Elias Black: My Friend Elias (Interview Series)
For this instalment of ZINE’s Influencer Series we speak to the hunky entrepreneur Elias Black, who you might recognise him from Australia’s Love Island, but he started building his 96.9k Instagram following way before he appeared on the show. Having worked with brands such as Ford Australia, Bonds, Superdry and Timberland, we got the low down of his journey and tips and tricks for breaking into the industry.
Could you tell us, how you got into becoming a social media influencer, at what point did you decide you were going to take Instagram seriously?
I initially refused to start an Instagram but a close friend of mine, Sarah Bahbah began an account for me in which she would post our weekly escapes down the coast or nights out in the Melbourne. It was mainly photos of me on a night out or awkward snaps she would take when I wasn’t looking. She created the account and it’s the account I eventually took over after my agencies constant encouragement to begin taking it more seriously. This how I got the name @myfriendelias. It was at least a year later that I begun to see the potential and actively developed growth strategies and went from 1k to 10k in about 9 months. The opportunities kept growing from my social media presence so I aligned by branding with the things I loved and it has just been snowballing ever since.
You’re an allrounder, a model, a trainer, a reality star, an explorer, and of course an instagram influencer. If you had to pick one title to be known by, for the rest of your life which one would you pick and why?
I hope I’m able to stay multifaceted, you’ve actually only picked a few of the main things I’m more widely known for. I’m also a business owner, an amateur boxer – being the main event at a corporate fight this October and a lover of old bikes and cars and actively collect and work on anything I’m able to find and bring new life to, currently that’s a 1970 Honda CB500. My biggest challenge is combining all my hobbies and passions and finding a way to fund, balance and align these things into a personal branding which is extremely important when having a social media presence as most popular pages are fixed to one niche. In saying that, surf and exploration are my biggest passions and I’m hoping I’m able to align that with my social media and TV presence. For now all I can say is watch this space 😉
Absolutely, can’t wait to see what you do next! You’ve managed to grow your following, but how exactly did you manage that?
I have a background in marketing after launching my company Indo Custom Motorcycles in 2013. Through that I was able to learn and develop strategies to grow my own brand which strongly revolve around cross promoting, face to face networking and of course aligning myself with big brands such as Ford Australia or Bonds.
Totally agree it’s so important to make sure the brands you work with align with what you do. You joined ZINE last year, and since then we’ve seen your following grow tremendously, and you also appeared on Australia’s Love Island, how has your life changed since?
My life feels more or less the same, just slightly closer to my goals which was greatly helped by obtaining national exposure through my short stint on reality TV. I personally hope I haven’t changed or lost my relaxed nature, after all it’s not about how many strangers know your name, it’s about the opinions of those closest to you.
Looking at your ZINE media kit, you have quite a high engagement rate, what are your tips for keeping your following engaged?
You need to stay ever relevant and also give the people what they want which is often difficult because you can become confined to posting the same sort of content over and over. It’s very much about taking the audience with you and into your highs and lows and showing them that you’re just like everybody else and face the same everyday challenges. Being relatable is extremely important.
You’ve done quite a few collaborations in the past with multiple brands. But if you had to pick one to work with again, which one would you pick and why?
I love working with Ford Australia through their PR agency Pulse Comm. They’re a great team and always are happy to help with my adventures and getting me to the places I love most.
So there are quite a few tools out there for influencers, but what are your favourite tools on the market for influencers?
Having an online media kit has to be one of my favourite tools, it enables me to show a client exactly what I do, my analytics and rate in a nice neat package. Other than that I love the editing process and juggle between using LightRoom and VSCO which are my favourite two editing platforms.
Great to hear you love the ZINE media kit! We could probably just look at your insta-stories for this next question, but describe a day in the life of Elias
I’m usually up around 8am, the first thing I usually do is call my girlfriend. She lives in the states so it’s a good time to chat 🙂 We catch up and then I jump into my day. The next few hours are usually phone calls and emails, catching up on any invoicing or proposals I have to write or respond to. I always cook in the mornings and once that’s done it’s on with whatever I have locked in for the day. That usually consists of either shooting, training or surfing. If I’m not in the water or behind the lens I’ll be in the gym getting ready for my fight this October, checking my training is in check and seeing the boys at Team Ellis Gym. Whenever I get the afternoon off it’s usually a phone call and off to see the boys for a late lunch or a skate or just traveling around shooting content. I’ve got an incredible group of friends who are always up for a coffee and a laugh.
What advice would you give anyone who wants to start building their Instagram following?
Find what you love and romanticise it. Constantly look for the beauty in the little things others seem to miss and capture it and share it with the world. And of course, get your shirt off hahaha
Would you rather…
Live your entire life in a virtual reality where all your wishes are granted or in the real world? Real world. You’d have to hate your life to choose to live your life in some make belief virtual reality.
Never use social media again or never watch another movie or TV show? Never use social media again, there are too many emotive movies out there to miss and it would be too great a lose an art form I love.
Be completely invisible for one day or be able to fly for one day? Fly. Obviously. Being invisible is easily accomplishable.
Give up surfing for a year or the Internet for a month? Internet. F*ck that. I’m already looking at having a month of the grid surfing to get back to centre after a crazy year, I’d happily let the internet go for a month.
Surf or skate? Surfing. Skating wouldn’t exist without it.
Boxing or basketball? Boxing – the sweet sport 😉
A day in bed or a day exploring? Obviously a day exploring. You can sleep when you’re dead.
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