HOW TO STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF AS AN 'INFLUENCER'
This is actually a topic that I've wanted to address for a long time and it's also something that people ask me in real life as well, so y'know, two birds and all. No matter how long you've been in the 'influencer' market, on whichever platform, you're likely to have experienced this in some capacity. There's often an overwhelming feeling of being torn between wanting to do what makes you money and grows your following, but also constantly wanting to remain true to yourself as an individual and your own personal style.
Unfortunately those things don't always go hand in hand which can make for some tricky business decisions. Now that I'm blogging full time as a profession, I've found it increasingly harder to find the right balance.
I'm hoping that this post will serve as a reminder to myself but also help out any of you who are facing the same predicament.
WHAT I PROMOTE / BRANDS I WORK WITH
Money will always be a big factor in the online community, especially for those like me who have made it their main source of income. It will forever tempt you and make you question whether you want to take that collaboration/project, but I've learnt that it's best to really think about whether it's worth it or not. By that, I mean, does said collaboration have the capacity to wreck your brand image at all? Often, I'm overwhelmed with excitement to work with a particular brand, however, sometimes I just know it's not for me. A massive example being anything to do with suggestive nudity or the like, it's just not my thing. Of course there are days when it takes me a lot longer to come to that decision, especially if there's a nice price attached to a collaboration but, my reputation and image as a blogger and writer is my main priority.
The other priority are my followers. I've been so incredibly lucky to have gained such lovely, supportive and genuine followers and hand on heart, I would never want to cheat them in any way. I know for sure that there are certain topics or products that just wouldn't interest or inspire them, so why on earth would I want to spend my time and effort producing something that I don't think my loyal followers would appreciate? Just seems a touch silly...
Over the last 7 months or so, I've learnt that in order to produce my best work, I have to be passionate about the item or topic. If I don't look at the campaign pitch or research the product and instantly think "f**k yes, this is epic!" then I know that writing a blog post is going to come pretty damn slowly and painfully. And trust me, writers block or lack of inspiration is no fun at all.
A good rule of thumb is; if you wouldn’t buy the product or invest in the brand with your own hard earned money, then don’t work with them. Simple.
I've known and seen a ridiculous amount of bloggers and social media influencers who ditch their initial views or beliefs and turn to 'buying' quick and fake following. Either they use that trick or they partake in the frustrating follow / unfollow game to increase their numbers.
Each to their own I guess, and, naturally, there's going to be some competition within the blogging world and it's often viewed that the more followers you have, the more opportunities you'll receive. However, fake followers are SO. BLOODY. OBVIOUS. Not only to other bloggers but also to the brands themselves.
Personally, I said from the beginning that I wanted to stay authentic and genuine and sure, there are days where I get really frustrated or think that its all a bit pointless but, genuine growth does take time and requires patience. Which I have very little of haha. That aside, even though I'm nowhere near 10k, let alone 100k, what's so nice is to see all the genuine likes and comments on my posts. They fill me with real joy and they make it all worthwhile.
The saying is true after all, if you want something in life, you have to work for it.
THE WAY I LOOK
This is going to sound a little ridiculous considering I post images of myself all over the internet on a regular basis but I've always struggled with my image and how people perceive me. Standard girl problems...
The blogging and Instagram community is saturated with tall, leggy, blonde (and brunette) supermodels and I must admit, sometimes it's very difficult not to compare. There have been more times than I'd like to admit where I've thought about plastic surgery - thanks Dad for the nose, or going on some ridiculous diet to shred a load of weight so that I too can pose around on a yacht in a bikini. However I'm learning more and more that self confidence really is key.
When it's your job and you're putting yourself out there to the whole world, you have to put aside all those niggling feelings and say HEY, I'M FABULOUS JUST THE WAY I AM because if not, your insecurities will show in every single photo. The beauty of us as humans is that we're all different, we each have different quirks and attributes and I'm really trying to embrace mine.
THE WAY I PORTRAY MYSELF ONLINE
Whilst being polished and put together is a massive part of being professional as an online influencer, my god, that can become so tiresome. I personally love it when an influencer has a real chat with their following or posts a real 'behind the scenes' shot or something that's personal to them. We're all human after all.
The biggest compliment I receive from people in regards to this blog is that they say I write just how I speak in real life, and that it's just like I'm having a chat with you all. And to be fair, that is exactly spot on and I hope that comes across to you because I really do try very hard to be myself.
The surest and easiest way to grow a following is to be real and relatable and build genuine connections with the people that take time out of their day to check out your page. You'll need to gain the trust of your audience in order to not only further your brand, but to essentially further your reputation. My tip is to make sure you remain trustworthy, honest and genuine because it'll mean you're automatically more relatable to real viewers.
Basically, BE THE REAL YOU. Show your viewers that you too have bad skin days, cravings for greasy burgers and have days where all you do is lounge (slob) around on the sofa watching Man vs Food and drooling over Adam Richman. Wait the last one might just be me...
P.S. Photos above are taken by the lovely and very talented Holly Baxter.