Lucas O’keefe is an Instagram expert, social media marketer and school teacher. Lucas’ main passion is teaching and that is exactly what he does on his Instagram account! After successfully building an audience of about 200,000 people across all his social channels, he now helps businesses and entrepreneurs build their own social medias. Let’s chat more with Lucas about work-life in this #DesignwithDot interview!
Meet Lucas O’Keefe: an Instagram expert, a social media marketer and school teacher from Toronto, Canada.
It’s such a pleasure to have you on the #DESIGNWITHDOT blog Lucas!
1. How did you become an Instagram expert?
Before starting my business in the social media industry I was a middle school teacher. In that job, it was very easy to see which social media platforms were trending or popular because my students would always talk about them: Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, etc. Always having an interest in social media myself, I decided to start taking these platforms seriously by creating content for them, experimenting with them, and of course, building communities. After growing a combined social media community of nearly 200,000 followers for myself (across all platforms) I knew I had learned enough to starting helping entrepreneurs and businesses do the same thing with these amazing platforms.
2. What’s your best advice to grow an IG account?
Treat people like people. We all see that term “followers” and it becomes easy to forget that they’re actually real people instead of just some number. Since our goal isn’t actually to get followers, but instead to get fans, friends, supporters, and customers, I always tell others to remember that Instagram growth comes from thousands of genuine human interactions that build a true audience/community.
3. What’s your dream? (Where do you want to see your life and the world in 10 years? Year 2031!?)
Education and social media are my two passions. In 10 years, I’d like to merge my expertise in both to help design and implement education programs that teach students the importance of online/social media safety in a way that is actually relevant to the times they live in. So many of the current programs out there can’t keep up with the ever-changing state of social media, but teenagers can and they deserve to have the proper education in how to use these tools safely.
Growing my community. After years of going to massive sporting events and being in awe at how many people could fit in one stadium, I never thought I’d have a social media audience of amazing friends, clients, and supporters that is even greater than the capacity of those stadiums.
4. You’ve worked with so many amazing people and projects. What has been your favorite experience in your career so far?
Growing my community. After years of going to massive sporting events and being in awe at how many people could fit in one stadium, I never thought I’d have a social media audience of amazing friends, clients, and supporters that is even greater than the capacity of those stadiums. It’s still an intimidating thought for me sometimes, but one that I’m very grateful for.
5. What advice would you give to your younger self 10 years ago?
Start now. I’ve always wanted to build my own personal brand, but for years, I didn’t think I had anything worth sharing, or the content creation skills to communicate in an appealing way. The best thing I’ve learned from this process is that you can and will grow as you learn, but you can’t ever get there if you don’t start!
6. What are your thoughts on social media? Hate it? Can’t live without it? Give us your best social media tip or insight!
I can’t live without it. My greatest tip to go along with this, is to experiment and find what works for you and to lean into that as you grow your brand or community. Social media is not just a “cookie-cutter” tool that works the same for everyone and that’s what really fascinates me about it. Find the way you can communicate best, find your audience, and grow!
7. What is your philosophy about life? Or a mantra, quote or proverb you want to share with us?
One of my university professors introduced me to a very simple quote that has stuck with me ever since hearing it: “everything is easier when you take your ego out of it.” It’s now become a daily check-in that I remind myself of often and has helped me navigate so many more social experiences with empathy for others.
It’s important in a social media context too. Many people start out by thinking of how they can grow THEIR followers, but don’t realize the best way to do this is by showing up and GIVING to others first without expecting anything in return.
8. What’s your dream travel destination or the next place you want to visit? #TravelWithDot
It’s funny because I was never much of a traveler until I starting building my personal brand. But now, after meeting so many amazing people around the world and communicating with them digitally, my travel bucket list has grown exponentially. I’m eager to be able to start traveling again so I can meet all of these amazing people face-to-face. I can’t choose where I’d start!
Gary Vaynerchuk taught me that no matter how small the audience, there’s always someone who will listen and may need to hear our message, but we can’t find that audience unless we start speaking/creating content.
9. What’s your favorite food experience you would take me to in your city, and what would we eat? #EatWithDot
Donuts. Something I’ve been doing during the pandemic is ordering from as many small/local business eateries as I can and you won’t believe how creative some of these Toronto bakeries can get with their donut flavors!
10. Who has been a mentor or someone you have looked up to for advice and inspiration? How do they help or how have they helped you?
I stumbled upon Gary Vaynerchuk’s podcast one day when I had a long drive to complete by myself. I was blown away by his insights about communication, content creation, and just getting out there and sharing your message. He taught me that no matter how small the audience, there’s always someone who will listen and may need to hear our message, but we can’t find that audience unless we start speaking/creating content.
11. Dragon or Unicorn? & Why?
Dragon! Playing Dungeons and Dragons with my friends via ZOOM has become one of the highlights of my social life during the pandemic.
12. What are you working on right now, what gets you excited?
I’m always working on my next digital product, but lately, I’ve come to see the value in having one signature product so I’m shifting direction to focus on developing that by summer 2021!
THE FAST FIVE
1. Your favorite Instagram feed right now:
2. What is the Best Life advice (or lesson learned in business) you ever received:
Step out of your comfort zone. That’s where confidence comes from.
3. Best website/destination you go to for inspiration:
4. The App you can’t live without right now?
5. Book we should all read?
Harry Potter, even if you’ve seen the movies already.