I met Camilla aka Pink Storm Social last week, virtually of course since we’re currently in Lockdown 3! We bonded over a shared love of showing up EVEN IF we are in a global pandemic. Covid-19 has made a huge impact on all of our businesses, but we both believe that you can still stay active on social media in lockdown. We went Live on Instagram last Friday to talk about how small business and entrepreneurs can create content and stay visible during the restrictions (you can see the video at the end of this blog post). Honestly, it was the most fun I’ve had in ages, we laughed, we exchanged ideas and hopefully we helped a few people too.
Camilla Richardson has over 15 years’ experience in marketing and communications and set up Pink Storm Social in 2017. She boasts a CIM Diploma in Professional Marketing, an Advanced Diploma in Strategic Social Media Marketing and is a certified Facebook and Instagram Ad Strategist. With all of her credentials, she works with clients to help them understand social media platforms and how to use them for the best results.
We asked Camilla about her exciting career and how she got started in marketing.
Getting Naked With Interview with Camilla Richardson of Pink Storm Social
NakedPRGirl: Where are you from originally and where do you live now?
Camilla Richardson: I very luckily grew up in the Cotswolds near an oldy woldy town called Stow on the Wold, and after 15 years in London ended up surrounded by green fields in Warwickshire. I’m grateful that we moved out of town before the pandemic arrived but there are so many things I miss about London.
NakedPRGirl: What did you study? What was your first job?
Camilla Richardson: I studied art history at Oxford Brookes which was loads of fun but a complete waste of time on reflection I’m still paying off my student loan and it set me up with absolutely no career paths at all! But I’ve always been really into art. I did an art foundation at Cheltenham & Gloucester which I absolutely loved and it seemed like the natural choice. First job would have been flipping burgers in a burger van – I loved it!
NakedPRGirl: What was your big break?
Camilla Richardson: I went to interview for an admin role at a Property Consultancy in London. I remember it so clearly, the guy interviewing me was called Tim Macpherson and after about 10 mins he said you would fit really well in our marketing team, come and meet the Marketing Director. He took me to meet her and she offered me and role there and then which set me on the path to where I am now. I really feel for graduates these days, it was much easier 20 years ago.
NakedPRGirl: Tell me about your business, what is the idea behind it?
Camilla Richardson: I help business owners feel more confident using social media. I was lucky, digital marketing played a big part in my previous career but lots of business owners have little marketing knowledge so when it comes to marketing themselves and their businesses, social media feels completely alien. The phrase I hear most often is “I can create but I can’t sell” – so I help them overcome their fears and feel like success on social is easily achievable.
NakedPRGirl: How did you come up with the business plan? And name? Who did your branding for you?
Camilla Richardson: I originally named myself Natterbox Comms but had to rebrand 8 months later when a telecoms firm in Croydon threatened to take me to court! But actually, it was a blessing in disguise.
My husband Tom and I brainstormed for hours before we came up with the name Pink Storm Social. It always makes me smile when I remember us sat at the kitchen table both writing words down on a big piece of paper. A brilliant graphic designer called Pauline Lock came up with the branding and I love it. The business plan I’m still working on…
NakedPRGirl: What’s your USP?
Camilla Richardson: Hmm what’s my USP, a question I’m constantly asking myself! I would hope that my informal and friendly approach puts people at ease chatting about a subject that they have little knowledge in. I want my clients to feel they can ask any question no matter how basic. I’m also part of a collective called A Few Great Women which is a group of female digital marketeers. So if my clients need support with another aspect of online marketing I can help.
NakedPRGirl: Do you have a particular career highlight that stands out?
Camilla Richardson: Every event I am asked to speak at is a pinch me moment for sure. The fact that people trust me enough to stand infront of their delegates and speak on a subject that I’m passionate about always astounds me!
It was also pretty cool when Sophie Ellis-Bextor agreed to take part in a Pink Storm Powwow, my weekly Instagram Q&A feature. Social Media puts in you direct contact with people who would have been unreachable before (I realise this is good and bad) and the fact that she took the time to answer my questions during lockdown no 1 just proves that it’s always worth asking.
NakedPRGirl: What’s your personal style? Have you had to look at marketing yourself as a brand?
Camilla Richardson: Pink and Red, Jeans and Trainers! My style has evolved over the past couple of years really. I love that nearly everyday one of my followers on Instagram will send me something in my brand colours and say when I saw this I thought of you. I feel like my brand is very feminine which wasn’t intentional but I do love working predominately with females. There is such a supportive community amongst female entrepreneurs, we lift and motivate each other in a way that men just don’t seem to understand!
NakedPRGirl: How do you use social media for your business? What’s your favourite social media channel? Do you have any social media tips?
Camilla Richardson: Instagram is my favourite space. I started my page as more of a visual blog but now it’s my main driver of business so my content has shifted from personal to more advice, tips and tricks. I have also built the most amazing community which ultimately is what social media is all about. You get out of social media what you put in. If you are prepared to show up regularly, be yourself and interact with your customers, clients and friends you will see results.
NakedPRGirl: How have you seen your industry changing over the last few years?
Camilla Richardson: I would say Social Media is more about the Social these days as opposed to the Media. Instagram was set up as an image sharing platform but it’s so much more about the engagement and interaction side now. Yes you still need to be posting strong creative to stand out from the crowd but the words you are writing and the messaging is really where it’s at.
NakedPRGirl: Where do you see it evolving in the future?
Camilla Richardson: Social shopping is going to be huge especially on Instagram and Facebook and I’m hoping that it becomes less and less about the vanity metrics and more about the impactful messages.
NakedPRGirl: How do you manage your blog/social media workload – are you a planner and a scheduler? And do you get techy in the back end?
Camilla Richardson: I’m much better at spur of the moment posts than preplanned ones. I post about what’s relevant and topical in that moment so I have never felt the need to schedule but I completely appreciate how useful scheduling is to some. I wouldn’t say I am techy but I know my way around Canva and Inshot pretty well!
NakedPRGirl: How important is your Instagram grid? Do you plan everything in advance?
Camilla Richardson: I love my Instagram grid, it’s like an online portfolio for me so it’s important that it reflects Pink Storm positively. I don’t plan in advance but I do make sure my posts compliment each other and my grid looks professional. If someone is hiring me to advise on their Instagram it makes total sense that mine looks up to scratch.
NakedPRGirl: Who in the industry inspires you?
Camilla Richardson: So many! Any female entrepreneur who has built a career whilst raising a family is a hero in my eyes.
NakedPRGirl: How do you split your time between business and real life?
Camilla Richardson: There is no split! I have two boys who are 9 and 5 and 2 year old daughter so I have to accept that until they are all at school full time there is a limit to what I can do. I’m really lucky that I have a very supportive husband who is MD, FD, CEO, Head of IT and HR at Pink Storm so it’s no problem that the lines are totally blurred!
NakedPRGirl: Do you have a motto or mantra that you live by?
Camilla Richardson: Stop overthinking, social media is PR not ER!
NakedPRGirl: Where would you like to be in ten years time?
Camilla Richardson: I find it really difficult to think that far ahead, but I would hope that Pink Storm is still profitable and everyone inside Pink Storm HQ is happy and healthy x