Faye Dinsmore is a graduate of trinity College Dublin and she is now signed to IMG Models, one of the world’s top international modelling agencies. She is originally from Ballintra, Donegal and is the youngest of a family of fourteen. Faye now spends her time between Paris, New York and London. She is one of those rare Irish models that have achieved international acclaim.
On the advice of her agency she set up a Facebook Page. Something Faye herself thought to be an incredibly self-obsessed thing to do. She only ever expected to have just a few hundred people ‘liking’ her but to her surprise the number of fans of her page has just passed 225,000. This makes her, by a considerable margin, the Irish person with the most likes on Facebook.
Just recently, Technology Voice got the chance to ask Faye about how she managed to become so successful on Facebook.
How much of a user of Facebook were you before you started your fan page?
Basically, I’d started to get a huge number of friend requests on Facebook every day, as well as countless messages from people all over the world, who might have read or seen an editorial or campaign I was in. It seemed like a sensible idea and something a lot of other international models do, so as strange as it felt I started a fanpage and essentially made my personal profile all but invisible. I think for the first 24 hours I only had one fan and that was me.
As regards using Facebook, I was a heavy user of Facebook prior to that. Sadly, I was in Ireland only twice in 2010, so Facebook is really the one and only way I stay in touch with friends back home.
What kind of strategy did you use to get to get such high numbers?
I can’t say I had any sort of strategy. I’ve had an iPad since I started my fanpage, so any time I found a little downtime on set or at a show, I just started posting behind the scenes pictures, sharing interesting articles from fashion websites, doing status updates and so on. I guess some people liked what I was sharing. Eventually I found a Facebook fanpage slightly restrictive so I started a blog which has proven popular.
Sometimes people share posts I do thousands of times. Bit by bit the blog has become more popular outside of fashion capitals. For example, in December more people visited my blog from Dublin, Ireland, than most of Ireland’s major fashion magazines have monthly readers. (Over 40,000 people from Dublin alone visited my blog in December).
Finally, I always do my own posts as opposed to one of my agencies in Paris or New York doing them. Oh, and one other thing, I regularly do particular posts for say fans in Colombia or Indonesia or Ireland, posts that you only see if you are in a particular country or even city. I use Google Translate to put a phrase into Indonesian or whatever the language happens to be. I think people really appreciate that.
How meaningful or useful is it to have such a lot of ‘friends’?
It has become substantially more meaningful in New York in recent months, and that trend will extend to other fashion capitals in the coming year. So for example, an increasing number of big clothing labels will now specify in a contract with a model that she must also use her Facebook fanpage, if she has one, to promote a given campaign. And for most major international models that’s no problem as they all now have Facebook fanpages that they regular update.
How hard is it to manage in terms of hours and effort?What sort of advice would you give to others who wanted to increase their Facebook presence?
I guess I spend on average about 10 minutes a day, maybe less. Advice, me! Mmm… If people are not sharing or liking your content then their friends won’t ever come across your page and as a consequence you may find it hard to grow a presence. Just be yourself.
Oh and you’ve got to have some perspective. What I mean by that is that one hundred fans can be a lot of fans depending on how niche the product or person. A local football club in a particular village appeals to people in that village, say a maximum of 500 people in total. A band or an artist that plays all over the world appeals to a potential audience of hundreds of millions. I may have close to quarter of a million fans, but when you put that in perspective, perhaps it’s not that much.
With so many people on Facebook it is difficult to go viral – what in your opinion was the tipping point for you – is it the fact that the industry is so pioneering and so it is either first to market or those with considerable influence will rise up?
I don’t know if there has been a tipping point, but instead there are occasional mini tipping points. For example, if you appear in a magazine that is distributed all over South America and Spain in a particular month then you’ll get a big increase in fans from these areas. Sometimes, something you post goes somewhat viral, but you can almost never predict that.
Google Analytics & Facebook Fans
Traffic to Faye’s blog from Facebook has reached 40,000 visitors from Dublin alone. Contrast that figure with the number of fans that the Irish publications of Social & Personal – Dublin, Tatler, and Image have – Faye has more likes than all of them combined.
In the world of social media, where high numbers can equal influence which can then equal attention, Faye’s status updates makes her a major influencer in her particular niche in the lucrative world of fashion. They have a reach that surpasses anyone else in Ireland and have a global spread as well.
However, what seems to separate her from other high profile people and organisations is her willingness to not only share her observations and experiences with her audience but to engage with them as well. As always, the key to social media is being social.