“Erika Stephens June’s Blooms”
Erika Stephens lives off the grid with her family on the remote Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. The internet there is spotty at best, and Erika has long been hesitant about using social media.
Then she came across Erin Benzakein, the wildly popular Floret flower farmer and writer, who herself has nearly 600,000 Instagram followers. Erika had first discovered Erin through her writing in Growing for Market and then was blown away by her website. Shortly thereafter, a friend asked Erika if she was interested in trying Instagram. One look at the Floret Instagram page, and Erika was in.
“My initial motivation to start using Instagram was to follow Floret,” she says. “It was only a matter of hours after looking at Erin’s account that I agreed to download the app.”
Six years and 1,600 posts later, Erika has built a solid Instagram following of nearly 74,000 through simple, straightforward posts that offer a colorful look at Erika’s natural way with flowers.
Erika Stephens of June’s Blooms, a small flower shop and flower farm on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.
Why we like it
Rustic and authentic. Those are the best words to sum up the feel of Erika’s presence on Instagram, where she shares simple images of colorful bunches of flowers with occasional cameos from some of her friends and family.
Over her years of using Instagram, Erin has found it has become more than just a place to post pretty pictures. “Instagram has grown into a journal for me. I use the space to chronicle what is blooming during the year. It is easy to go back during the year and pull up the exact day a certain bloom came into being. Using the app to track a farming season is also a huge benefit to me.”
Rhyme and reason
Erika doesn’t have a formal strategy for posting on Instagram. Instead, she posts when the muse is calling. “I try to post somewhat regularly, but, honestly, I post when I feel inspired. The posts that I have found to get the most interactions are ones that contain poetry I have written. The interactions are comments from followers, usually positive.”
In addition to using it as a way to track her farming season, Erin says Instagram has helped her land jobs, find opportunities to travel and make friends online who have then become friends in real life.
“My favorite Instagram posts have always included my children or close friends. At times, these have also been the most-liked posts.”
Tips to try
“If I were to offer any tips for success on this platform I would say to post clear photographs. Take your time with your words. Check your spelling and grammar. Most people who are following flower-based Instagram accounts are there for the beauty. Be truthful and honest. Don’t feel the pressure to conform. Post what you love, when you are moved to share. Instagram is social media, so try to interact with your followers. Respond to their comments.”
See for yourself: @junesblooms