What it’s like when your Instagram hobby goes big: An interview with BeerYoga

We build the analytics around here so it’s easy for us to get caught up in things from that end of the spectrum. With that in mind, we’re reaching out to some different perspectives on using social media, from Instagram influencers to podcasters and more.

This post is an interview with Brooke Larson of @BeerYoga on Instagram, a craft beer loving yogi with 32.7k followers and counting. What’s it like to run an account like that? We’re glad you asked!

And if you have an interesting perspective for a guest post, shoot us an email or find us on Twitter @UnionMetrics and tell us all about it.

1. How did @BeerYoga get started? My impression is that you started @BeerYoga on Instagram for fun and to blend two of your interests into one. Now beer yoga is A Thing and you have a ton of followers (and your fair share of trolls). Did that transition feel like it happened gradually or was there a really sharp turning point? 

Yes! I started my Instagram account for entertainment purposes in February 2014 after posting a silly photo of myself doing a yoga pose while drinking a beer. I researched a bit and could not locate anything like it on social media (although several people will argue saying they did it first- and that’s great for them!- but I could not personally find anything blending craft beer and yoga together) and thus @BeerYoga was born! I feel like it grew fairly quickly. Within the first year I gained 12,000 followers and breweries had started sending me beer to post with. Once I made the move to legally certify myself as a yoga instructor, the requests for classes and event hosting ramped up!

2. How have you formed a strategy for dealing with trolls?

Oh, trolls, you terrible people! I haven’t dealt with a TON of trolls to be honest but the few that have put their icky faces right in front of me have been nasty. I have learned to merely ignore them and delete their comments rather than fuel them, as I believe they are just jealous of success and the ability to be involved in the craft beer industry. There is also a wonderful tool built into Instagram that hides comments deemed inappropriate or violating. Because of this, I literally haven’t seen a nasty comment in months!

3. What about your personal life? Do you encounter people who feel like they deserve your time and attention because you’ve become something of a public figure on social media?

Navigating my personal life has more or less stayed the same besides a few people I have had to remove. It’s a lot about balance and it’s hard to not sound cocky regarding people taking advantage of you, but at the end of the day I am just a human and I deserve personal space. I feel that 32k social media followers isn’t much, but I’ve found that a select few see that number and also see dollar signs.

I have been targeted by a few yoga instructors who want in on what I’ve created and have tried to pretend that they are involved with my company- unbeknownst to me- and I’ve found that hurtful. One even began hosting local brewery yoga classes on the same day as mine and came to my class to tell people to come to hers instead! It has caused me to be very closed-off as a business owner and very picky as to who I chat with regarding my business and social media model. Otherwise, the close friendships I’ve found with this loving, supportive community have been awesome!

4. How do you consider your @BeerYoga Instagram account in relation to your larger career– one of the best catalysts you could have hoped for? A marketing channel? Both?

I think the @BeerYoga Instagram account has provided me with a sense of ease as a business owner. I see other brewery yoga instructors working extra hard and struggling with marketing and I am fortunate enough to have the account as an easy way to share about upcoming events to a large audience. It doesn’t always work though and I have small classes just like the next instructor.

5. Do you get approached by a lot of brands that want you to promote their products? What is your protocol for dealing with those offers?

Oh boy, yes! This is a very difficult swamp to swim through as well. I must ask myself, what is this product and does it actually pertain to what I do? I have limited my outside brand posting to beer and tank tops. The most difficult part is when you have to let down another person working really hard to get their product in front of people’s faces but at the end of the day, sharing a bar of soap or a website that has nothing to do with beer and yoga just doesn’t work for my online community. Also, I’ve never, EVER been paid for a post, for those who ask!

6. What do you wish brands knew before approaching you on Instagram?

I wish they knew that I run a very specific Instagram page. I alternate between photos of myself at breweries all over the country/Europe, photos of myself in yoga poses at home with different beers, and photos of my brewery yoga classes. Throwing in a random photo of dog leashes doesn’t make sense and I don’t understand why some get so offended when I tell them no.

7. Do you have any particular measures of success for your social presence? (Hard numbers, general trends, etc?)

Success for me is continuing to lead fun yoga events at breweries and wineries as long as people keep showing up!

8. What would you most like to add to your knowledge about social media marketing and strategy?

I feel like I have a solid grasp on social media marketing but would love to figure out how to get past the new slump we’ve had due to the Instagram algorithm switch. Those with “popular” accounts are seeing fewer views and interactions now that Instagram is not chronological.

9. What’s the most unexpected thing that has come out of @BeerYoga for you?

Fun new friends and acquaintances, the opportunity to attend fun beer festivals, and travel and teaching! When I started the account, I literally thought it was just a joke but now I have a thriving business where I’ve taught yoga classes and attended festivals in 9 states!

10. I’m sure running @BeerYoga gets overwhelming sometimes; how do you manage that? Do you plan out content calendars/posts ahead of time or just go with the flow (or some combination of that)?

Running @BeerYoga can definitely feel like a job some weeks but I keep it simple and only post 4-6 times per week based on how many classes I’m teaching that week, how many classes I need to promote for the coming weeks, or how many beers I have in my fridge to drink and share. Hard life, huh?!

11. Do you have a presence on other social channels and how do those differ to Instagram, in your approach to them and your experience there?

I do! Someone once told me I probably need to just have one account for myself to make social media easier but I disagreed because my personal Instagram and Facebook accounts are where I share about my personal life and day-to-day happenings. I censor myself a lot to the 32k @BeerYoga followers but my personal pages are where I can be myself.

12. How often do you take a break from social media to recharge?

I haven’t taken a true social media break in a long time because fortunately, my classes and brewery events are going so well that I need to stay on the ball with posting, but someday soon I want to take at least an entire week off!

A big thanks to Brooke for talking to us, and for insight into what it’s like to build a hobby yoga account into a career. If you’re into craft beer and/or yoga, give her a follow and check out her classes that she teaches in different states.

Got another perspective for us on social? Don’t be afraid to shoot us an email or find us on Twitter @UnionMetrics and tell us all about it.

And check on your own Instagram account with our checkup to see the best time for you to post, and more.

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