“I was drawn to instagram,” says Paul Tremain. “I started off as a casual user and I felt it was accessible and user friendly.”
In return, a significant number of Instagram users have been drawn to Paul’s regular dispatches from the front line of parenting. As things stand, just under 15,000 people follow the page he created to share the joys and challenges of bringing up three young children. And as his follower numbers have grown, he has successfully made the transition from “casual user” to influencer.
In common with many Instagram influencers, Paul began posting on his chosen topic for personal reasons. As he explains,“themultidad” page was created shortly after the birth of twins, Nelly and Teddy. “The twins were born prematurely,” he says. “And when they were in hospital I wanted to find people who had been through a similar experience.”
Finding that relatively few people were posting on this subject, Paul set up his page and began to update the Instagram community on his own experiences. And there was a bigger parenting picture. Paul and his wife — “who can also be found posting as “themultimama” — already had one child, Finn, and the arrival of the twins meant they were joining ranks of the “outnumbered.” It was uncharted territory and there was a lot to talk about.
“I felt I had a story to tell – a story that would resonate with and help others,” he says.
Naturally Paul was keen to connect with as many people as possible. “When I posted for the first time, I selected the most relevant hashtags that I could find,” he says.
And if anyone doubts the power of the well-chosen hashtag, Paul’s experience should be instructive. Within a few days he had 1,000 followers and within eight months that had risen to 10,000.
However, Paul stresses the importance taking time to find out what works. For instance, using a lot of similar hashtags might seem like a good idea in terms of reaching the largest possible audience, but it may be counterproductive. “You can confuse the Instagram algorithm,” he says. In his experience, it is better to use perhaps 10 well-chosen tags rather than, say, 30.
Working with Brands
The multidad’s growing follower count began to attract brands. “It all happened quite quickly,” says Paul. “The first brand to approach me was Ella’s Kitchen — that happened when the follower count was around 3,000.”
It’s a reminder that influencer’s don’t necessarily have to have millions or even hundreds of thousands of followers to attract brands. The key is often the focus of the page, in terms with how it aligns with the brand’s objectives. In this case, themultidad was a perfect fit for the organic baby food company. “Ella’s kitchen fitted in really well with my twins when they were weaning,” he says.
A Question of Balance
Brand interest does pose challenges. For instance, followers might question the degree to which the involvement of brands compromises the independence of the influencer posts. Paul stresses the need to maintain integrity. And he has a simple rule.
“I turn down about 50% of the offers I get. We have to believe in the ethos of the brand. And we only work with brands that we use or would aspire to use,” he says. “It is important to remember why you started doing this in the first place and why people follow you. You always have to put the audience first.”
That philosophy is at the centre of Paul’s relationship with brands. Products have to be not only good but also relevant to the audience.
Striking the Right Note
Paul also sees it as important to strike the right note in terms of how his children are presented. He is keen to avoid putting his children centre stage, without any context — something that might lead to accusations of exploitation. “The page is very much about me and my life as a dad rather than directly about the children,” he says.
Keeping it Fresh
Perhaps the biggest challenge faced by any influencer is the need to keep the updates fresh and engaging. Themultidad’s ongoing parental journey — as the children grow — should ensure that the site evolves and picks up new followers. But in the short term, decisions have to be made about what to post and how frequently. As things stand, Paul says he posts new material perhaps five days out of seven, but there is no set rule. Rather than pushing up the frequency, his aim is to ensure that most, if not all, of the posts engage the audience.
In terms of the pictures and video, his approach is to keep it real — as opposed to posed. “Everything is done on a phone,” he says. “Some people use professional photographers but I like to keep it immediate and capture things as they happen.”
Looking to the Future
As his children grow older, Paul is looking forward to continuing to chart his progress as a dad. . In the not too distant future, he expects to post more material about outings and holidays. “As they grow up we’ll be able to do more,” he says. “And the posts will follow the journey.”