Every semester thousands of students flock to Europe to study abroad, experience new cultures and most importantly, step up their Instagame. We sat down with Samantha Feher (@samanthafeher), study abroad student and social media influencer, to get some answers about how to keep your Instagram account relevant, best ways to build loyalty and where you have to travel during your semester abroad. Make sure to follow Samantha and @Bus2alps_Travel for more inspiration for your travel & instagoals.
1. How did you reach 40k followers on Instagram?
Ironically, I never intended to use my Instagram for business. Until my freshman year of college, I had around 1,500 followers — like every other teenage girl on the planet. But one day, a popular account reposted my picture, spiking my count to a little under 5k. Still, I didn’t think of it as a potential business opportunity until a small jewelry company reached out to me with the intention of collaborating. As you can imagine, my progress kind of snowballed from there — soon, my numbers were growing much faster than before, and today I’m at just over 40,000 followers.
2. What tips would you recommend for anyone trying to grow their account?
When I first started trying to grow my account, I learned a lot of things that surprised me. Like, WTF is a “cohesive theme”*? But after a while, I started to figure out what works and what doesn’t. My best advice to aspiring Instagram entrepreneurs of any kind (besides posting a lot… you should definitely post a lot) is to find your niche and express it in every single post you create. There’s always going to be a better “foodie” or “travel” account than yours because the owners probably got a head start during a time when Insta-fame was rare. But give yourself an edge, and stick to it — chances are, you aren’t the only one who’s interested. This will also ensure that your fan base is extremely loyal to your account. I’m still trying to figure out my own niche. If you have any suggestions, slide into my DMs 🙂
*Instagram 101: a “cohesive theme” is when you apply the same filter or two to all of your posts, and demonstrate variety in photo composition so that your feed is appealing when viewed as a whole.
3. Do you plan on working with Instagram & social media after you graduate?
I think I’ll always work on Instagram when the opportunity arises — it’s fun, and it sure is a nice little side-hustle. I’ve always been passionate about other forms of media (predominantly fashion journalism), so I’m not sure Instagram will ever be my primary occupation, but it doesn’t hurt to have in my back pocket!
changing topics 😉
4. How did you choose Florence for your semester abroad?
I’ve always loved Italy. When I turned 9, my grandmother took me to Rome, Florence, and Venice for 10 days — just the two of us. Inevitably, I fell in love with the food, the culture, and the freaking leather in Florence. Plus, the people were all super friendly and outgoing. As I grew up, I visited Italy a couple more times with family and friends. When it came time to apply for a study abroad program, Florence seemed like a no-brainer for me. Now, I can’t imagine leaving!
5. What made you decide to travel with Bus2alps?
This is actually kind of a funny story. Shortly before my trip, my boyfriend’s cousin traveled to Italy with her husband (are you following me?) and asked me if I’d be visiting the Amalfi Coast at any point during the semester. Since Amalfi is literally the most beautiful place in the world, I immediately started spilling my plans to visit. But there was one problem: how TF would I get there? We talked about it a little more, and I found out that she used Bus2Alps to city-hop when she studied abroad in Italy. I took it as a sign. Florence 2 the Amalfi Coast was my first trip of the semester, and I knew I had to book it with Bus2Alps. I had an incredible weekend with all my friends, and I’m so glad I discovered you guys!
6. What have been your favorite places you’ve traveled to this semester?
The Amalfi Coast is definitely in my top 3. I think I’d complement it with Cinque Terre (heaven on earth) and Amsterdam (just trust me on this one… coolest place ever).