If you use Instagram and follow any local businesses, restaurants or semi-famous Akronites, there is a chance you may have come across the Everyday Akron account. If you’re not familiar, Everyday Akron is an Instagram “takeover” account with a different host each week. Anyone with ties to Akron can sign up on the Everyday Akron website to take over the Instagram account for one week. Hosts are encouraged to post photos and share stories of their favorite places, people or other things that make them call Akron home.
The mind behind Everyday Akron is Rachel Whinnery. Although not originally from Akron, you could say Rachel is a big fan of the city and supporting local. She graduated from the University of Akron in 2012 and has lived in Akron full-time since 2013.
After residing in Akron for a few years, Rachel began to notice Twitter and Instagram “takeover” accounts for other cities, including Cleveland and Charlotte, NC.
“I kept thinking Akron needs something like this…someone needs to start this,” she says. She discussed this with a few people who encouraged her to start it herself, so she did.
The account started in April 2016 on Twitter under its former name, Summit Peeks.
“I don’t think Instagram was as popular back then. At the time, it felt like tweeting about your life in Akron would be easier than coming up with a photo and having enough content for Instagram.”
Summit Peeks remained on Twitter for about a year and a half. By that point, signups had started to dwindle and Rachel felt the need to take a break. She put the project on pause in order to reflect and brainstorm ways to improve the account.
Summit Peeks reemerged on Instagram in February 2019. Early on in the reboot, the name Summit Peeks had become trademarked by another group. Rachel decided to rebrand the project in summer 2019, changing the name to Everyday Akron and hiring local artist Lindsey Jo Scott to create a new logo and artwork.
“I don’t know if it was a convergence of Instagram becoming more popular, the rebrand, or people just finally understanding what it was all about, [but] it was a blessing in disguise,” Rachel says. “[Everyday Akron] has been doing better than ever.”
Rachel hosts the Instagram account for a week nearly every quarter. She does this with the goal of answering any questions, encouraging followers to sign up to host, and generating blog post ideas from followers. She last hosted in March of this year, and Everyday Akron seems to have become even more popular since then. Weeks to host are typically filled up to six months in advance, but currently, the next available week to host is in January 2022. Rachel is shocked and pleased to see the increased interest.
Although only coffee mugs and hats are available, Rachel has run merchandise campaigns via Bonfire in the past. Other merch has included sweatshirts, face masks and tote bags. 50 percent of the sales go to a local charity or organization. The two merch campaigns brought donations of nearly $300 to both the Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank and Open Tone Music. If all goes according to plan, there will be another merch campaign this August. Rachel hopes to partner with a local art organization to create limited edition designs, with half of the proceeds going back to the art organization.
Besides the weekly Instagram takeover, there are other ways to get involved and interact with Everyday Akron. The Everyday Akron website includes features on local nonprofits, posts from Rachel with input from Instagram followers such as ”How to Make Friends in a New City as an Adult…During a Pandemic,” and a blog component that Rachel calls #blogpostcard where anyone can submit a guest blog post to share something they love about Akron. Rachel offers this as an alternative to hosting the Instagram account for a week. “Some people are just really intimidated by a whole week of content,” she says.
Rachel argues that everyone has something interesting to share. She has had many people tell her that they are too boring to host Everyday Akron. Then after those same people host, Rachel has found they end up doing a great job. And even she has learned of some new local businesses and hiking trails from Everyday Akron hosts.
One of Rachel’s goals for Everyday Akron is to reach 10,000 followers on Instagram by the end of 2021. But it’s not all about the numbers for her. She wants to promote more diversity, whether that’s in the people hosting, the neighborhoods they’re from, or the content they’re sharing. Overall, she wants Everyday Akron to promote more people-to-people connections. “It’s fun to not only see new places… but also just genuinely meet people,” she says.
You can follow Everyday Akron on Instagram (@everydayakron). You can also sign up to host the Instagram account and learn more about Everyday Akron on the website, everydayakron.com
Melanie Mohler is a West Hill resident with a love for baking, cross-stitch and local history.
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