Adam Smith of South Hills Norco

Adam Smith

Speaker, Storyteller, Creative at South Hills Norco

Adam Smith built his 75,000 Instagram following, not as a business platform, but as a dad trying to create a cloud-based time capsule of his 3 kids growing up.

What he discovered is that great stories, a light-hearted friendly persona & visually arresting images get noticed, regardless of who you are or what you represent.


Instagram Comments For Influencer Attention (And More Followers)

Like a lot of entrepreneurs out there, I have many different passions that drive what I do in the world. I work with some nonprofits and religious organizations and I do some motivational speaking with them.

I love the idea of helping others live out the best version of themselves. As a part of that, I also do a lot of creative work producing branding…

Expert session

Tactic that has had the biggest impact on Adam’s success

Constructing captions that tell great stories, shooting quality creative imagery with a mobile device and relating well as an artist/influencer with a brand & vice versa

Result if you follow the steps in Adam’s session

Better photos and greater account growth by being authentic in your interactions and leveraging 3rd party editing tools

Full session with video, notes, audio and discussion inside EHQ Club. Learn more

Expert session snapshot


I think probably within the first year, I went from kind of taking a snapshot to thinking about like, wait a minute, like, I’ve seen, you know, this account over here, this account over here.

And they always use a lot of low angles, and I kind of like that or, man, a wide shot here would bring in more of the action or man there’s so extreme close ups that this other account does. And when they do that, it really draws a person into just this one specific thing in the middle.

And so I just started, you know, kind of playing around with it and experimenting with it. And, you know, as a result of, of just kind of really playing with different styles.

The other thing I would do too, is I got really bold and just kind of asked some people that I was following so impact, you know, tens of thousands of followers at the time, and I’m just complimenting their work, and then asking them, you know, what do you use to edit and what inspires you?

And what I really found kind of early on was, especially if somebody has a lot of followers, if you just kind of say nice photo, or that’s cool or cheers, you know what I mean? Like, it doesn’t really get their attention because they probably have 100 people saying that.

But if you really take the time, the bigger the the platform of person has, if you really take the time to follow fully, intentionally compliment something specific about their work and about what they do, and about the way they create images or tell stories or about the product that they’re representing, if you take time to write two or three sentences about what you actually like about it, that grabs people’s attention, and they’re more open to a dialogue.

Most people you know, when we say nice job, even though we may really genuinely mean that just kind of can sometimes just feel like generic, you know, like a generic pat on the back, which is nice. But it doesn’t really get our attention.

But when somebody says, “Hey, you know what, I really like about what you’re doing”, and really take time to describe that specifically. I don’t care who you are, even if you’re a big, you know, multi million dollar organization that that opens your eyes of like, wait, what are people resonating with what we do, what kind of specific feedback can we get?

That’s because everybody wants to know that whatever they do, whatever they’re represented, whatever images they’re putting out there, that it connects with people because they started doing it because they wanted people to feel something and experience something, get something out of it.

And when you’re telling them that, like, “Hey, you’re actually doing that”. Then they kind of perk up and say, “Wait a minute, who is this person?”

And when you start asking them questions, because you already have some relational collateral there, by complimenting what they’re doing, they’re more apt to say, “Well, actually, this is how I shoot these photos, or this is the editing software I’m using or, man, check out this other guy, I follow him and I actually steal a lot of my ideas from stuff what he’s doing and like, kind of recreate those on my own.”.

And so I found out like, you know, again, following these people that inspired me, having interactions and conversations with them, being having specific, targeted exchanges with them, that really began with you know, encouragement and, you know, compliments.

I think there’s a difference between like a compliment and like flattery, right? Because we all hate flattery. Flattery is where you just kind of say something that’s generic that you don’t mean.

But a genuine compliment, encouragement is where you pick something specific. And it’s meaningful, like you really do mean that and you take the time to shape that, that sentence or that compliment.

Well, two really, really hits home. And so I kind of started leveraging tools that when I first started, I didn’t know that, for instance, that a lot of people who make a name for themselves on Instagram are not just using kind of the set filters that Instagram offers.

When they upload their photos. I didn’t really know that at the time, I was just an amateur dad trying to take photos of his kids and realize that a lot of people are downloading editing software for their phones, you know, these apps that you can get for a lot of times $1 to 99 and have a lot of built in tools and filters, but also, it gives you more control of your image.

And so a lot of times people are getting these professional looking images that I’m like, it doesn’t look like that. And I’m using all the filters that they have on Instagram, and come to find out that’s not really what the pros were doing. They were using editing apps such as Snapseed, or After light, or Mixtures, those are at the time, and then even still, some of the apps that a lot of folks use this disco cam.

Again, these are really inexpensive assets for using and leveraging to kind of craft their photos and make something more beautiful kind of bring out a different sort of a feel. And so I was just picking up tips from different pros that I respected their work and, and just trying to create beautiful images.

And so if you were to actually take the time and I don’t know why you would do this, to scroll all the way back to the beginning my feed you kind of see this evolution of like, a lot of my, you know, probably first 40 or 50 photos really looked pretty much like it any, you know, random dad’s photos.

And as I began to kind of figure things out and kind of shake my eye and grab tools and tips from pros that I was following, it began to evolve. And it wasn’t kind of like overnight, I became this incredible mobile photographer, it was really kind of a gradual process.

And I think even now, I’m learning stuff and figuring stuff out. I think that’s part of the thing that drew people to the account was, as I was taking chances and doing things people notice, like, well, that’s kind of cool, that’s a little bit different. That’s not like everything else I’ve seen. But this guy’s really kind of pushing the envelope and looking at things through maybe a different eye.

I would look at if I were in that same room or at that same birthday party or watching that same parade or what it is I was taking a photo of at the time that I had a different perspective with which to share. And so that started catching people’s eye. And, you know, I started gaining followers.

Honestly, one of the biggest ways at the beginning was, the more I found that I was commenting on other people’s photos and paying attention to what they were doing well, the more they wanted to reciprocate by looking at what I was doing.

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