Follow and engage: Charlottesville’s social media business influencers

Jessica Norby, Destinee Wright, and Ahmad Hawkins. Jessica Norby, Destinee Wright, and Ahmad Hawkins.

The world of social media marketing—particularly Instagram—is increasingly dominated by influencers, individuals who have amassed a sizable social media following, who’ve gained their audience’s trust, and who can sway consumers’ purchases—or even what they think.

Yet many businesses today—and the strategists behind them—are becoming influencers in their own right, with the power to move products, initiate trends, or shape culture. So what are the top social-media tactics that any local biz can use to “influence” and grow business? We asked three strategists—two who help other businesses use social media effectively, and a third who uses social to creatively engage with fans and support his own business endeavors.—Jennifer Pullinger


“However they define consistency is what they should stick to. So whether it’s seven days a week or five days a week or three days a week, it should be consistent week-to-week. That will help them get more brand awareness and start to build that community within their own brand so people get used to seeing their posts.”

—Jessica Norby, social media strategist (


“I think the best bet for increasing traffic to your socials is to have consistent content that provides some sort of value and speaks to your target consumer. You can’t be everything to everyone, so it’s important to position yourself as the authority in your niche and understand who you’re communicating with and what your audiences enjoy seeing from you.”

—Destinee Wright, owner of Destinee Marketing (


“That’s the biggest thing you see with YouTube now–[brands are] starting to team up. Before it was just all competition, a dog-eat-dog type of a scene. Now it’s more collaborative with people working together. It’s basically like a crossover. It’s like, ‘I’m going to use your brand to help me reach your audience’ and then vice versa, so now you come together and lo and behold, you have a bigger audience at the end of the day.”

—Ahmad Hawkins, sports media personality, owner of STHU Juice apparel, and host of “The Ball Hawk Show Podcast” (