In a world oversaturated with online content and where positivity within it is sometimes hard to find, Taylar Barrington-Booker created an uplifting, educational online community built by women, for women. Building off of her professional experiences in marketing and education, as well as her natural entrepreneurial spirit, she launched Cliquish in 2018 as a resource for female bloggers, vloggers, and influencers/content creators looking to grow their businesses. The platform now educates and impacts more than 10,000 women around the world.
The Cliquish community, with the clever tagline “when being Cliquish is good,” offers online courses, in-person events, professional coaching, and access to an online collaborative network of content creators. Much of the focus within the community centers around the business aspects of social media and the importance of strategy and knowing your audience.
With years of experience in social media marketing, Taylar also has a personal wealth of knowledge to share on building an online presence.
“As we are internally working with PR, brand, and marketing teams, a lot of the conversation has shifted from how many followers a person may have, and more so about how you’re resonating with the communities that they’ve built. We highly suggest that content creators focus on community building, engagement, connecting, and making an impact in their vision of space,” Taylar said.
She suggests that one of the most important ways to build a brand online and begin to profit from it is through strategic partnerships. “If you want to increase your presence, you need to find strategic partners that you can work with and partner with that have synergy with you, and have a similar audience – if not the same audience,” Taylar explained.
“So for example, if you’re in fashion, maybe you’re collaborating with someone who is in beauty, but you all have the same target audience. There you’re amplifying your presence to a different audience, but an audience that would be interested in what you’re doing and be likely to convert at a higher rate.”
Because of Instagram’s ever-changing algorithms, Taylar also recommends trying to adhere to Instagram’s guidelines as much as possible, and take full advantage of any new features that are released.
“Every time they create a new feature or tool as impactful as say, when stories were released or when IGTV was released or when videos on feed were released, they reward people who use those tools by finding ways to make you see success with the tools,” Taylar said. “I would say my biggest piece of advice right now is to pay very close attention to the tools that Instagram is rolling out and finding a way to kind of be a first adapter so that you can benefit from the way that they reward those users.”
For example, when an Instagram user posts a video to IGTV, it tends to show up higher in user feed because the company is trying to promote this feature, which will in turn boost its impressions. “As a result of that, and it being seen by more of your community, like your actual followers, then the app will say ‘Oh, this is a great piece of content,’ and then you’ll show up on feature pages or discovery pages, and get that amplification as well.”
The old go-to advice for growing on Instagram, like using generic hashtags and the “follow for follow” or block-follow method, is a thing of the past, according to Taylar. Instead of using generic hashtags, she suggests more niche ones that have a circulation under 250,000, as well as specific ones that pertain to the type of work you’re doing or the communities that you’re involved in. She also recommends utilizing location tags, especially in stories.
“All of those things and tagging and trying to essentially make your content show up in any as many places is possible is how you’re going to be able to see a presence.”
With all of the specific techniques that are out there, Taylar also wants to emphasize the importance of passion in content. “Just create good, pure content — you know, things that people love and are motivated by, because we can not downplay word of mouth.”
“If someone is engaged in what you’re doing and loves what you’re talking about, and they’re sitting with their girlfriends at brunch, then they’re like ‘So and so was talking about her favorite brunch spot in Chicago and she was talking about this place,’ then her friends are gonna say ‘Well who was that?’ Or ‘I want to see what she’s talking about,’ so we can’t discount that,” Taylar explained. “And the only way word of mouth really works like that is if you’re showing up for the people who are already there, so that’s another great strategy.”
Taylar has some very simple advice for anyone just starting out in the social media world. “Decide how you want to show up online and who you’re showing up online for, and why you’re showing up online for them.” If you figure this out first, she advises, the rest will fall into place naturally.
On her personal Instagram account, Taylar strives to create storytelling content that is inspiration-based and transparent. The one thing she wishes she understood before she got started out as a woman entrepreneur in the world of online media is just how impactful her stories would be.
“Don’t take for granted that [even though] these people are not necessarily standing in front of you, the things that you say and the images you show are all making an impact whether you see it or not. To be responsible, to be intentional, and to make sure you’re showing up with light on the internet, with good.”
One of the biggest challenges women entrepreneurs, especially those working in these fields where you’re expected to be “always on,” experience is finding a healthy balance between work and their personal lives.
“The challenge is that artful balance between how to grow and to gain that presence, but also not in exchange for your personal mental health and wellness and things of that nature,” Taylar said. “It’s really trying to find that artful balance of putting out great content, but also not losing sleep and not missing gym time and not missing quality time with our family and friends, people who are the reason we’re doing it for in the first place.”
She recommends being very in-tune with yourself and your needs to achieve that balance. “It sounds almost silly, but if you’re body is telling you — if you’re sitting for hours on Instagram and your body is telling you get me off the Internet, get off the Internet!” she said with a laugh.
“You don’t necessarily see the detriment of it as far as your creativity is concerned until you’re sitting there like ‘I have no ideas for content, I don’t know what to do’ and it’s because you’re disconnected from the things that inspire you.”