aspiring influencers, knowing what you know now?
Share quality content frequently. You can’t grow a following by posting once or twice a month. Do research into your niche, follow influencers you look up to, but be you. You can’t copy someone else and expect the same level of success. Every influencer I know has a unique voice and perspective. Different people resonant with their fans for different reasons. It’s also important to learn what works on the different platforms by analyzing the data you receive and then implementing those changes.
Success is often a matter of perspective. I’ve always resonated with Henry David Thoreau’s quote, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” How do you see success — or define success — for yourself now?
Success for me is that I can work from home and help to support my family. I am here for my children when needed. At the end of the day, it won’t matter how many followers I have on Instagram as long as I have loved and provided for my family.
What are your strategies to make room for who and what matters most?
Social media can really take over your life. I get questions, comments, and emails 24/7. I try really hard to only work during business hours with only a quick check-in on the weekend for anything time sensitive. It can be hard to separate when your phone keeps pinging constantly. I turn off my notifications and try to leave my phone on the charging station for at least a few hours every night. Giving my family my undivided attention is so important to me.
How do you reduce or mitigate stress?
I try to reduce stress in several ways. My husband and I try to go on a date night every week. We both work from home so getting out of the house is essential. Even if we just pack a picnic and go to the park, we enjoy that time out. And we try not to talk about work or the kids. Also, if I’m doing a task that doesn’t require 100% concentration, like editing photos in Lightroom, I will listen to music or a podcast.
I’m going to try a few of your tips, and I’m hopeful our readers will, too. Now it’s time for the big reveal — the moment our readers have been anticipating. What are your “five strategies to cultivate a large & engaged social media community?’ Please share a story or example for each.
- Be Engaged — make sure to like every comment and respond to every question that comes in on your social media. It can feel tedious when there are many but it is important for your fans to feel like they are heard.
- Post Regularly — sharing daily is necessary to build a following on most social platforms. I currently post about 10 times a day on Facebook and 2–3 on Instagram. I also share stories on both platforms at least a few times a week.
- Do Research — social media is constantly changing. Find out that is working and do that.
- Network — one of the best things I’ve done is connect with other food bloggers. We support each other and can share each other’s content. There are many community groups on Facebook for influencers to connect with each other on. I recently hosted an in-person retreat for 8 food bloggers and it was wonderful. We discussed our industry, taught each other new skills, and built relationships that go beyond social media.
- Develop your skills — taking bad quality photos and videos with an old cellphone is probably not the look most people are going for. Use decent equipment and learn how to edit. When I began, I would take terrible photos of my recipes and share them anyway. They did ok but when I stepped up my photography my content began to do better.
What do you do to create a greater sense of connection and community among your fans?
I try to offer frequent ways to connect. Chatting on social media is my primary connection. I have a plan in the works for a Facebook group that will encourage community support among my followers.
As an influencer, you are, by definition, a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I’ve struggled with my weight for many years which is how I got into the low carb and keto diet. I’d really like to inspire a movement about positive self-image among women. The number on the scale isn’t everything. It’s important to value yourself during your journey and not just when you hit your goal.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you’d like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He, she or they might just see this. 😊
I’d love to meet Ree Drummond. She began as I did, as a mom blogging from her kitchen. She has built a fabulous blog and following over many years.
What is the best way for our readers to further follow your work online?
You can find me at joyfilledeats.com and @joyfilledeats on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Thank you for these thought provoking insights. Here’s to your continued success!