Hello! My name is Raphaela, otherwise known as Social Raph. Welcome to my website!
In 2018, I decided to build my own website as a way to express and share things about my life: my dreams and aspirations, thoughts, advice, passions, and everything else that this beautiful life has to offer. This is as real as it gets, and I promise to always be 110% authentic.
If you’re new to my life, hello! Here are some general facts about me: I am 23 years old, living right outside the beautiful city of Boston. I graduated from Assumption College with a bachelor’s in Business. I’m a first-generation college graduate, which has made me and my family extremely proud. Throughout college, I have experience working in various fields such as social media marketing, digital marketing, traditional marketing, Facebook/Instagram advertising, and market research.
Now you get why I pretty much live, breathe, and eat social media, right? This is what led to the creation of Social Raph!
In my spare time, I read books and take pictures. Education is something that I take very seriously. My goal is to learn something new every single day. I guess this stems from my career. Photography is something I’m extremely passionate about. When I think about photographing something, I have a vision for the way that I want it captured and edited. Everything good comes from vision and strategy.
I fluently speak 3 languages: English, Romanian, and Albanian. Throughout high school and college, I studied Latin Honors, so technically I know 4 languages, but sadly it’s a dead language…
I’m a city girl. Words cannot describe how much I love the rush of the city. There’s something about it that invigorates me. It makes me feel like I’m home. Manhattan and Boston have my heart, but the ocean has my soul. I’m convinced that there’s a gravitational pull when it comes to me and the sea. The ocean has a significant way of soothing your mind and body. The balance between these two has always kept me grounded.
When I’m not traveling, taking photos, or reading a book, you can find me helping out at my family’s business! http://www.bageltimeusa.com
I have also started taking clients for social management and content creation! A passion project of mine that started a couple of years ago. If you or someone you know wants to connect with me on this topic, please do not hesitate to reach out! I could spend hours talking about this.
There you have it. Everything (mostly) that there is to know about me. Thank you for sticking around and taking the time to read this post! I’m thankful for all my friends and family for giving me that extra push. Words can’t even begin to describe how extremely excited I am for this journey ahead, and I hope that you’re ready to be a part of it, too.
“Focus on how to be social, not on how to do social.”
In light of the chaotic commotion that we’ve recently heard of, I’ve decided that it was time to talk about things. Things meaning social media, which has unfortunately taken over our entire lives now. Instagram is changing. AGAIN. So, now what?
You’ve probably heard this at least several times this week, “the algorithm is changing”, “my engagement is down this week”, “no one is liking my pictures anymore!”
*cue the dramatic eye roll*
It’s my understanding that many people are frustrated and stressed about the new changes, but to be honest, I’m actually excited about it! These changes are good. Very good. The idea to write this post actually sparked from everyone complaining about Instagram changing the algorithm (again), removing likes, and so much more. What’s more interesting to me is that I have not seen yet one person who is in favor of this change.
When I first found out about Instagram completely removing likes from our feed, I was shocked. I mean, Instagram is all about likes, right? It’s specifically geared towards likes, comments, reach, impressions, and more. You know, the numbers part of it all. That’s the way that this platform has always been about from the very start, but it started to take an odd twist after we were introduced to this new, insane “influencer” world we now live in. I think that’s when and where we started to lose ourselves. It’s when we started obsessing over numbers. Why are we so obsessed over numbers? We fell into the pressure of reaching immeasurable standards. I think we tried to be perfect. We needed to take the perfect photos, have the perfect feed, wear the perfect clothes, ultimately losing a piece of ourselves. We tried to chase something that does not exist.
I truly believe that we got way too caught up in chasing likes and followers, which is contradicting to what most Instagrammers preach. That will never help grow your personal brand to the extent of what it should be. Instead, we should focus on what will attract our audience. The power of attraction will always be a better growth strategy for you than chasing something that doesn’t exist.
Since the beloved platform that we all know and love (sometimes hate) is changing, I want to leave you all with a piece of advice that I hope you’ll remember whenever you feel frustrated about your engagement:
Do not strive to become perfect. Instead, think about what do you love to do. What are your core beliefs and values? What are your dreams and aspirations in life? Use the answers to those questions to help guide you in building a more successful, real platform.
This is why I am in favor of Instagram changing.
We need to start living. Living outside of the digital world. Instagram and other social platforms are supposed to be fun! Not stressful, frustrating, depressing, or mentally exhausting. We should never allow a social media platform to make us feel bad about our selfie for not reaching over 1,000 likes. We ultimately have lost the purpose of why we use this platform. Social media should never dictate anything in your life. Not your emotions. Not your mental health. Anything. You are the captain now.
I think it’s important to be who you are. We should be grateful to have these platforms to which we can use to express our creativity, passions, and hobbies! Use it for the greater good. Use it to post meaningful and inspiring content that will attract people. That is how you grow; through the power of attraction.
We need to start changing for the better. Change the way we use social media. Demonstrate to others that there is more to life than obsessing over likes, fake influencers, and meaningless content.
I’m excited for us as creatives to push out a better version of ourselves. This new change should challenge you. It should feel uncomfortable, but that’s okay because nothing good came from our comfort zones anyway.
This change should feel like a breath of fresh air. This is your chance to start over and reinvent yourself! Spread your creative wings and learn how to fly. You’ll fall a couple of times, but use the spark and drive that you have within to push yourself forward. Be consistent and most importantly, be yourself.
Find your passion. Fall in love with the process that will take you to where you desire to be. Follow your heart and most importantly, do what makes YOU happy.
Okay, so what’s the deal with Social Raph? Who is she?
Allow me to introduce myself. Social Raph has exquisitely turned into a personal brand that has stemmed from my dreams, passions, and commitment to better myself and my future every single day.
Let’s start from the beginning:
I decided to create Social Raph in 2018: the start of my career. I graduated from college in May and officially started a full-time job in marketing/social media all in the same week. Social media became a very important part of my life a couple of years ago when I took over the entire marketing operation for my family’s business, Bagel Time. It’s painful and shocking to imagine a business with no social media presence, but a couple of years ago, that business was Bagel Time. We were not active on Instagram or Facebook. We had a website that was built in the ’90s. Everything about it was horrifying. Nonetheless, I was a business student in college where I realized that I needed to take the initiative of creating a social media presence for the sake of the business. I vividly remember our Instagram page had about 350 followers in 2015. By religiously working at the store on the weekends, I started to take pictures of bagels, breakfast and lunch sandwiches, catering platters, homemade pastries, sharing our family story, etc and uploaded everything to our page. This is how I began to recognize the power and potential of social media. Little did I know that this was the birth of Social Raph.
My family and friends call me Raph. Social media is my life, so I just put the two together. Social Raph.
I started to fall in love with the process and responsibility of portraying a brand on social media. That doesn’t sound very enticing, but for me, it meant something more. My mind suddenly started to fall down a rabbit hole and then I began to wonder about the endless possibilities and opportunities that can arise; where and how you can take things to the next level. I envisioned something greater for Bagel Time, especially since my family owns it. The amount of hard work that goes into this business is remarkable, and that was the fire that ignited within me. I wanted to keep growing the Instagram page. I taught myself WordPress and completely re-designed our website. I took Facebook Business courses and started a new business page. I read countless business/entrepreneurship books. I took everything that I learned from college and my amazing business professors and poured all that knowledge into the business.
To my surprise, the business grew so, so much. (4 years later, our page is almost at 2,000 followers and our sales tripled.)
Aside from the business, I created a personal Instagram account in 2017. It was completely dedicated to photography. I love, love, LOVE taking pictures. My favorite thing to do after taking a million pictures of the sunset at the beach is going home and editing that one perfect shot. I use VSCO for all my filters, but I recently taught myself how to use Adobe Lightroom and I absolutely love it. Editing your photos and watching it come to life is not only the best part after a photo shoot, but it’s incredibly rewarding and satisfying. To even make it official, my boyfriend bought me a professional camera for my 21st birthday. I’m blessed to have a partner who supports my dreams and pushes me to be a better person than who I was yesterday. That’s true love. (fun fact: my boyfriend is now the one behind the camera, who’s the photographer now?)
What started out as a hobby, turned into a lifestyle. Rzzreative, my current Instagram account is how I transformed my passion for photography into a unique and creative way of expressing myself through the eyes of beauty, fashion, business, and so much more. Most importantly, it’s where I get to be myself. The real and raw Raph.
Instagram can be a beautiful platform if you really want to use it for something greater. From the aesthetics, to strategically planning your photos, to working with your dream brands, to analytics, to advertising, etc. I truly love everything about it.
I have connected and met really amazing people who are also extremely talented and creative. Some of them have even turned into my best friends. With that being said, we need to ALWAYS support and lift each other up. We should never criticize, judge, or put down one another. Please continue pursuing your dreams day by day. Success does not happen overnight. I know that we all have the desire to start something that we love, and I’m here to tell you to DO THAT. Life is too short for mediocrity. Find your passion, perfect your craft, and watch your dreams become a reality. What makes you happy? What sparks a tiny fire inside you?
I’m amazed at how many messages I receive asking for insight on starting a website, a side-business, or interpreting analytics. My desire for Social Raph is that it can turn into a tool for others to use when they need a push. I want to answer all your burning questions about marketing, social media, photography, WordPress, blogging, FB/IG ads, starting a personal brand, literally anything! The world is your oyster. Use all the crucial resources around you to become better, smarter, and wiser. I want to leave you feeling inspired and motivated. We’re all in this together!!
Chances are if you’re reading this post, you already follow me on social media. Please feel free to reach out to me via email or DM to collab or talk about your goals and dreams! We may just end up doing a photo shoot for our own pages 😉 No, but seriously, if you live in New England, let’s schedule a coffee date. We can get drinks too, where are all my wine lovers at?
My boyfriend lives in New York so, I’m usually in New York every other weekend! To all my NYC and NJ babes, I’m ALWAYS up for a brunch/photo shoot date in the city!
And that my friends, is the story behind Social Raph. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your continued love and support. I’m in awe every day reading your kind words. LOVE YOU ALL.