Ever wonder how people on Instagram gain thousands of followers and seem to create relationships with people from all over the world just by using social media? Last week we covered the industry of influencer marketing, and today, I am sharing an interview I did with a great friend of mine, Alex. Alex is also known as @skinintelligent.x on Instagram. Alex was born in Argentina, raised in Florida, has his MD, and will be moving to New York this summer for his residency. Still, in the middle of all that, he has created an engaged following by being honest and real about skincare and skincare products.
One of my favorite aspects of Alex's Instagram is his honest reviews! Alex helped me with my skin, and to give you some context, I am so low maintenance that I never had a skincare routine before Alex helped me. He gave me three products (yes, you read right, only three!), and my skin cleared up, and it has been better than ever before.
Two things I learned from being a client of Alex's was:
the price tag does not equal quality (most have the same ingredients, but you pay for the brand name)
how many bad ingredients companies use in their products! Why would companies use harmful ingredients in a product that should help my skin? I was shocked, to say the least, that my "healthy" daily sunscreen lotion had so many chemicals and ingredients that were not helping my skin.
Now let's dive into the interview!
Tell us about your career path?
I went to college for chemistry, premed, and psychology and then went onto Podiatry school.
What was your first job?
Jamba Juice in high school.
How did you end up creating a social media following?
One day my friend told me to start posting my skincare products on Instagram which I thought, “Uhm, no one will care.” And so quickly, I started posting, and people were answering me through DM and on comments. Not going to lie, I loved the attention and people reaching out about their skincare regime, and so I started to be “famous.” Hehe.
Has there been a mistake or a misstep in your career journey that is now looking back was a blessing? What did you learn from that experience?
OMG yes. I started at a residency that I did not like at all and had to leave. At first, it was extremely difficult because I was put in a position where I didn’t know where to go. I’m a person that always has plan A, B, C, D.. and in this instance, I didn’t have a plan. I decided that I had to lose a year before applying for residency again, and it’s a year that I’ve learned so so much. Learned not only about life itself but really about me. It sounds too cheesy, but honestly, it definitely positively elevated me.
What’s a typical day for you like?
These days I’ve been studying for my upcoming residency and focusing on Instagram and how to make it fun for me. The second that Instagram becomes boring or “work,” then I stop. I don’t like posting about something I don’t believe in or give into hypes. I am honest, and that’s how this whole thing started, so I want to keep going with how my roots started.
Do you consider yourself an influencer?
Oh man, NO! Like I always think.. what the hell am I influencing? Skincare? Like, yes, it’s cool when I recommend a product to a person, and they love it, and their skin changed for the better - but I don’t feel special or unique in doing that. I’d rather be someone that influences the government or how the health care system works.
What is your best advice for someone wanting to start a social media account?
Be you. It’s tough to identify who you are as a person with life itself, so it is hard to nail it down. But the best part is just having fun with it. Followers & likes will come, so don’t worry about that. And timing. Don’t expect to have so many people follow you in a week. It takes effort and dedication to your niche. This leads me to say, HAVE A NICHE. If you’re all over the place, it will be 10x harder. And ask yourself, why did I start this? If the answer is “because of followers,” then you’re doing it wrong.
What is your best piece of advice to someone looking to start a side hustle?
Network. Talk to people and keep bothering them. You’ll run into tons of No’s, and that’s okay.
Why did you start @skinintelligent.x?
I have extensive medical knowledge of ingredients, and I’ve been doing skincare way before Instagram was a thing. I wanted to make sure that people are using ingredients and products that are good for them. I wanted to make sure that marketing and colors, and packaging didn’t affect a consumer buying a product. I wanted authenticity.
Do you also have a personal IG account, or do you use @skinintelligent.x as a personal and business account?
I use @skintelligent.x for both. If people unfollow me because I posted a picture of the 2020 election, then I say bye bye-bye.
What’s one thing that would surprise us about creating or running a business IG account?
How creative you are!
Best advice for someone just starting their social media account?
Post what YOU think is best in your niche. Don’t be influenced by others on what to post. Just because you see a picture featuring a certain brand gain so many likes, doesn’t mean you should post that same brand. Catch my drift?
Most frequently asked questions by your followers?
What’s the best cleanser for oily skin?
How much time do you devote to @skinintelligent.x?
These days, a pretty substantial amount. I made some good friends through it, so I talk to them a lot. When I start my residency, though, I know it will be a lot less time.
When you think of skincare, what company do you think of?
What has been the biggest lesson you learned about social media?
Do not compare yourself to others. OMG, it was hard to do, but for real, don’t. You do what you are doing and what you are passionate about.
How did you reach out to your first brand/company?
I had like 400 followers, and I was like, why not give it a go to a few different brands. I got about 8 no’s and finally 1, yes, and it’s a company I am still with up to this date, and I love them for seeing me when others didn’t.
How did you grow relationships and partnerships with brands?
I think it’s all about charisma and approach. It’s about building that relationship by talking to them or asking about their products. You can’t always expect to be given something when you haven’t given anything in return. That goes with life itself.
What tools or resources did you use to learn how to run an IG account?
I literally started with no tools. The main help came from other ‘influencers’ that were so gracious to help me. Even now, I shout them out because I wouldn’t have been able to grow without them.
What apps or tools do you use to create content?
Lightroom, Facetune, and the normal photo app on the iPhone.
How does your account different than other skincare accounts?
I see this far more than before, but I would say that if I did not like a product (gifted or not), I would still give my honest (sometimes TOO honest) review.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I would love to have a private practice and help those who don’t have insurance or can’t afford health care. Here is to hoping that by that time, we got our shit sorted out with that. I would also love to start my own brand.
What helped you get to where you are now?
What advice would you give your 20-year old self if you could?
Many things will happen for a reason, and that reason may never be known.
The app on your phone you cannot do without.
Toon Blast. LOVE that game.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Let your haters be your gasoline.
For more with Alex, follow him on Instagram @skinintelligent.x