Megan Scraper, also known as “Mindy the Lion,” is a luxury travel content creator and social media consultant based out of Vancouver, Canada. She has worked with the likes of top luxury brands Shangri-La, Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons, Six Senses, and Stella Artois, among others, to create unique marketing imagery and videography as well as provide exposure through her Instagram pages @mindythelion and @beforeidie, which have a combined reach of over 1.1M followers on Instagram alone. Megan is also the founder of Social Lume, a remote-based Instagram marketing consultancy comprised of Instagram influencers with PR backgrounds who have each surpassed 100k followers in their respective niche and offer content & audience growth strategies to businesses and brands by video chat.
Here are her tips for future bloggers, marketers and storytellers.
How did you get started as a consultant and content creator?
My professional background is in public relations, – I used to work for a large public relations agency called Edelman, – and photography has been a hobby of mine since I was in high school. After I left my 9-5 to go travelling for the first time, I bought my first DSLR to spend real time behind a real camera, learning how to use the equipment, playing with angles and lighting, that type of thing. When I returned to Vancouver after three months on the road, I knew I wanted to keep creating content and that a 9-5 lifestyle wasn’t going to facilitate what I had in mind, so I dove headfirst into Instagram and learned the ins-and-outs of the platform. This is what ultimately set me up to work as both a consultant and a content creator – I was able to pair my background in PR with my knowledge of social media to help my personal clients build outreach and content strategies as an independent consultant, and I was also able to grow a following on Instagram of my own, which helped open doors to work with brands as a content creator. My role as a consultant and a content creator are really two sides of the same coin.
You now travel six months of the year, primarily creating destination content for brands on Instagram. What exactly does that involve? What tips do you have for others who would like to follow in your footsteps?
Every partnership is different when it comes to working with brands because each company will have a different set of goals – some want content, some want social media exposure, some want both, so our role varies quite a bit depending on what we’re focusing on. If we’re on a project to create content for a website, we shoot differently than when we’re creating content for the purpose of gaining social media exposure on their behalf, because certain types of content perform better than others on Instagram, which means the way we shoot will change depending on the objective. For anyone who wants to focus on photography, my advice is to invest in good equipment and learn to be intuitive with it, because the best moments are fleeting.
For anyone who wants to focus on content creation for Instagram, my advice is to pay attention to which types of content perform best in your niche – which types of content go viral – because that will reveal the type of content you ought to strive for as a creator if you want to set yourself apart from others in your niche.
How much can aspiring Instagrammers get paid for an Instagram campaign with a brand? How many followers does one need to have in order to start getting paid?
I have friends who have made up to $250,000 for a single brand partnership that lasted one week and involved the creation of… four videos I believe?
Instagram generated over $1.3 BILLION dollars in mobile ad revenue in 2017 alone and that number is expected to double, if not triple, over the next few years, so it’s a pretty dang good time to get in on the platform if you’re a creator who can offer value to businesses.
I took on my first brand deal when I had 10k followers, so you don’t have to be huge in order to start working with brands. It’s more important to be a good content creator and to have a dedicated community than it is to have a huge following.
In addition to your Instagram account @mindythelion (130K), you have more than 1 million followers on your Instagram account @beforeidie. What do you look for in images to get featured in @beforeidie?
Most of the images on @beforeidie are our own content, but we also feature our friend’s content sometimes. The only time we really stray from that is if a piece of content has gone exceptionally viral and we think our audience would love to see it. Generally this means a photo has ‘unicorned’, meaning that if the average post on a large page gets 20,000 likes, and this one particular post has passed 35,000, it’s a unicorn, so we’ll cherry pick that piece and share it.
With so many people on Instagram and so many travel bloggers, how do you see the future of Instagram? What should aspiring travel bloggers/Instagrammers do now to set themselves up for success – and apart from others?
My prediction is that smart influencers are going to develop longer-term brand allegiances. Kind of like professional athletes – you’re not going to see Stephen Curry rock Nike one game and then Under Armour the next game and then Adidas or whatever after that depending on who’s FedExing him stuff to wear. I think we’re going to shift into a space where influencers are either with one brand or another for a period of time instead of bouncing around, like we have been. It’s still a little wild-westy out there so for anyone who wants to get in, my advice is to do the self-work to figure out who you are at your core – what your values are, what your voice is, who you are as a human. Instagrammers who will succeed are those who are true to themselves and authentic to their audience. Once you know yourself, it becomes easier to know which brands reflect your values, and that’s the difference between being a sell-out and partnering up to provide value. Setting yourself up for success comes down to being truly authentic, and it takes a certain amount of vulnerability if you’re really going to do it, but at the end of the day, the people who’ve done the self-work and who build personal brands upon genuine foundations are those who are going to succeed over the long term – both on and off of Instagram.