With over 150k followers, Kalinda Li’s Instagram brand has skyrocketed. She talked about how she balances it all, keeps up with social media trends, and communicates with co-owners. With her level-headed work ethic and her straightforward, no-nonsense attitude towards social media, Kalinda had some valuable insight for future social media moguls.
Hey! If you had to go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Have one superpower?
Able to know what others are thinking and feeling.
Great! Who's your aesthetics inspiration?
In terms of other accounts, I don't really get my aesthetic inspirations from them. Rather, I get it off large social media moguls such as Kylie Jenner, other models/makeup artists/fashion designers/bloggers, and what’s trending on the Instagram explore page.
What first motivated you to spend hours on Instagram, back in Year 7?
I was bored and I thought it would be fun.
Who or what continues to motivate you to dedicate your time to interacting with fans, ensuring the quality of your posts, and so on?
My friendship with Jonathan, the number of people who see what I write and post - I'm able to have influence.
Right. What’s the one quality you have that you think makes all your Instagram experiences successful?
Unlike a lot of accounts who want to get a certain number of likes per post and then post another picture, we just post whenever and whatever. We have co-owners from all across the globe to target different timezones too and so we have a large audience.
Are you able to keep up with the latest trends, like Triangl, Mermaid blankets, and so on?
You kind of think, “If I got given this would I like it? If I gave it to my friends will they like it?”
Are you now able to look at something and go, 'Oh, that’s going to trend because I'm posting it'?
After being on Instagram for a long time, you kind of just understand what people usually like to see or know about.
Okay, this might be a bit of a mental leap, but where do you see your Instagram brand(s) in 15 years?
It’s hard to know because my partner is the main owner of the account (he’s the one that really started the account) and so many people I’ve known have sold their accounts, (for money or it's taking too much time in their lives) but we both hope it will last a long time, even just as a hobby.
What's the funniest/shocking/most amazing thing that's happened to you on Instagram, or other social media?
There was one girl who thought we had issues with her and so she posted on her account, telling her followers to bash us (which they did). And so when we posted our side of the story, our followers went to have a go on her account. It was definitely quite ugly seeing hundreds of people fight each other, but it made me really realise the amount of influence we have.
Right. Following from that, can you tell me about the most challenging moment through this whole Instagram experience?
Before, our account was getting quite dead because everyone had exams. And so co-owners weren't posting and followers weren’t active.
And how did you overcome that?
We’ve changed all our co-owners to younger people, from different timezones, and we’re posting more.
We’ve also made massive changes to our theme, inclusion of new ideas and just improving how we’re operating.
What is your partnership with Jo like - are you equals? Do you each take charge of an area? Is constant communication hard to maintain?
Jo has more authority than me, but we’re almost equal because there is nothing to hide and we go through ideas together before we make anything happen. I’m in charge of the DMs people send us - when they ask questions, or want to buy shoutouts etc. - and Jo is in charge of the emails - larger businesses (i.e. Snapchat). Communication is never hard to maintain because we’re such good friends.
Do you think it's important to work in a team or do you think you work better alone?
I definitely think working in a team is better because there is always someone to rely on.
How much time do you spend daily on Instagram, and how much did you spend there in your busiest period?
Now that I’ve hit Year 12, I probably spend an hour or less a day on Instagram (sometimes just a few minutes to flick through our posts and answer any messages). My most active time would be when I spent almost every hour awake on Instagram, but that was prior Year 11.
Wow. So, how do you balance that with academics, sleep, your social media life, and any other commitments? How do you prioritise?
Academics are first priority, then maybe my fangirl life, then my social media, and then sleep - which is really bad. But these days I’m trying to prioritise my sleep a lot more and the time spent on Instagram has decreased significantly.
Sleep is important! So, what does all this income mean for you? Do you spend or save it all, or...?
I honestly don’t do Instagram for an income, and it doesn’t hold much significance to me personally. I rarely like to get the money, I choose to get their products instead, because if I’m promoting, I should actually know what it is and actually use it.
That's a great policy. Just to finish up - what's a piece of advice you'd like to give to aspiring social media gurus?
In the beginning, you’ll be so focused on the number of followers, likes, comments, views - but please, please refrain from doing so. It honestly doesn’t define you as a person, and remember to occasionally put your phone down and go outside to breathe in fresh air and look at the sky.
Social media is really addictive, and sometimes people get sucked into it the bad way. Just make sure you keep things positive, think before you act and no matter what bad words people hurl at you, take it as an opportunity to learn and improve yourself.