Being trained in photography helps Saylee Padwal create original content that helps her feed look professional and crisp.
Realising the importance of social media clout on getting retweeted by a celebrity helped Saylee Padwal take steps towards becoming an influencer. With food being an essential part of her life and her photography skills shaping the way, her blog, Saylee With Food came to life.
Looking back, where did it all begin?
Growing up, I’ve always been a fan of the Jonas Brothers. So when Joe Jonas retweeted me, way back in 2010, I gained some 10000 followers on Twitter overnight. And since I regularly tweeted pictures of my everyday life, most of my followers ended up following me on my Instagram in 2012. If you scroll down to the first-ever picture I posted on Instagram in 2012, you’ll see that it was food. Food has always been an essential part of my life and continues to be. Along with the Jonas Brothers, of course!
What’s in the name?
While everyone else around me was coining usernames with food or their favourite pop culture reference, I decided to make one that was about me.
I’ve always kept all my social media accounts personal, in a way that they reflect my daily life, my likes and dislikes, etc. So having my own name as a username made perfect sense.
What is your USP in this cluttered space? How does your content give you an edge?
My USP has always been my photography. With me being a trained and award-winning photographer, my pictures have always been professional and crisp. While some of my fellow bloggers started off by reposting on Instagram, I’ve always created my own content. That obviously made my content easily identifiable while giving it a niche.
Please take us through your content creation process. How do you stay relevant and relatable?
Apart from being a blogger, I also work as a full-time Social Media Specialist, so being in tune with trends comes easy to me. I tweak my content accordingly while also making sure the trend applies to my brand persona.
How do you make moolah with your efforts?
Brands contact me if they feel like I could do justice to their campaigns with my content. Apart from that, it’s photography and Social Media assignments that I take up, on a freelance basis, that help me rake in some extra moolah.
How do you maintain editorial objectivity with the influx of brand briefs?
I believe that the food/restaurant space should imbibe honesty. With restaurants who approach you to do paid reviews and expect full ratings on restaurant reviewing platforms, the blogging market is losing its charm. A regular paying customer ends up feeling cheated just because of a blogger who has given a starry review to a mediocre restaurant.
I always make sure that I stay away from such requirements, while at the same time I visit places on my own to form my personal opinions which I later share with my followers.
Also Read: Parimita, Sameer and their Mumbai Food Trail
One instance/experience that made it all worthwhile
My career. I come with a Science and Fashion Technology background but ended up being assigned a social media role at a company because of my clout. This changed my career path entirely, and for good, with me being into Social Media for 5 years now!
Weirdest brand brief/request ever
I don’t recall a particular one but there’s a pet peeve that I have. Sometimes brands and PR professionals who have your address end up sending ‘gifts’ while randomly expecting you to create posts for them. Firstly, creating a post takes a lot of effort and time. And secondly, I think they need to be courteous enough to understand that without expecting posts in return for completely random items — however small or big that influencer might be.
If not blogging, you would be?
Photographing. My Instagram is a showcase of the world I see through my lens and it would always stay that way.
A day in your life…
A normal day involves me going to my humble 10-7 job, wrapping up, and then heading out to explore the food scene in the city in my free time. From obscure joints to the busiest of fine-dining spaces, Mumbai keeps enticing me with something new every day, giving me enough content to dip my toes into.
Message/tips for upcoming bloggers
Stay true to being you. Reposting, lifting captions and hashtags, getting ‘inspired’ by someone’s style, writing great reviews for free food — everything seems easy. But in the end, your followers have come to you for you. Find out what you do best, present it with honesty, and watch yourself grow!
Your Favorite Influencer
Every influencer is unique in their own way, so I wouldn’t want to play favourites which would have me distinguishing between content.
The Future you foresee for your Personal Brand
My personal brand, for now, has reached a point where it can diverge into any segment possible. I am branching out into food illustration which always has been a passion since my Fashion College days. It has certainly received a positive response from my friends and I would love to enhance it on my Instagram. Now, if only procrastination wasn’t such a problem.