She is Not Lost is an online community that aims to inspire and encourage female solo travelers. The founder, Carina, curates a set of featured adventurous destinations and places meant to make traveling more accessible, especially for females that would otherwise be traveling solo, and helps them book intrepid adventures while traveling responsibly and contributing to local economies and communities along the way.
We caught up with the founder, Carina, to hear about how she grew her Instagram audience to over 100k followers and the strategies she uses to market and sell her adventures via Instagram.
How did you get started on Instagram?
Whenever I was traveling or looking for inspiration for a future trip, I would always use Instagram as a tool and search through geotags to find interesting architecture or colorful scenes, in general just cool spots for taking photos. I came across so many beautiful places and discovered awesome accounts by female travelers, that I thought it would be great to create a page to share their photos and inspire more people.
What was your inspiration behind @SheIsNotLost?
When I came up with the name She is Not Lost, I was inspired by the quote “Not all those who wander are lost” which has a beautiful significance for myself and others that are finding themselves by traveling and exploring the world. Since starting the account I’ve learned the phrase She is Not Lost has taken on another more ironic meaning because most of the photos I post feature a female traveler standing or sitting alone in a dramatic land or cityscape gazing off into the distance, looking literally lost.
What is your favorite country in the world?
My favorite country has to be Brazil. The energy is electric and I love the music, the dancing, the people, and the food. I’ve only been to a few cities there but I hope to visit again soon because there is so much to explore!
My favorite city is Hong Kong. It has everything anyone could ever look for in terms of experience. In a matter of hours you can go from the bustling streets in Central or Tsim Sha Tsui to a secluded beach on the south side of the Island. Hong Kong is a city of extremes, with tall skyscrapers surrounded by a lush tropical landscape and beautiful beaches. It has everything to offer. The absolute best meal I’ve had abroad was at Tim Ho Wan in Hong Kong. It is a Michelin starred dim sum spot and just about everything on the menu is under 10USD. There is one located right under the Airport Express station in IFC mall so I recommend everyone traveling to or through Hong Kong to try it!
Been to any cool hotels lately?
Of course! My favorite hotel that I visited recently is El Dorado Maroma by Karisma in Riviera Maya. The “Palafitos” or overwater bungalows make you feel like you are in the South Pacific but in reality are just a few-hour flight from the US. The Palafitos are over a pristine area of Punta Maroma where the water is sparkling.
So how does one earn an income as a travel influencer?
Aside from the many perks there are definitely ways to make money as a traveler influencer. Brands that are serious about marketing their products will pay to advertise to your followers. For influencers and brands that are well aligned, Instagram is an authentic place to share and show relevant products as they are being used. Being a travel influencer and a travel agent is a unique opportunity because the members of my community are often asking for advice or recommendations, and I can in turn offer them a real service along with my expertise.
What types of posts tend to get the most likes / comments?
The posts that tend to get the most likes/comments are of visually amazing photography which can mean a really colorful or high contrast image, an image taken from an unusual perspective, or an image taken of a traveler alone in a landscape that is usually crowded with masses of people.
How did you grow your Instagram audience to over 100,000 followers?
When I launched the account, I was spending a lot of my time liking photos of female traveler’s accounts and I wanted them to see a beautifully curated gallery when they would visit my page, in hope that they would follow me, so I was posting quite often (up to 6 times a day). When I finally reached 10,000 followers, my focus was consistency. By using Instagram’s analytic tools, I found that engagement was highest when I posted consistently at the same time of day, just once a day. Now that my account has exceeded 100,000, I found I love to feature accounts with gorgeous travel photography that don’t necessarily have many followers. I want to share with my community places and perspectives that they may have never seen before. My goal has always been to encourage and inspire, and I feel I am meeting those goals with every opportunity to share an image.
Let's say I have a nice following on Instagram, how do I get consumers to book a trips me?
I think what is most effective in encouraging your followers to book trips through you is to convey the type of experience your expertise can provide. Instastories are a great tool to really personalize the way you share your travel experiences on Instagram. Sometimes with a simple post on Instagram, an image can only convey one thing: beautiful photography. Oftentimes captions get overlooked and it can be hard to share all the information usually needed to book a trip. With Instastories, you can share the details of the experience, any current promotions, and instructions for booking in an engaging way.
Do you have a team that helps you run your business?
Though my following has grown considerably, my team is still just me. In addition to running the business, I still personally curate the Instagram page and manage the website. I am fortunate to work closely with my very supportive contacts at Intrepid, and am excited for the She is Not Lost adventure retreats we are planning for later this year! I was fortunate to come across Rollinglobe early on in my search for a host agency and am so thankful because they brought the opportunities right to me. The reps at Rollinglobe are familiar with the resources, style, and connections of each of the host agencies and will make a great recommendation based on your own goals as a travel agent.
What tools could you not operate without?
Instagram’s built-in analytics for business accounts are helpful and they seem to be adding new improvements all the time. It is great because you can access all the tools and analytics right where you want to see them in the app. Another program that I could not live without as an influencer is called SocialRank, a site that helps me engage with my followers. I can easily search through my followers if I am looking to reach out to anyone in a specific country or location, and it also helps when collaborating with hotels or other businesses. Another important tool that helps me run my business is Squarespace, the program on which my website is built. I have full ecommerce capability and it helps me keep my bookkeeping in one place, which is so important because a travel agent’s office is literally all over the world.
What is the key to getting clients to book with you?
The key to getting clients to book with you is to be an expert or have contact with the experts to assure they are booking the experience they’ve been dreaming of. Many travelers are finding that the internet has become flooded and are reaching out to travel agents again for their expertise, exclusivity, and reliability. When choosing a travel agency, you should find one that is affiliated with a major consortia because they can give you access to exclusive amenities and additional perks that your customers wouldn’t be able to find on their own.
If you could provide one piece of career advice to aspiring travel influencers, what would it be?
Be consistent. Developing your own brand or identity is key to becoming successful as an influencer, and the best way to do that is to be consistent in creating content (in regard to aesthetic and style) and publishing content (in regard to timing and scheduling).
Where's your next adventure?
My next adventure is Mexico City, a place that I’ve visited before but every time I leave I know there is so much yet to be seen. Each neighborhood in and outside of the city is full of delicious restaurants, stunning architecture, and a cultural vibrancy that is surprising in a city known for its bustling streets and multiple skylines.