Using Instagram’s Platform As a Social Media Influencer – Derek Leung, @Dpleung

As we all know, social media has become an incredible platform for businesses and entrepreneurs. With millions of people using social media daily, all these platforms have become powerful tools in advertising. My good friend, Derek graduated from Hopkins  in 2015 and did not use Instagram as much because he was balancing his finance degree and life. Once he moved back to LA he started utilizing Instagram to capture his style, add genuine content which attracted many other users to collaborate with him. The power of networking also applies in Derek’s story of using social media to grow his interaction with other influencers globally.

The leap and story behind it

” I guess my story is slightly different because I wouldn’t really say I event set goals in the beginning when I started using Instagram to a higher degree. How I saw it then and now is more like an outlet for me to express ideas and visions, for fun – like a hobby. I actually try not to set goals such as trying to reach a certain amount of likes or followers a t a certain time period because I feel like I am putting unnecessary pressure on myself which basically takes the fun out of posting in the first place. The only goal I would say I have is to make sure I continue to have fun doing this instead of feeling like I have to live up to something.

There wasn’t really anything major in my life other than the fact that I had to be better with time management if I wanted to fit in another hobby. Believe it or not, I actually didn’t want to change. The beauty of the Instagram feed is that you can see a timeline of your posts. I see myself changing naturally through the type of content I put out. I can see what I was interested then vs. now. I can even see maybe how I felt about a certain subject at one point and then reflect on how I feel about it now. I never want Instagram itself to change me – I want it to be a tool (almost like a scrapbook) for me to see how I’ve changed over time on my own.

The tipping point/motivators of your life when put into action?

” I really started utilizing my Instagram page when I graduated from college and went back home in LA. In school, I had no time to manage a page and keep up. At home, I feel more comfortable and I feel like I can put out more genuine content. There are a couple pages/people I have to give shout-outs to for being my biggest inspirations/motivators. First would be another Instagram blogger by the username @ldn2hk. His fashion style and posts really paved the way and set a standard that I try to follow. I was following him for a long time before I started posting. The other page is @outfitgrid (ran by @dennistodisco). This page, I would say, is definitely the reason I started posting.

Outfit grid is basically a daily competition where a bunch of people who love fashion post an outfit laid out neatly on the floor and at the end of the day, one user is selected and re-posted on the @outfitgrid page. It was almost like an ego-driven pissing contest between hypebeasts but it undoubtedly created a niche community. Within this community, a lot of these users have become friends and even business connections. Joining this community has been one of the best experiences of my life because I have met so many awesome people all over the world and that to me, has been the dream. Finding people who have the same love as you for fashion and being able to relate and talk about things you can’t really talk to your normal set of friends about is a priceless feeling.”

What changes occurred in your life after taking the leap? Health, wealth, happiness?

“Well one thing is that I am definitely a lot less wealthy. Being on Instagram all day and seeing cool new sneakers or clothes always makes me want stuff, so I end up spending a lot of money (my girlfriend and mom aren’t very happy about that sometimes). I can easily say it has made me happier because I am meeting new people and making new friends all over the world. Like I said before, finding people that can relate to you about a common passion is the best. Overall, this has just been a journey that I am still learning and absorbing from. I’m sure my answer will be different next year but in the meantime, all I can really say is that I feel so appreciative for all the support I have received.”


Instagram: @Dpleung




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