As part of instagram November, I asked on my instagram feed who people admire on the social media platform. I was happily introduced to Girl Gone International by one of my followers, and immediately I was intrigued by their story.
So, I got in touch with Anne Scott, Girl Gone International Founder and dug a little deeper.
Tell me about Girl Gone International – whats the story?
Girl Gone International is a very fast growing and fun global non profit organisation and community with over 12,000 members across different platforms. We represent, connect and support the new generation of women living abroad whether that be for work, love, travel or study.
We started off in Hamburg in 2011 and went global in 2013. We hold hundreds of free events all over the world, have busy hubs in 30 cities with more opening up this year all. The face to face communities are run with the aim of creating spaces and places to meet like minded new friends, have a laugh and be active in your new country. We have busy online communities on different platforms and this is all funded by our magazine GirlGI which is a digital lifestyle and travel magazine created exclusively for women like us who live abroad or travel often or are struck with wanderlust and itchy feet!
Who is in the team?
We have a massive global team made up of the Community Managers who manage the Girl Gone International city hubs, we have an Editorial team who create the magazine, we have writers, bloggers and contributors who jump in and out plus we will putting together our website team including city site editors and forum managers in 2014 when we launch our website. Everything is centrally managed via our HQ in Amsterdam where Anne Scott and Meghan Klein, the Girl Gone International founders are based.
How do you work together as a team, what systems and communication apps do you use?
We are a very close global family and love each other to bits – whether we have met face yet or not! We have grown so fast so quickly because of the incredible synergy generated while working together, apart.
Like all GGI’s, we are all highly digital savvy women so we manage ourselves and even our own local teams online. We are very like-minded, share the same energy, passion and motivation to make other girl gone internationals lives more connected, supported, visible and fun and spark.
We use Google Hangouts for Community Manager group hangouts so we get the chance to pour a glass of wine and sit down ‘together’, have a laugh, chat and swap stories and best practice. We record these and air them on our YouTube Channel. We are currently editing them down as they can go on for a looooong time so we will have a ‘highlight’ reel up again soon. We use Skype for one to ones, interviewing Girl Gone Internationals for the magazine etc. We use various third party platform such as Facebook and Meetup groups to communicate and share day to day and we are looking forward to moving over to our own platform on our own site soon.
How important is instagram to your online strategy?
We are all about transmedia storytelling at Girl Gone International. We are all women who live away from our birth country for a wide variety of reasons and there are more and more of us every year. No two of our stories are the same but we share a lifestyle choice, an energy, a mindset and that is what Girl Gone International is, it is a culture and way of life that permeates our day to day and via original content creation and storytelling on multiple platforms, quickly becomes visible, tangible and ‘one’. Instagram is one of these platforms.
How do you use Instagram?
We are fairly new to Instagram and started off using it as a ‘behind the scenes’ but we struggled to even keep ourselves entertained with that! Our Edinburgh Community Manager Belen Coviella suggested we have a different Girl Gone International in a different part of the world each week ‘take over’ our Girl Gone International Instagram account. She thought it would be really engaging and interesting to have a visual insight into each others lives. To actually see what life looks like all over the world.
We also use it to find girls to feature in the magazine. For example, in Issue 4, out in January 2014, we wanted to interview women bringing up children overseas. So we searched via hashtags such as #TCK to find perfect candidates.
We also invite people to hashtag #girlgi to share snippets of their GGI life. In just a couple of months, 1300 images have been hashtagged #girlgi. We pick our favourite each month and award a year’s subscription to our GIrlGI magazine.
Who are you favourite users on instagram?
We have so many! We love seeing cities through the eye of a Girl Gone International because those GGI Instgrammers offer a really unique perspective and their images follow a strong narrative.
The ones we agree on at Head Office are 2 Australian sisters living in different parts of Europe. Katie Mitchell – an Australian wedding a lifestyle photographer living in Paris and her sister Laura Mitchell, a blogger, who lives in Rotterdam and maintains a stunning account.
What would you recommend to anyone getting started with using insta as part of their marketing mix?
We would recommend downloading an app such as InstaFollow to track new followers, unfollowers, engagement etc to measure your progress and using the site Statigram to keep on top of comments and start conversations. Also be active, original and keep up momentum.
What are your plans for GGI in 2014?
We are officially launching next year.. this year has been very much about laying strong foundations – establishing our team, sharing our vision, creating an amazing culture that people want to be part of, learning about our members, strategizing the way forward and ways to be financially self sustainable. We think we have cracked it so we are excited to kick off the new year with the launch of our new website and social media platform, opening new hubs in more than 30 more cities, producing four more issues of the GirlGI magazine plus a special supplement for International Women’s Day.
Where else on the interweb can we find you?
Anna, thanks so much for sharing your tips and behind the scenes news.