Hi Milkshakers, meet Stephanie Yeboah. Known to most as @nerdabouttown, this multi-award winning plus size blogger is a kickass advocate for body confidence and we highly recommend you follow her sharpish. She’ll make your Instagram feed a happier place.
As a taster of her brilliance, we chatted to Stephanie about all things on the ‘gram, from her go-to Stories tool to how she spreads a positive message. Be prepared to girl crush hard…
Let’s start with how you found your Insta niche…
It began when I realised that there was a severe lack of plus size women of colour in the UK showing themselves living unapologetically and loving the skin they’re in, and considering the body positivity movement was created in part by plus size black women, I thought it was important for me to share my own journey to self-love and the things I had learned on the journey. I want to show women that it is okay to be bigger and still love yourself while having fun with fashion.
And how do you spread that positive message?
By being authentic, and trying to spread the message of self love and body confidence. I use my account to produce images of myself that people would consider ‘flawed’, and will write a short piece about that part of my body. I also use my feed to provide visibility and to help uplift others who may not have as big of a platform.
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Throwback to a year ago in Bali, living my best fat, bikini’d life. See? Fat people can go to Bali too. 👀 Can we see bigger bodies on press/influencer trips please? Also black and POC bodies too. I don’t know if brands and companies are aware but…it’s not just skinny white influencers who travel. We can also travel too. Bigger people would also like to see themselves represented. Get with the program. Having the token one plus size blogger or black blogger who attends press trips isn’t enough. I know it sounds like I’m complaining but honestly it’s more frustration than anything. When you’re plus size, there’s more for us to take into consideration and as well as message boards and trip advisor, I like to research and read the experiences of people who look like me to see if there is anything I need to watch out for. Throw in that fact that I’m black and the research doubles. As a consumer and lover of travel, I want to see more plus size representation on holiday. I want to see more non-white representation on press trips. I want to see white influencers doing more than just RTing those who are less privileged. That’s not you doing the work. When you don’t do the work, you’re complicit in upholding the white privilege/supremacy within our industry. You will shout and scream about influencers deserving to be paid for our work but why not do the same about influencers of all colours and sizes being given opportunities? If you get invited on a trip, ask the company who else if going and if it’s IS all white and slim, suggest influencers you know who fall outside of that. ___ Bikini – @asos curve
Did it take time to build such a strong aesthetic?
I just focused on doing what feels natural and right for me. If you try to emulate someone else’s theme, aesthetic or style, it becomes instantly noticeable, so the key is to incorporate everyday things that you enjoy or poses you tend to do often into your visual imagery. The more you do it, the more your audience will associate you with that particular aesthetic, thus it becoming a part of your branding.
“If you try to emulate someone else’s theme, aesthetic or style, it becomes instantly noticeable.”
Your captions are often refreshingly honest…
Well, I tend to go either one of two ways. As I am a fashion influencer as well as a body positive activist, I tend to create captions that reside within those two fields. So I will either be very literal and describe the outfit in depth, tagging the brands who clothes I am wearing, or I will create a caption that touches on themes of self-love, confidence, mental health or self esteem.
I sometimes see my Instagram as a bit of a diary, with each post being a new entry. I then finish off a caption with a call to action for the follower, such as ‘how do you best practice self care?’ or ‘what tips did you find helpful from my blog post? Let me know in the comments below!’ to encourage engagement.
Does that work for your bio, too?
Yeah, I think incorporating a joke or a bit of sass often works wonders and grabs the user’s attention. It depends on the industry or field you are in though. If you are a creative, it’s important that your bio includes the type of work you do, as well as contact details for people to find you. And don’t forget to include a link!
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How do you use hashtags?
Sparingly! I don’t like to clog my caption up, or make it too bulky. The hashtags I tend to use normally correlate with the type of content I work around, so mostly plus size fashion and body positivity. If I am creating content with a brand, I will use the campaign hashtag provided.
And how do you avoid Insta cliches?
I think it’s all about who you follow and *avoiding the Explore page*! I find that the Explore page is a carbon copy of Instagram trends with everybody doing the same thing so I rarely venture into that territory.
I also make it a habit to follow fellow creatives who think outside the norm and who offer something different and unique. It keeps my feed fresh every time I scroll and means I can avoid looking at the same kinds of images over and over, which would impact my decision-making when creating content.
“I make it a habit to follow fellow creatives who think outside the norm and who offer something different and unique.”
So which accounts do you like following?
What’s your strategy when it comes to stories?
I keep it very simple on stories. I mainly use it to highlight events I go to or to upload content created with brands. A lot of the time, I use it to talk about random things that happen to me or about specific social justice issues. It’s also a great way to highlight others’ Instagram posts too!
I’m a big fan of the music tool on stories. It adds an interactive and personal element to your content, especially if you’re sharing a video that is showing off an outfit or a product. I also use Unfold – it’s a beautiful app that offers stunning layouts to frame your content within. It’s very simple and minimalistic but can make a huge difference to standing out.
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✨Birthday Suit✨ The @asos jumpsuit of dreams, I believe it’s called. I opted for a size 24 as I’m a size 22 on the bottom and a 26 on the top. The top fitted fine, however the bottoms obviously came up large, so I rolled them up until they formed a kinda…balloon style pant. I’m in love. Teamed the outfit with an @asos bum bag and @jdwfashion sandals. (ASOS outfit gifted) #nerdabouttravel #asoscurve #ASOSxNAT #asseenonme #ghana #accra
How about on Insta Live and IGTV?
My advice would be to ask yourself ‘what will my followers be getting from this specific bit of content?’ Think of it as providing a service. Would you sit through the content that you want to provide to your followers? If not, then do not make it. Make your video content fun, engaging and something your followers would want to connect with and view until the end.
“Make your video content fun, engaging and something your followers would want to connect with and view until the end.”
Do you use Instagram Insights?
Yes, the in-app analytics are a great way to find out when your audience are most active. I tend to use the ‘Audience’ tab to see what days and times my followers are most likely to be online, then I’ll post a photo during that time for the most engagement.
Finally, any tips for growing your following?
Consistency is key. For starters, post at the same time each day – I’d recommend creating and sticking to a posting schedule that works for you. Then decorate the caption with the relevant hashtags so a wider pool of people can discover your content. It’s also important to share clear images. Last but not least, do engage with others’ posts – it is a really useful way of getting yourself out there in a very busy Insta world.