Building a smaller, dedicated audience on social media


In the world of social media, there’s sometimes too much of a focus around the number of followers you have, and that you can’t be successful with a smaller, dedicated audience. I’m here to argue the point that you can, and thoughts to consider, even without several hundred thousand or a million plus followers. I’ll discuss how to connect with your core audience, and the term micro-influencer.

How to connect with your core audience

Regardless of the size of your reach, your focus should be around providing value through your products or services, and building that connection with your core audience. This way, you’ll be creating trust and a solid relationship with them, resulting in chances of having more repeat business, and growing organically through avenues like word of mouth. Being recognized for what you do very well, along with strong, personal referrals, goes a long way in creating opportunities and fostering lasting business relationships that will potentially bring you more in the future.

For a personal example, a close friend of mine shared a screenshot from her business insights, which speaks volumes to the points above. She has an audience of just under 2000 followers on Instagram, yet her returning customer rate is 32% from Shopify purchases. She’s built a dedicated following with a core audience, and interacts consistently with those that recognize the value in what she provides through her products and services.

For a larger sample size, I researched the average returning customer rate through this article from Little Stream Software. Shopify reports 27% is a good baseline comparison. This provides a concrete example that you can be successful and above the grade average with a smaller, core audience.

One further point is interacting with your audience on a consistent basis. Through comments in your posts, story sticker questions, and direct messages, you’ll gain valuable insights into what they’re interested in, and why. You’ll be able to offer them a voice, and give them opportunities to share their own experiences with you. This is important to remember, especially with a smaller audience.


Micro-influencers typically might only have a few thousand followers, but they still provide a significant amount of value, and persuade others in their choices. In this article from Sophia Bernazzani, she discusses how a brand sets up a partnership with these individuals, in order to help build trust amongst the brand’s audience. Micro-influences normally work in specialized or niche environments, and post on social media in regards to what interests them. You can certainly see the benefits of what value this would bring to both parties. The micro-influencer is likely perceived in a positive light, and the smaller brand creates that trusted connection with their core audience.


In conclusion, I believe it’s possible to be successful with a smaller, dedicated audience. Set your focus to what provides value through your products and services, and consistently connect with your audience through presented opportunities. When possible, use the advantage of partnering with like-minded individuals to further build that trust amongst your audience, whether it’s 300 or 3000 followers. In the end, you’re more likely to continually reach the goals you set out to accomplish and grow your business organically.

Are you finding success with your smaller audience?

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Taking my content on social media to new heights with drone piloting


When I first started posting content as Flash Reel Media in 2017, it never crossed my mind that one day I would add the title of Certified Drone Pilot to my creative skillset and social media profile. It’s provided me with the ability to capture unique, aerial perspectives through my projects, while taking my content on social media to new heights. In this blog, I’ll share my experience on becoming a certified drone pilot, content that I’ve created, and how I’ve used this skillset to stand out from the crowd.

Becoming a Certified Drone Pilot

Have you ever been curious about drone flying? The process of becoming a certified drone pilot in Canada is more difficult and rare than you think. According to information from Transport Canada and their newsletter, here are some statistics for you to think about.

  • Number of drones registered: 57,137
  • Number of Basic Pilot Certificates issued: 50,707
  • Number of Advanced Pilot Certificates issued: 4,980

*Statistics current to February 25, 2021

After weeks of studying online course material through a local drone school, I wrote and passed Transport Canada’s entry-level exam. This certified me with my Remote Pilot Aircraft Systems (RPAS) basic operations license and certificate. It allows me to fly in uncontrolled airspace, to specific heights, and with the knowledge for ensuring safe, responsible, and legal flights. The Canadian rules and regulations were updated in June 2019, and any drone over 250 grams presently requires a license in order to fly and operate it. You must also register your drone with Transport Canada, if it’s in the 250+ grams category.

Currently, I fly a DJI Mavic Mini and because it’s in the micro drone category (less than 250 grams), I don’t technically require a license to fly it. However, I still believe becoming certified is an important and responsible step for the future and strongly recommend it for anyone looking to fly, even for micro drones like the Mavic Mini. You need to be situational aware at all times while you’re flying, and you never know when the rules and regulations will be reviewed and changed. With being licensed and certified, it’ll also allow you opportunities to fly commercially that would otherwise be out of reach, with larger grade drones. To date, I have completed 107 flights in total, distancing 23KM.

Using my skillset and specific projects to stand out from the crowd

Using my skillset has enabled me to create stunning, unique aerial perspectives and stand out from the crowd on social media. Networks likes Instagram provide a perfect landscape to showcase my visual drone projects, through higher engagement of my content with more likes, comments, and the wow factor for my audience. For video specific projects, I’ve created short yet appealing aerial views around historic, architectural buildings like Knox’s Galt Presbyterian Church in Cambridge, which is featured below.

For photography shots, I’ve flown at and around well-known local landmarks in Waterloo Region, such as Cambridge and the Cambridge Mill, Kitchener’s Victoria Park Clock Tower, Basilica of our Lady Immaculate in Guelph, and Fergus’ Wellington County Museum and Archives. I’ve taken these opportunities to create and sell postcards featuring these locations to both local businesses and museums alike. I’ve also had initial talks and am planning to display larger print formats of these drone shots locally.


In conclusion, drone piloting has provided me with opportunities to utilize my creative eye through my videography and photography projects. All this is part of my social media strategy to take full advantage of what makes me unique, remind people of what I want to be known for, and what I’m capable of creating if I were to work with them on collaborative projects.

Are there any fellow remote pilots among the readership? Have you ever been interested to learn how to fly a drone?

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Curating the right social media hashtags for your niche


Hashtags have become an important aspect of social media with their ability to empower people to reach whole new audiences. From selecting niche and relevant tags (and how many to include), to websites such as Gravtag, a hashtag analyzer tool, calculating these steps have never been so important. Strategizing and using tools like these will enable you to reach and converse with the right audiences, while leading you toward inspiring projects to work on. With continuous trial and error methods to see what works, curating the right social media hashtags for your niche is essential. I’ll now cover some hashtag tips and information, and what’s worked well for me personally.

Niche and relevant hashtags

With literally endless possibilities and choices, select hashtags that have a purpose, and ones that complement your content and copy. Are you a landscape-based photographer? Then use location based tags such as #pointpeleenationalpark, that will highlight where the photo was shot. This’ll translate into reaching folks who visit or live near that same location, and potentially have a unique connection to the place. Regardless of your medium, you’ll be able to peak shared interests of these folks, start conversations, and connect with those who you want to show your content to.

Tip #8 from this article speaks about making your hashtags relevant and relatable to your business. They also mention that without careful consideration, you could be promoting off brand. This connects to what I’ve written about above. If your current audience follows and engages with you because of your landscape photography content, why wouldn’t you use tags that are relevant to this? This way, you’ll build trusted connections and relationships with your followers. They’ll come to know what to expect when you post, and there’s a better chance of them working with you or supporting you in future transactions of your services or products.

For a personal example, here’s an Instagram post of mine, to show what’s worked well for me.

For this post, Instagram Insights showed me hashtag impressions were at 427 (out of 543 in total), it reached a total of 503 accounts, and 81% of those accounts were not already following me. This provides me with great marketing intel for any future posts.

I started out choosing location-based tags of where the photo was taken (Elora, Ontario). I’ve had really great engagement with these types of tags and building my audience successfully. Then, because it was a print sale, I related it the purpose of the post, using #printsforyourhome and #printsforsale. This will reach folks who may be looking for prints for their home. Even though they may not purchase this particular one, they now know I occasionally sell prints, and may follow me for future sales. Slow and steady works well for me, and you never know when the right time is for people to make a purchase. It’s more about reminding them what you do, and can they imagine you providing your services or products for them.


Gravtag is one of the many social media hashtag analyzer tools available for use. From my personal experience, I wanted to mention this one, due to its ease of use and more importantly, free analytical stats that it displays. Upon landing at the site, you’ll see two tabs of discover and analyze. The discover tab is pretty self-explanatory. Enter a few keyword search terms that describe your photo, and it’ll return a stack of hashtags related to that search. Clicking on any of the individual results in the list will produce further connected tags. Each time you select a tag; it adds it to a back end clipboard at the bottom of the page.

Once you’ve chosen your applicable tags, click the ‘To Analyze’ button. You’ll be presented with a hashtags list, and this is where I believe the site really shines. Each tag will show the number of posts where it was used, along with total likes, comments, and visitors. You’ll be able to pick up on trending and popular tags, and relevant to your content. You can use these tags in your posts to get a sense of what folks are searching for, and therefore, reach whole new audiences.


In conclusion, take the time to research and select appropriate, relevant social media hashtags for your niche. Keep them all on brand and it’ll really assist you in building the type of audiences you want to connect with. Take advantage of those location based tags, as they’re a simple way to get started in curating a list to use.

Do you have a hashtag strategy that works for you?

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Creating social media content with a mobile device


In the land of social media and visuals, we consume all kinds of content. Often, folks have it in their mind that creating professional looking photo and video just simply requires high-end camera gear. Although having the right tools for your profession matters, it’s more about knowing how to use your equipment. Knowing the fundamentals of what makes a great shot or capture is one of the keys as well.

While hiring an experienced videographer or photographer pays off in spades, I feel like there are still some misconceptions around shooting with a phone and what’s possible. I believe you can utilize your everyday mobile device to create your own professional looking content. I’ll break down some advice to help make your mobile photos and videos shine brighter for social media.

Mobile device capabilities

Almost all modern, mobile devices are capable of shooting high-definition photos and videos, with some even being able to achieve 4K for resolution. For an example of what’s possible, the various camera lenses on the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max (which I shoot with), are explained by Lauren Goode at WIRED Magazine below:

Here is a mobile photo of mine (taken from my own Instagram account), which was shot on my iPhone 11 Pro Max, using the wide angle lens.

Days Anew by Flash Reel Media

High-definition formats like 1080P are perfectly in line with what’s needed and expected for social media content posts, even for for some businesses and companies. Taking full advantage of what your mobile device is capable of and knowing their features (each one will differ), is a stepping stone in creating unique perspectives and professional quality looking content.

Basics of framing and composition

When you’re out taking a photo or video, visualize your shot and what’s within the frame of your camera. What catches your eye when you look out on a landscape or city scene? Are there bright, vibrant colours that would draw a viewer’s attention? Use those elements to your advantage. Photographers often talk about the rule of thirds, and this can really impact your compositions. You can also use this when shooting videos.

Regardless of what camera you’re using, you can apply this technique. Below is a link from Marshall Reyher at Reyher Photo, to explain the rule of thirds for those not familiar with it.

Using natural light and shooting at certain times

If you don’t have access to or the resources for additional lighting sources, use what’s around you. For visuals outside, where I shoot the majority of my videos and photos, the sun is your greatest resource. Avoiding shooting directly into it and having your back to it will help balance your photos. Within your mobile camera’s application, you’ll have further control by tapping on the screen to expose for either the lighter (i.e. the sky) or darker areas. Play around with those settings and you’ll be surprised what your mobile device is capable of.

Ever been out in the middle of the day, and the light is too harsh for your eyes? It’s the same for when you’re using your camera. Usually, early in the mornings (just as the sun is rising) or in the evenings (during sunset), natural light is at its best. You’ll get shades of pink, orange, and blue that will really help make your photos and videos stand out, creating a certain mood or emotion.


In conclusion, don’t feel like you’re limited by your mobile device to be able to produce professional looking content for your social media channels. Use the tools that you have readily available, and get to know them well. Use some of the techniques you’ve read about today, keep learning more, and see what else is out there for your device! What kind of content will you create today with yours?

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