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The Science Behind Leveraging Your Brand Online

Instagram influencer Chell Porter shares tips on social media engagement and other practical ways to grow your brand online.
  • Chell Porter balances her 9-to-5 with her side hustle: teaching social media tips
  • Porter’s approach to social media is based on data, research and a willingness to learn

Chell Porter is a doctor by day and a doctor by night. Her daytime title includes being a pharmaceutical faculty member at a school of pharmacy in Philadelphia, PA. Her title by night includes teaching aspiring social media experts how to grow their brand online, just as she has successfully grown her own. She is also a mother and wife, using her social media platform to share the reality of balancing a 9-to-5, a side hustle and home.

Research is key

Porter’s 9-to-5 is teaching outpatient care at Philadelphia College of Pharmacy in West Philadelphia. Research is a large part of her responsibility. “We are very data-driven, very science-driven, very evidence-based. So, it’s not just ‘I think this will work’ but ‘where’s the evidence that this will work?’” This approach in her profession also informs her approach to social media.

About six months ago, Chell Porter saw a spike in her following that she hadn’t anticipated. She made a post that went viral on Instagram using a new feature called Remix. The reel she created showed side-by-side clips of her and another user typing away in a theatrical office email war.

The relatability and humor of her content caused a jump from 1,300 followers to more than 30k. However, it was the intentionality in the planning and producing of her content from there on that allowed Porter to sustain this growth. “I’d done a lot of theoretical research on growing my account before jumping into influencing,” says Dr. BombChell, as she goes by on Instagram.

Although Porter’s initial growth was driven by a piece of content that went viral, it was most certainly the practice of applying the same approach that she did at her full-time job to her hustle that allowed her to continue growing her platform online. There are, in fact, very practical strategies that have allowed Porter to see her growth and they are tools that can be applied by any user hoping to grow and sustain their following on social platforms.

Applying the science

One of the main tactics that Porter has used to grow her brand organically online has been meaningful engagement. “I think it’s because I come from a huge family. I just think people are so important,” says Porter. From partnerships with like-minded individuals to intentionally engaging followers with thoughtful responses, Porter goes out of her way to build a sense of community. This community centers on sharing her own lifestyle, self-care and beauty practices.

“Social media is called social for a reason,” says Porter. One of her recent endeavors has been a weekly live series where she collaborates with another Instagrammer @threetimesamomma. The two “mommy-grammers” talk about how to use reels to grow your following. This allows Chell to, not only connect with a peer influencer, but to share her wealth of knowledge around audience growth.

Student on your platform

Another crucial part of engagement, which brought Porter much of her own success, is to always use features as soon as they come out. When diversifying your content, this can increase your content’s reach and help you to remain relevant. However, it requires that you always remain a student on your platforms. “It’s not as if you learn the stuff and then you just go and implement it and that’s it. You have to continuously be learning,” says Porter.

Porter’s engagement levels drive much of her success. “I personally think that my growth is not even just my own. I think it’s the small community of women that I had supporting me,” says Porter. If it were not for her focus on connecting with her audience, it is likely she would have not achieved this level of success.

However, Porter says, “It may take some time to build those connections, to build those relationships, to build that community and eventually get your stuff out there.” Though her sudden popularity was out-of-the-ordinary, her continued growth is evidence of the power of regular planning, large quantities of high-quality content and strategic thinking. “If you have the time, the more content you’re pushing out, the faster it [growth] can happen.”

Other tips

Other tips that Chell Porter offers for growing your online brand:

  1. Be yourself.
  2. Get started and figure it out as you go.
  3. Connect with people offline. Continue to live your life to inspire the most authentic content.
  4. Know your areas of weakness and outsource as needed.

For more insight for how to grow your brand online, follow @drbombchell on Instagram or visit drbombchell.com.

For more tips on being social media savvy, check our this article.

About the author

Olivia Brown

Olivia S. Brown is a graduate journalism student at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. She also holds an undergraduate degree in Fashion Merchandising and Management with concentrations in Global Brand Marketing and Integrated Fashion Communications from Thomas Jefferson University. Olivia is a storyteller, not only through her personal style but also through her work as a writer and public relations professional. Known by her hashtag #LookstoLivIn on social media, she hopes to capture her personal travels, style, and her continued discovery of self while particularly encouraging other millennials to embrace and celebrate a journey of their own.

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