Sophie Callahan
Today’s ‘a few minutes with…’ is a bit different to normal… I mean it’s not even called ‘a few minutes with…’! This week, we spend a few minutes with Sophie Callahan, who tells us all about the #30DayRuralBusiness challenge she created for Instagram. It’s a fab initiative and there’s still plenty of time to get involved if you’d like to. So, over to Sophie…
Rhea has asked me to chat to you about the new Instagram challenge, #30DayRuralBusiness, that I am running, which is nicely timed, because it launched just yesterday and the response so far has been incredible.

Sophie CallahanWhy did you create the #30DayRuralBusiness Challenge?

I first came up with the idea of running a thirty day challenge for rural businesses on Instagram, because I could see so many small equine and country entrepreneurs really struggling with the platform.
For me, it’s fairly easy. I’m a photographer, so I have endless content to put out and I’m a blogger, so I always have new articles or videos to promote. But what if you’re a riding instructor, or a therapist, or make collars for dogs? I felt that a lot of people didn’t really know what to post, when to post it or how to engage their audience.
I asked, over on Rhea’s Small & Supercharged group, if it would be something people would be interested in and I had such a huge response to it. It was clear that people were craving direction and assistance when it came to using Instagram for their businesses.
I absolutely love Instagram. I’d go as far as to say that I’m ever so slightly addicted to it and my husband regularly has to remind me to put my phone down and stop scrolling.

Why do you particularly like Instagram?

I love how much it has grown in popularity over the last couple of years and it is definitely now the place to be, if you’re building a brand of any sort. What began as a platform for real-time image sharing has become a hub of creativity, expression and community. Instagram is, for sure, the ‘nicest’ platform to be on, with only very rare reports of hate and negativity, unlike Twitter, which is a magnet for trolls and Facebook, which seems to be everyone’s place of choice for airing their dirty laundry.
Instagram seems to be the place for positivity and cheerleading, which is just so refreshing.

What’s the goal of the #30DayRuralBusiness Challenge?

So, my aim, with the challenge, was to come up with 30 days of easy posts, for people who wanted to get to grips with Instagram, engage their audience and inject a little personality into their online profile.
I tried to keep the #30DayRuralBusiness challenge fairly simple, but in a way that would encourage people to think outside of the box and stop simply posting salesy posts, about the newest colour or size of their product, for example.
My business has been built, not just on beautiful imagery (which luckily for me, comes with the territory) but on stories. My story and the stories of my clients. Each partnership I photograph, I endeavour to tell their story and give their images a personality that my audience can relate to and engage with.

#30DayRuralBusiness Challenge

Equally, the reason my blog has become such an integral part of my business, is because people enjoy reading my own story. Whether it’s about the country clothing brands I’m wearing, the latest candle I’m burning or my favourite place to have brunch. Ultimately, stories are what will capture your audience.
And that is the aim, with the #30DayRuralBusiness Instagram Challenge.
So far, we’ve only just finished Day 1 and are just getting into Day 2, and the results have been phenomenal. Not just in the amount of people who have joined us (and are still just joining in today) but the engagement on people’s initial introductory post has been fabulous to witness.

And the results so far?

There are accounts joining us that ordinarily struggle to get past 20 likes per image, and now they’ve received this influx of comments and encouragement on their first challenge post. There are some brand new accounts, where the Day 1 post was their first ever post on Instagram, who are off to a flying start.
The beauty of the hashtag is that it is connecting these likeminded, enthusiastic rural business owners from all over the world and providing support, community and friendship, simply through social media. Just as I’d hoped it would.
I’m so excited for the rest of the 30 days, with my super little #30DayRuralBusiness gang. I’ll be doing a roundup post of everything I learn, throughout the process, on my blog in March. I just know they’re all going to blow me away and I hope that they all see fabulous results from it.
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