"It's about being authentic"

Zoe Hornby, Instagram Management and Photographer

Originally from the UK Zoe Hornby is the founder of ‘Zoe Loves Creating’, a photography and instagram management company She moved to Barcelona in 2012, for what was supposed to be a short stint. One year turned into two, that turned into a few, and that has turned into more than 10 years. A story for many! Now that she has moved to Maresme and living a life filled with green, cleaner air, and quieter streets, in a place that she adores, she thinks Maresme might just be it… for good! Zoe has a few loves in her life, but the one she shares here is her love for creating, creating content, mainly Instagram content.

Imagine if I told you that you could use a free video marketing platform to connect with hundreds of potential customers? Well, that’s Instagram! It’s a total no-brainer if you run a business. And I love it.

I love working with clients. Planning. Brainstorming. Researching. Interacting. Content creating. Reels. Carousels. Canva. Photoshoots. Editing. The wows. The tweaks. All of it!

A lot of business owners don’t share my love of Instagram hence they work with an Insta geek like me. I pull together all the pieces of the Instagram puzzle, including the photography, to make their accounts and content stand out.

There are eight things that I think make Instagram work best.  Here are my tips in terms of local Maresme towns.

Know Your Audience. I moved to Llavaneres because a mate talked incessantly about how good it was. She was right. She ‘knew her audience’. And you need to know your audience too when we are talking about your business Instagram. It’s not about the number of followers but the quality of those followers. You only want scrollers interested in you and your business as they are the ones who will engage and ultimately buy.

Planning. Building a city like Mataró takes planning. Just like your Instagram. Posting, like building, ‘sin’ plan just won’t work! Without a plan, it’s too easy to post inconsistently, without mixing content styles, without thought for the audience, and with less value. By planning you flip them around and suddenly find yourself posting regularly, on brand, on topic, varying styles. It also takes away a big chunk of the stress that can come from Instagram. 

Content Pillars. Cabrils has all the pillars of a wonderful village; community, gastronomy, and tranquillity. It’s a reminder that your content needs to hit certain pillars too to make it more consumable for your audience. While each business and industry has its own focus, often content hits these common pillars: educational, empathy, community, promotion, and personal. 

Your profile. Don’t judge Vilassar by the busy and ugly Nacional that sits in front of it. Step behind those streets and it’s one of the most desirable towns here in Maresme. It’s certainly one of my faves. Your profile is equally judge’able. People read it and will make an instant decision whether or not it’s of interest to them. So you need to make sure your profile talks to your audience and ‘ideal follower’. You need to do a few things right:  your photo, name, bio, CTA (call to action), and highlights. 

Consistency.  Arenys de Mar wasn’t built in a day(!) The same applies to Instagram. It’s very important to be consistent with your posts to slowly build growth. And consistency isn’t just about regularity, it’s being consistent with your tone of voice and look and feel. Consistency makes your business memorable and keeps users coming back for more. It also builds trust – which you want, because customers buy from those they trust.

The Content Style. Oh, how lovely Sant Pol is. The feel. The calm. The beauty. The style. This is how I feel about it based on what I see. Flip that to Instagram as a reminder that what your audience sees matters. It’s about being authentic in the posts. It’s about varying reels and carousels. It’s about showing YOU as the business owner. It’s about using good eye-catching hooks and never forgetting CTAs. All these things matter.

The Content Value. Tiana equals green, calm, and tranquillity BUT with Barcelona sooooo close. So valuably close!! And your posts need to be bursting with value just like Tiana. If it’s not valuable to them they won’t watch, read, save, or share. Time for some marketing blub… but it’s super useful; the PAS formula. You need to highlight the Problem that your audience has. Then Agitate them by tapping into the emotion of that problem. Finally, you provide Solutions… with, ultimately, your business offering being the solution.

Getting Social on the Socials. We wouldn’t turn up to a party and not be sociable. Alella is full of lots of cool little bars and restaurants so think of one of those places hosting a party that you are invited to. It’s time to mingle! You need to reply to comments, engage with your peers, share relatable content, look to collab with other businesses, and show up in your stories… regularly. It will all have a huge impact. 

The small part of the marketing pie actually needs a lot of attention. When you don’t know how it can be time-consuming, stressful, and frustrating. So to help a little more here are some quick tips to try and eliminate those feelings:

  • Use a pad and pen. One evening jot down the several posts that you want to make over the next two weeks. Then write. Then create. Then schedule. Then pat yourself on the back!
  • Set up a ‘Notes’ on your phone where you can quickly note down any ideas that come to mind when on the move. When you plan, take a look at your list.
  • When you scroll and feel inspired by someone’s post, save it. But save it into a ‘Collection’ called ‘Content Ideas’. You can look back on this when you are stuck with ideas down the line. 
  • Set up Canva templates so you are not creating posts and carousels from scratch each time. 
  • Use hooks to grab attention. Make scrollers feel so intrigued that they want to know more. 
  • Learn the art of punchy writing. Keep captions short but packed with value.
  • Before posting think ‘is this useful to my audience?’
  • Always add CTAs. Tell the consumer what they should do next. Be clear. 
  • Take b-roll regularly. This is background footage that you use on a reel but instead, it’s the written message that is the value. Having a stash of this content will make reel creation much faster. 
  • Set up an Album in your photos for all that is Instagram b-roll and content. You will want to be able to find it all quickly rather than endlessly scrolling through your camera roll.
  • Follow a couple of Instagram gurus as they will always be publishing content ideas and tips and tricks to make life easier. 

And in the meantime, you can follow me @zoelovescreating where I am posting some tips and tricks, but you’ll see a lot of Barcelona/Maresme coming up in my content.