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Here at Rapid HQ, nestled in the heart of the city’s business district, our team has been talking. A lot. About 2020, the ramifications for businesses, and how we can help and be helped. We’ve recently launched our Shop Local Christmas Gift Guide to shine some well-deserved spotlight on local businesses. Following the same line of thought (that collaboration is key), we have had the privilege to team up with some of Northern Ireland’s most interesting and vibrant bloggers and social media influencers. To kickstart our guest blogger series, we’ve had a chat with the social-savvy, creative photography queen, Claire Towe, artistic genius and boss lady at Wee Belfast. Among other things, we discussed her journey with Wee Belfast, her favourite social media stars and her top tips for cutting through the noise in a saturated space. Without further ado, here’s Blogging in Belfast – How to Build a Community Online.

Our first question for Claire was: how did you find yourself in the social media sphere?

“I have a background in PR and marketing so social media has always been my bread and butter. However, the real reason Wee Belfast came about was through my passion for photography.  

I’ve always had a love for street photography. Back in 2017 I was approached by Belfast Live to host an Instagram takeover. I knew I wanted to create a series of images that would hero our ‘wee’ city but also make people smile. I’m a huge fan of Slinkachu – a London-based street artist who abandons miniature people on the streets of the city – and so I got to work on a series of images that captured Belfast’s regional wit, and utilised composition to give my tiny people a life of their own. The rest, as they say, is history!”

Next on the agenda, we wanted to know Claire’s absolute favourite bloggers/influencers. 

Ah, that is a tough one! I actually spend most of my time on Instagram Explore as I prefer to stumble upon content that jumps out at me. There are a few accounts that consistently do this for me at the minute.

@HatsRichardson – an artist and designer selling very relevant (and funny) prints about everything from climate change, COVID to fake news and Trump.

@ardsly_ – A sustainable fashion brand with a witty feed

Closer to home, a couple of my faves include @Sashaferg – she’s a proper wee explorer and takes you on her journeys via funny insta story commentary and a beautifully curated feed. 

And last, but by no means least, we asked Claire for her top three tips for creating engaging imagery for your social feeds and setting yourself apart. Here they are: 

1. Be consistent. By this, I mean the look and feel of your imagery. If you edit your photos, do so with the same preset and shooting style. This not only gets people familiar with your brand but creates a much stronger feed.

2. Crop correctly. One of my pet hates is seeing a potentially lovely image shared using the wrong crop. The wrong aspect ratio or low resolution can reflect poorly on your brand so make sure to get to know each platform’s specs and tailor your content accordingly. 

3. Your message needs to compliment your image. There’s no point sharing a beautiful message if it doesn’t relate to or bring to life your photo. The two work in unison and will ultimately impact how many people engage with your content.

The social media and blogging space in Belfast is knitted thick with sharp-witted creatives, trying to further their brands and themselves. It can be difficult to polish your work into a diamond and leave the rest in the rough, but it’s possible. 

Thank you so much to Claire Towe for joining us for Blogging in Belfast – How to Build a Community Online and for sharing a part of yourself and your business with us. If you’re keen to see the rest of Claire’s stunning creations or pick up a gift card for a loved one this Christmas, head over to her website or her Instagram for a nosy.