Three questions for Géraldine Dormoy
Blogger, writter and journalist
Since the early 2000s, Géraldine Dormoy has been passionate about using the Internet to communicate. She made her name with her Café Mode blog, which was launched in 2005 and led to a career in journalism. A true Instagram pioneer with an impressive community of 47.7K subscribers, she’s now an Instagram coach while continuing to work with Marie Claire magazine and writing books. Her most recent book, “L’Âge Bête”, [about her adolescence] has just been published by Robert Laffont. Her mission is to help professionals learn to express themselves on Instagram with sincerity and an authentic approach. Our conversation and her tips follow.
What’s your background?
I’ve always been very interested in communicating via the Internet. I’ve expressed myself online since the beginning of the 2000s, first on forums and then on my blog. During that time I completed a Master’s at the Institut Français de la Mode to expand my knowledge about fashion, an industry that fascinates me. While I was working as a Project Manager in the Marketing Department for L’Express Group, I earned a second degree from the Reims Management School. And then in 2009, thanks to the blog, I became a journalist. The L’Express’ online editorial department had been following my blog posts, and they offered me a job. I spent 10 years with them, first as a fashion journalist and then as a manager for the website’s lifestyle column. I left L’Express in 2019 to become a freelancer.
In 2020 I started working with Marie Claire magazine. Though writing is at the centre of my life, my interest in the Internet and social media remains very strong. I developed a community on Instagram, and people I knew started asking my advice on how to get started and be noticed. A friend suggested I could be a coach, since she had noticed so many people who, for professional reasons, needed to be present on the platform. I started in 2019, helping women entrepreneurs, artisans, and artists. Gradually, I wanted to spread my knowledge to a wider circle, and that’s what prompted me to start my masterclasses. My goal is to help as many people as possible express themselves with greater ease on Instagram.
What’s the main word for good communication on Instagram?
Emotion! Instagram can be a real tool for personal development and not just a vehicle for publicity. There’s no problem with using the platform for self-promotion, but you have to stay as close as possible to who you really are. That happens through photos, texts, and videos that relay emotions. If we’re careful not to get caught in rigid clichés, Instagram can help reveal each person’s uniqueness. And in fact, it’s uniqueness, just like sincerity, that makes the difference. People want authenticity, to speak from one human to another, and to cultivate a real relationship with someone else. Instagram helps create those ties and encourage those values if, of course, we stay as real as possible.
What’s your advice to fashion brands who want to increase visibility on Instagram?
If they want to create a community and get subscribers, the most important thing is to be engaged. They must absolutely be able to start conversations and have personal interactions with followers to create strong ties. That’s also the most effective way to turn subscribers into clients. This engagement happens by using “I” or “we”, since a community likes to know who’s speaking on behalf on the brand. This method lets brands tell stories and share experiences in a more intimate way.
But brands must pay attention to their messages. It’s better for a brand to say what it does rather than what others should do, so it’s important to avoid making rules for others. Instead, showing what happens behind the scenes, telling what goes on day to day, and explaining how products are made will interest fans. There’s no need to try and be perfect, it’s better to be satisfied with being sincere. It doesn’t matter if the brand doesn’t share impeccable images, what’s important is the energy that’s transmitted. What is, however, indispensable is a clear editorial policy and easy-to-understand positioning. What does the brand have to say? What are its values and vision of the world? I also strongly believe in the generosity of social media. We receive according to what we give. If a brand only wants to sell products, the public can tell and won’t want to buy. But if a business shares expertise, knowledge, and positive emotions, subscribers will want to trust it and keep following it. And finally, an Instagram account works better if it’s a central part of the business. It’s only possible to delegate managing the account if its strategy has been determined at the very top.