It is no secret now that being a social media star is a lucrative career. According to recent reports, 22% percent of businesses report using Instagram influencers to market their businesses.
An increasing number of Instagrammers in Croatia are starting to grow big followings and in doing so becoming influencers. One of those is 23-year-old fashion and travel lover Petra Colak.
Petra, who grew up in Makarska on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast before studying at Public Relations College in Zagreb, recently returned from the London Fashion Week where she had been invited because of her large Instagram following.
“Since I was 12 years old, I fell in love with photography and bought my first digital camera. Later, I started to learn more every day, and when I turned 16, I started to earn some money from it. I always loved to travel, and thanks to these two loves, it opened me lots of possibilities today on Instagram,” Petra said.
Petra opened her Instagram account in 2013, but she says she started to post more often and more quality content since 2017.
“I didn’t have any plan, I just wanted to share my travel and fashion photos with my friends, but with time, some of the most popular travel profiles shared my photos and my followers started to grow.”
Petra has managed to amass over 103,000 followers on Instagram and she says that with that many followers it is possible, if you put in the work, to make a living.
“It varies every month, sometimes you can earn more and sometimes less, but I could say if you work really hard and put your maximum, you can make a living from Instagram,” she says.
Most Instagrammers with a big following can point to a moment which was a catalyst in a big spike in followers, for Petra it was a shot on a sandy beach.
“I remember it was a huge boom when I posted one bikini photo on a sandy beach at the evening, and when I woke up in the morning, that photo was shared on a few profiles with more than 1 million followers, and my profile grew for more than 5000 followers in one evening, and I was shocked. I could say that was the moment when I realised I wanna try to succeed on this platform, and that I’m gonna post as better photos as I can. Also, since I worked as a fashion photographer, I took photos of some celebrities who shared my profile a few times and helped me to grow my account in the beginning.
Petra has posted over 500 photos and her most popular to date is a photo she took at a Lisbon aquarium.
“It took me about 5 hours to edit that photo, and I spent at least 2 hours in aquarium waiting for people to leave so I can get the clear shot. But it was totally worth it, because that photo earned more than 12 thousand likes and 300 comments.”
Petra, whose her favourite places she has visited include Barcelona and New York, says she gets on average around 10 offers a week.
“It also depends if I’m travelling, because then I receive more offers from brands, because they want me to shoot their products in some popular destinations. For example, when I posted that I’ll go to Santorini, I received more than 20 offers in one week, but finally I decided to work with only 2 of them, who fitted my style the most.”
One of the recent collaborations took her to the recent London Fashion Week where she went with her fellow Makarska native, friend and designer Olja Luetić (Olya Sookie) who had her own show there.
“I also got a lot of attention, since I received over 40 invitations for various shows, events and after parties which are private and invitation-only. Because of the tight schedule, I attended a little less than 20 events, running from one show to another. On the first night, Olja and I attended Mulberry’s prestige event, where we were hanging out with famous singer Paloma Faith and popular fashion blogger Leonie Hanne,” Petra explains.
“In just a few days I received a lot of e-mails from various brands who offered me collaborations with them, and one of the best was the brand Strathberry, who sent me a bag worth £500 as a gift just to wear it on the shows.”
Petra is in the process of opening her own private advertising and digital marketing business. Besides working on her Instagram profile, she is also working with a few restaurants and bars, and helping them to gain more followers and customers.
“I’m planning to travel as more as I can, and to post more quality content. Also, I’m thinking of organising a Masterclass with a friend of mine who is popular on YouTube (Debela Barbara), and teach people how to grow their social media and earn money from it.”
What advice does Petra have for those trying to become influencers on Instagram?
“It’s not about the quantity, it’s about quality. You should post the best content you can create, organise your feed, engage with your audience, reply to the comments, post at least 3 stories per day to stay in touch with your followers. You need to use hashtags, tag as many people as you can, comment other relevant profiles, pay for promotion of your best posts, and when you get to the point of having a good profile, you should reach out to the brands.”
You can check out Petra’s Instagram profile here.