Social media star Zak Hasleby talks with Georgia Curry for a rare one-on-one interview, where he opens up about his life, and what it takes to be a top Instagrammer.

Instagram is the second largest social network today, second only to Facebook and in 2016 it reached over 500 million users. This growing platform has enabled ‘everyday people’ to become instafamous and in our very own backyard, a Western Australian is rising in the ranks as one of the top Instagrammers in WA.

Zak Hasleby, sitting on 51,000 followers on Instagram, is no average university student. Popular for his photography of Australian landscapes, models and artistic photos, he has built himself a successful social media image – on YouTube, Twitter and Instagram – in just four years.

Zak grew up in a little town 500 kilometres from Perth named Northampton and went to high school in Geraldton. Zak was super close to his family, and enjoyed sporty activities like tennis and football. His father had a big impact on his life as he took them out on camping trips. “We would just go traveling on school breaks and even took 6 months off school to travel around NT and SA,” says Zak.

In 2013, like his father had done when he was young, he and his best friend spontaneously decided to quit their jobs and drive around the country. Zak’s backpacking trip around Australia was the birth of his successful Instagram career.

“I started Instagram because my girlfriend at the time wanted me to ‘capture every moment’ that later turned into me using it as a visual diary of my adventures – that’s why I named it Zakhaslebyadventures.”

Two years later, he had built himself a large following, climbing above 4,000 followers. He chose to continue on with his pre-planned path of study at University of Edith Cowan, but focusing on photography and event management. Currently, Haselby is in a juggling act with various commitments and projects: working part-time, studying part-time, event managing for businesses and Instagramming constantly.

While Hasleby loves what he does, there is immense pressure to upload high quality photos that fits what his audience’s expectation; in other words, those fit his Instagram ‘brand image’. He manages to not be overwhelmed by these expectations by using the platform to document his adventures. Audiences are still perilously volatile, and hard to keep loyal.

“It’s important to continually impress and uphold a standard for my followers, because they quickly unfollow,” Zak explains.

Another huge part of keeping him motivated is the fan base. “Every time I get a message about how I have made someone’s day from my videos or that my photography has inspired them to take quality photos. That’s makes me so happy.”

For his future, Hasleby wants to focus on his YouTube Channel, which currently has over 11,000 subscriptions. He believes YouTube is his future because whilst both enables him to share his life, friends, personality and character, Instagram is only limited to photography. He’ll probably keep uploading for a while yet though.

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Zak’s Hot Tips to get a large Instagram Following:
  • Frequently upload (daily or weekly)
  • Don’t upload too much in one day
  • Have one theme to your account
  • Respond to your followers

Interview by Georgia Curry

You can find Zak on Instagram @ZakHaslebyAdventures