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Interacting: This goes without saying but it is important to interact with your audience. Do not wait for your audience to find you, you can find them. You can source potential new customers by browsing through hashtags related to your market and then liking and leaving comments on photos. We dedicate ten to fifteen minutes a day to interact with potential new customers on Instagram.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Ashlee Collova, a creative entrepreneur and the founder of Ashlee Collova Talent Solutions (ACTS). Youthful, ambitious and perserverent — at 12 years of age Ashlee decided that she would someday run her own talent and casting service, inspired by her experience modelling for a nationwide fashion campaign. Fast forward and nine years later that ambition came to life, Ashlee beginning her business career, with the long awaited launch of Ashlee Collova Talent Solutions (ACTS) in January 2017. Adopting a fresh approach to the way traditional talent agencies work, Ashlee Collova Talent Solutions (ACTS) is a web based children’s talent and casting database, offering an online platform to display talent listings presenting established and emerging child talent to companies and creatives for selection for work across the advertising and entertainment industries. Through her business, Ashlee has provided children across Australia with opportunities to star in fashion campaigns, commercials, television shows and films; and while this is exciting, Ashlee believes the best part of the job is helping young people to grow in confidence and creating memories to last a lifetime. While new to business, Ashlee is no stranger to the world of entertainment, having established and run a small celebrity interview website during her high school years. During this time Ashlee had the opportunity to interview artists including David Campbell, Ron Pope, Cosentino and Rai Thistlethwayte of Thirsty Merc, among many others. When she is not arranging castings, Ashlee can be found in the classroom, having studied a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education and is set to graduate at the end of 2018.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Thank you for having me! I was selected to feature in a fashion campaign when I was twelve years old. This was an enriching experience for me, inspiring me to learn more about the entertainment industry and ever since I have wanted to own a talent and casting business. Eventually nine years later at the age of 21, I thought that I was ready to enter the world of business and I launched Ashlee Collova Talent Solutions, also known as ACTS. Ashlee Collova Talent Solutions is an Australian web based children’s talent directory and we specialise in connecting child talent with casting opportunities across Australia.

Can you explain to our readers why you are an authority about Social Media Marketing?

From the beginning of Ashlee Collova Talent Solutions (ACTS) I have used social media to market my business. Over time I have established some simple yet very effective strategies to use in social media marketing which has helped me grow my business over the past two years.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

I sometimes have the opportunity to visit the set on projects that I have helped cast. I find these experiences so interesting as you are able to witness the movie magic and meet the cast and crew. I love meeting the families from my database as well. On my very first set visit, I was actually asked to take part in the filming as an extra, which was an interesting experience for me! Funnily enough, my character was a ‘teacher’, and I was studying teaching at the time — so they told me I was perfect for it. I begged to differ!

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

It wasn’t funny at the time but I laugh about it now. I had originally planned to launch my business a year earlier and I decided to set up all my business registrations such as my website and emails. In the end, I never got around to launching that year. As a result, I ended up paying for a years worth of business expenses that I did not require at the time! I was just super excited to get things started at the time and so I rushed into it, so from this experience I learnt to take things slow and plan more efficiently.

Which social media platform have you found to be most effective to use to increase business revenues? Can you share a story from your experience?

Instagram has been the most effective social media platform to market Ashlee Collova Talent Solutions (ACTS) and increase our revenue. Our market is generally quite active on Instagram and we allocate a small time each day to interact with our market on the platform.

Let’s talk about Instagram specifically, now. Can you share 6 ways to leverage Instagram to dramatically improve your business? Please share a story or example for each.

Set Up: The setup of your Instagram profile is important. A lot of our leads come directly from Instagram, so people’s first introduction to Ashlee Collova Talent Solutions (ACTS) is through Instagram so our profile should look professional. We use a high quality profile picture and include a brief description of who we are and what we do in the biography section. We utilise the business profile option from Instagram, so that we can add our website link, email and phone so people have the option of contacting us through these channels directly from Instagram.

Timing: Find out what days and times your audience are online and plan to post at these times to increase your social engagement rates. When I first started I would post at anytime but when I started to pay attention to the statistics which you can receive with the business profile, I started to publish my posts according to my peak times. For us, the peak times are 6pm and generally on Monday through to Thursday. The statistics showed us that we do not receive much engagement on the weekends so we do not post on the weekends any longer and focus our energy to marketing mid week only.

Purpose of Post: You need to have a purpose for each post. Before you publish a post you should think about why you are posting this and how it will benefit your business. It is also important to mix the posts up so that you are showing different aspects of your business to your audience; your personality, your values, your mission. We post a variety of work samples, news, quotes and service description posts.

Giveaways: Every now and then a giveaway is a great way to gain exposure and engagement. It is fantastic way to plant the seed amongst new connections on Instagram. We held our first giveaway 6 months into our business and we have seen an increase in registrations since then.

Interacting: This goes without saying but it is important to interact with your audience. Do not wait for your audience to find you, you can find them. You can source potential new customers by browsing through hashtags related to your market and then liking and leaving comments on photos. We dedicate ten to fifteen minutes a day to interact with potential new customers on Instagram.

Hashtags: While you can search through hashtags to help you find your audience, you can add hashtags to your own posts to help your audience find you. It is a great way to gain exposure across different niches and hashtags have definitely increased our engagement rates on posts.

Because of the position that you are in, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If I could inspire a movement, I would promote that ‘kind is cool’, and hopefully change the ways in which people treat others.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

I have always looked up to talent manager, Scooter Braun. He started young like me, with little experience, and has built an empire. Everything that he has achieved he worked for from the beginning, nothing was given to him. I admire his drive and ambition and his success is a representation of this.

Thank you so much for these great insights. This was very enlightening!

Thank you for having me!

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