Building an Instagram empire with Cassie Snelgar
Cassie Snelgar is the founder and Creative Director of THE X CARTEL. An online platform for over 750K luxury aficionados with a passion for anything that brings them pleasure.
With over 300K followers on her personal account, Cassie certainly knows a thing or two about building a following.
She shared her tips & tricks on building an insta-empire recently with She Does This...
SDT: Cassie! You’ve created a huge profile for yourself on Instagram. Can you tell us about life before you got into the social media game?
CASSIE: Ah the good old days! I had just finished my degree in Architecture and a Masters in fine arts whilst freelancing as a textile designer for fashion houses in Australia. I had big ideas about starting my own label that suited my Cape Town and Sydney lifestyle, but which was made 100% organically and ethically. (No small feat!) So my focus was 100% on getting my resort wear brand, CASLAZUR up and running. I am actually a very shy person so I wasn’t even posting on Facebook back in the day.
SDT: How have you managed to build such strong followings? What do you believe is the key to creating engaging content that truly resonates with an audience?
CASSIE: I started my Instagram profile almost accidentally. I was trying to figure out how to use Instagram to help my brand, CASLAZUR. I started a bunch of accounts and posted whatever images I found inspiring.
Before I knew it I had a collection of Instagram accounts with a strong following. I saw pretty quickly that people like to follow things that make them feel good, and give them an insight into what other people’s lives look like behind all the gloss and glamour. People can sense when someone is not being authentic and I prefer to be honest and share the struggles I’m facing along with the fun. I think it’s the vulnerability that we all identify with, that’s what keeps people engaged and feeling a sense of connection to someone who they have never met.
SDT: How did you leverage your social media following when launching your clothing label, @caslazur?
CASSIE: When I started Caslazur I didn’t really have a following. It was actually Caslazur, which inspired me to get involved in social media at a deeper level. It wasn’t until a couple years later that I realised the potential of the following I had amassed. At that point I started thinking of different ways I could use the accounts and that’s when I came up with the idea of THE X CARTEL. The website is now my main focus and an amazing interactive and shoppable place for people to come and have some fun.
SDT: What would be your top tip for influencers wanting to build their profile in order to launch their own business?
CASSIE: This might seem counter intuitive but in my experience it isn’t about the gram. Focus on your product and point of difference. What makes you or your business special and unique? Settle on an aesthetic that best suits that and create content that speaks to that message in a clear and powerful way.
The primary focus should always be the product. In my experience, if there’s no passion and excellence behind the product or business, you'll have a really hard time growing a following.
SDT: You’ve recently been named ambassador for the South African Depression and Anxiety group. Why is this cause so close to your heart?
CASSIE: This is something that I'm extremely proud to be working on at the moment. Something that not a lot of people know about me is that I am a huge geek when it comes to the human body, and brain and how it all works. While I was researching the impact of social media on the brain for THE X CARTEL, I became increasingly aware of how many issues it’s causing, especially for young people.
As someone who works with the medium I just felt it would be completely unethical not to at least understand the impact of what I was putting out there could have on peoples lives. So I reached out to the amazing team at SADAG and when I learnt the staggering statistics of suicide rates and depression associated with young people today I was compelled to get involved.
Recently I spoke at One Young World summit around how to eradicate the stigma around mental health. It’s one of the main areas where I feel social media can actually be helpful and make people feel less alone.
I would love for anyone who reads this to support this effort by comment #stampoutstigma if you share your struggles with mental illness. 1/3 people will experience mental illness in their lives so it’s a huge help sharing these stories and letting other people know they’re not alone.
SDT: You’ve clearly had a very busy 2018! What’s planned for 2019?
CASSIE: Next year I have a new online magazine coming out which is focusing on bridal content! I am so excited to share it with everyone!
I'll also be launching a website for people to share their stories of mental illness struggles. I hope to create a safe and anonymous place for people to connect and get help. I think it will be a really amazing lifeline, which can help people find the help they need and give the friends and family of people suffering from mental illness a place where they feel supported as well.