Meet Norfolk's new Instagram 'influencers'
PUBLISHED: 08:49 21 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:42 21 March 2019
Meet the new wave of 'influencers' so successful at running their own lifestyle brands they are now among Norfolk's business A-listers.
A new group of businesswomen promoting life in Norfolk are rising the ranks of Instagram – and firms are fast getting in on the action.
This social media savvy gang include business leaders running firms promoting Norfolk including PR and marketing agencies, interiors experts and design consultancies. And some of them also, somehow, find time to be a mum too.
They include Nicole Yvette Pugh, who runs Berrys & Grey interiors, Fiona Burrage who has created the ‘Nor-Folk’ brand and Jules Perowne of Perowne International, just named one of the most influential women in the hospitality sector.
With tens of thousands of followers and leading aspirational lifestyles, they are fast becoming the new Norfolk in-crowd.
Fiona Burrage – who lives in one of Norwich’s most stunning industrial conversions simply known as The Factory – has 55,500 followers on Instagram, started running her #Nor_Folk account to share pictures when her son was younger but has built a brand promoting life in the county.
But she doesn’t like to think of herself as an influencer and is extremely selective over the brands she works alongside.
“I don’t go out to dinner all the time and photograph my food, you can be attached to your phone and I do switch off my notifications and have a break. I’m a photographer, design consultant and I run a lifestyle brand. We live in a unique property and people are interested in how I’ve designed my home so it all started from there.”
Fiona is now focusing on her Water Cabin which she renovated and lets on the Norfolk Broads: “I want to have more tiny homes around Norfolk where people can stay, and also hope to do a book, a compendium, on places to stay in the county.
“Nothing is ever really free so if you get gifted something, you are expected to provide content. My goal is to single-handedly celebrate everything that is wonderful about living in Norfolk.”
Natali Pendleton, who is renovating her Georgian house just outside Loddon, and lives with her husband and 10-year-old son, also does not like the word influencer. Aged 48, she has 17,500 followers on Instagram.
“I started doing Facebook as a hobby and just thought it was photo sharing, then I got into Instagram and couldn’t believe you could see into people’s houses. I thought you could just post a picture and your account would grow, I never replied to any comments, I just didn’t realise social media was about being sociable but then my friend sent me an article about how to grow your Instagram account and I’ve worked really hard at it.
“You need to ensure you have a look to your whole page and that it doesn’t look like a personal photo album, people will make their mind up in an instant whether to follow you or not so you need to decide on your niche. Mine is lifestyle, The most I’ve ever been paid is £250 for one post from Max Factor. Rules are very strict so you can’t do too much gifting and people hate you and think you are a freeloader and you don’t do any work.
“It’s difficult sometimes being out of London but some people follow me because I am from Norfolk.”
Businesses are now ensuring they get these influencers on their invite lists if launching something new. Greg Adjemian, who co-owns the Ingham Swan had a strategy in place when it reopened recently following a devastating fire.
“It was an important part of our marketing strategy to be aware who the key influencers were, particularly those focused on food, lifestyle and fashion,” he said. “We have a digital marketing agency that works for us and are aware of the top 10 influencers who fitted that profile and it’s a long-term collaboration so when we have a key event or opening, they get an invitation.”
Amanda Bunn, head of PR for the Mobas agency, said it was part of the job to work with influencers for clients. She will be organising the promotion of the Holkham country fair in July and will be inviting influencers and their families to attend.
“When a journalist comes along to an event, you might have to wait a day or two to see any noise about your product but using an influencer creates this instantly and can give an event a real VIP feel, people think ‘I wish I was there’.“
Norfolk’s new wave of Instagram ‘influencers
Fiona Burrage @Nor_Folk nor-folk.com
“I’m a photographer, designer & shopkeeper. Living in a factory, Letting a cabin.”
Natali Pendleton @natalipendleton
“Living my best life in Norfolk, renovating a Georgian house with my husband and son.”
Leanne Lim-Walker @leannelimwalker
“Style/interior/beauty/travel ... Youtuber/Blogger ... Bride-to-be ... Half Chinese.”
Nicole Yvette Pugh @miss.p
“Life Design Interiors Fashion Fitness”
Jules Perowne @julesperowne
“Born and bred Norfolk girl. Hotel addict and follower of sunshine. CEO and founder of Perowne International.”