Welcome to Eat Sleep Instagram, our weekly series of conversations with the people behind the most drool-worthy Instagram accounts about how they're navigating the digital age, deliciously.
This week, Taste Talks contributor Mackenzie Anne Smith caught up with Deana Saukam, the voice and eye behind @faimfatale. Saukam lives part-time in Austin and Paris, and has made a career for herself hopping continents, snapping photos all while. Formerly the social media and PR director at East Side King and qui in Austin, she certainly knows a thing or two how to build hype around what's hip and tasty.
Taste Talks: Tell us about your path to becoming a "professional Instagrammer."
Deana Saukam: I ran the social media and PR for qui and East Side King for a little over five years, and coordinated events all over the world. During that time, I started to connect with major food media outlets and influencers. After I stopped working for qui about a year ago, I made the decision to focus on my own brand and build a career focused on sharing food and travel stories.
Yes, I have a lot of followers on Instagram, but my career extends to creating media (photos, videos, writing), content curation, and consulting for other brands as well as my own. I was brought on to work on Food & Wine's Around the World Network, a video project that is curated by my amazing friend Emily Elyse Miller of Trends on Trends; I did a few rounds of videos for that in Austin and in Hong Kong, and contribute to Food Republic and Le Fooding. I am also working on a Cambodian cookbook, a food and travel TV show, and my own writing.
I split my time between Austin and Paris, and travel quite a bit in between. I just got back to Paris after an amazing trip to Sicily, where I basically ate pasta, fresh seafood, gelato, and granita, drank wine, and swam in the sea all day everyday. Sicily is one of my favorite places, and the food and scenery are both incredible.
Taste Talks: Have you made any real-life friends on Instagram?
Deana Saukam: I've made a lot of friends on Instagram! But Christine Doublet, who is the assistant editor at Le Fooding is one of my best friends, and we met last summer after I posted a picture with a copy of Le Fooding in bed, saying I was heading back to Paris. She messaged me, saying we should grab lunch when I got back into town, and the rest is history! I ended up moving to Paris, and I'm so glad we connected. Aside from making friends and connections, Instagram is a great way to keep up with friends I have met during my travels.
Taste Talks: How much time to you spend on Instagram?
Deana Saukam: It really depends on the day, but on average I would say that I probably spend about 30 minutes to an hour-ish per day there—that includes posting photos, browsing, responding to comments, messages, etc. Some days I barely check it at all, but other days I feel like I'm on it a lot more. I try to post about a photo a day, but when I'm traveling, I tend to post a few more. I'm also on Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook, but I try limit my time there, too.
Taste Talks: What do you use to take pictures for Instagram? What editing apps do you use?
Deana Saukam: I use a Sony RXIII and my iPhone 6—when and what I use just depends on how I'm feeling. Sometimes I shoot with my Sony because it's a better camera, especially when I know I will be using the images outside of Instagram (FaimFatale.com, I'm looking at you!). I edit everything on my phone though; no Photoshop here. For a long time I used Snapseed most of the time, and sometimes VSCO. But now Instagram has great in-app editing features, so I use those quite a bit as well.
Taste Talks: Do you have a set of rules that guide your personal approach to using social media to promote your brand?
Deana Saukam: In general, if I'm not having fun and enjoying what I do, then it's time to do something else. This applies to social media, too.
Taste Talks: If you were to write a recipe for best Instagram practices, what would it look like?
5 cups Natural Light (not the beer, yo!)
4 lbs interesting subjects
1 bottle of Champagne
4 gallons of fun
4 sticks of a theme/color palette you like
1 to 2 posts per day
Top with a dollop of funny, informative captions
Sprinkle with all of the emojis you can handle