What it Takes To Become An Influencer
Have you ever wondered what it takes to become an Influencer? Or maybe you think they shouldn’t even exist. I’m here to share the last five years with you in hopes that it might shed some light on how things look behind the pretty photos and high followings and maybe a different perspective on what “Influencer” actually means.
How It Started
I started my blog in 2015 before Instagram was widely used. I wanted a place that I could post my DIY’s and home projects as my Facebook feed was getting too bulked down and I felt like I was annoying my friends & family.
In early 2016 I decided that I wanted to take my blog a little more seriously and I switched over to WordPress.Org. I professionally designed my blog and I put hours and hours in a day. I remember those days were long. I had a 5, 4 and 1-year-old and every single waking minute I had, I was working on SEO, blogs, styling, DIY’s, shooting, creating content and wiping butts in between It all. I felt like I was always on the computer. I was drained. But it was also so rewarding.
In mid-2016 I was contacted by my first brand – Crate and Barrel Kids!!! I didn’t even know that was a “thing” and I immediately took the partnership on. I didn’t have any other social media other than a blog with approximately 130,000 monthly views. The partnership was for a 1,500 dollar credit to shop Crate and Barrel Kids ( now known as Crate Kids ). I was floored. A huge brand like this wanted to work with me, how was that even possible?!
From that first brand contacting me, it just propelled me to put more hours in and work harder.
To some, blogging might seem like something you might do in your free time, but if you really want to go anywhere with your blog, the behind the scenes is exhausting. Anyone who has tried to create a worthwhile blog will know it’s hard and you put more hours in than an actual job! At least, I did.
By the end of 2016, I had worked with Rugs USA, Crate and Barrel, Beddy’s and Urban Walls to speak of a few.
I had been published by Ana White, Roque Engineer, HGTV, Apartment Therapy and many other publications.
I pushed myself into overdrive so hard that November 5th, 2016 I had a late-term miscarriage and lost our sweet Nolan. With three healthy full term pregnancies behind me, I could only contribute it to working myself so hard and stress.
Then in December 2016, I lost my Nana that I was very close with. The same day she passed was the day I started my Instagram account. I prayed over it and have posted almost every day since.
The reason I share the turbulence from the 2016 was to show you how I didn’t give up. Even though I had depression, I had lost our baby and my Nana I kept pushing. If you want something bad enough, do not let anything stop you.
It’s been four years of posting consistently on Instagram, sharing my struggles and joys and showing up every single day.
There has been more times than not that I’ve wanted to quit.
In 2017 after we had to shut down our business, there was a hate group created about us and every time I posted or blogged they would make fun of me and pick everything I said apart. But I pushed through it all
Do not let any circumstance derail you from something you love.
Nothing in life comes easy and Instagram is the same. You cannot get a following if you’re not willing to put in the work.
Now first, before we dive into what it takes to become an Influencer know this:
- Your friends and family won’t take you seriously
- They probably won’t read your blog
- They won’t share you but might expect it in return
- The world probably won’t recognize your job as an actual job, even though most worldwide brands are now turning to influencer marketing over commercials, radio and ads.
- You will put in way too many hours at first for nothing in return. No paid jobs, no recognition
- You will want to quit your accounts almost daily for years
- You will be discouraged by the numbers.
- You will hear “No” more than “Yes”
- You will be made fun of
- You will have your photos stolen without credit. Hundreds, if not, thousands of times
- You will have your share of “trolls”
- You will probably say or do something wrong every day
- You will most likely put in way more hours in than an actual “job”.
- But you will be so thankful that you started your social accounts because one day, it could be the biggest blessing.
If you’re here to dive more into number 14, I got you.
What It Takes To Become An Influencer
First and foremost let me say that I hate the term “Influencer”. I hate that what I do is coined “Influencer”. I worked so hard for the modest followings that I do have and I prefer the term “Content Creator”.
You first must develop a thick skin. 99% of my followers are so kind and I think I’ve created such a loving and supported community of like minded women, but I have had my fair share of trolls. You have to learn that what a stranger on the internet says about you, your character or your work holds no weight. I’ve learned to “bless and block” and move on.
In the beginning you might not notice any negativity, but over time your account will grow and let me tell you, everyone has an opinion!
How I Grew My Instagram Account
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let me share how I grew my Instagram account. Last December I wrote a blog, here that talk about the beginning growth, but I’m here to share how I’ve grown over 24,000 since February! ( which is just over 8 months ) with no loop giveaways or bought followers. Just good ol’ organic growth!
In the beginning, I didn’t know what I was doing on Instagram, but it didn’t really seem to matter, you still grew and people still saw your content. It wasn’t until June 2019 that things really hit the fan. I was stuck at 32,000 followers and NO ONE was seeing my content. My numbers dropped, my following dropped and I wanted to give up Instagram.
Well boy am I SO GLAD I didn’t listen to that voice that often wanted to show its ugly head, because I’ve doubled my following in just over a year and here’s how.
I know you hear it often, but consistency is key. It truly is. In whatever you do. Until you actually show up, do the work and put in the time you WILL NOT GROW.
You cannot grow by showing up once a week.
You cannot grow by buying followers
You cannot grow from buying into loop giveaways.
You have to do the work and do the work to be SEEN.
When the algorithm completely went into the shitter back in June 2019 I decided to make a ton of changes in how I did things, but it took me a really long time to realize what Instagram REALLY valued.
They value YOU SPENDING TIME ON THEIR APP.
-Engaging with your following and people you follow
–Responding to your comments and messages.
–Actually being present on the app.
Until I realized this, my engagement was absolute crap and I wasn’t growing.
In March 2020 I really decided to start engaging for 20-30 minutes before I post. So how that looks for me is going through my newsfeed for 15 minutes and commenting and liking on everyone’s posts. Then I go through my photos and go and engage on accounts that engaged with me. I also like to engage on hashtags as well. If you use hashtags, you should be doing this.
Once I post, I’m usually on the app for a good hour. Are you sensing a theme? It’s not post and walk away… it takes time to build a following.
When I post I make sure I’m available to comment and engage back right away. This helps boost your post and it helps people want to come back to connect. Who would want to come back and engage on your content if you never acknowledge them?? I sure wouldn’t!
Now that I’m just shy of 67,000 followers I do get a few hundred messages a day too! I try to spend a good chunk of time each day going through them, but I never get to them all – and that’s okay.
The next thing I did to double my following in the last year was to realize that you need to offer your followers value.
In my personal experience, people want to be catered to. They want to learn how to do a cool DIY, they want to learn something new. Maybe they’re coming on social media to laugh or be inspired – regardless, they want something.
Create saveable and shareable content to get yourself in front of new eyeballs. This not only boosts your engagement rate but also your following.
When you learn to give, your growth will follow.
What Does Your Typical Day Look Like?
I’m really lucky as my husband is a full time stay-at-home Dad. Since Covid hit, we made the choice to homeschool our kids, so we really have no schedule.
I typically get up around 8/8:30 and drink my coffee. I answer work emails as soon as I get up.
I typically answer emails, send invoices and work on SEO until 11-ish, then I start cleaning my house so I can style it for either a blog or content creation.
Content Creation is a massive part of our life as it’s how we make a living. Brands hire me to promote their product or brand. It’s such an incredibly fun job but can be stressful if you’re working on a tight deadline.
For content creation, I have to prep or style a space and the product. Then we shoot content for it. Once that is done I edit it all, create captions and content through blogs, Instagram, Pinterest and Tiktok and then send it to the brand for review/approval. A lot of the time brands come back needing revisions and I make those and send it back.
Finally, the content gets to be posted a few weeks after production!
Anyways, back to my day ( sorry if this blog is all over the place, there’s SO much to say )
Once I’ve shot photos and edited the photos the day is almost over. I normally jump in emails for another hour to answer more, read and sign contracts and do blog work. I usually stop working around 5/5:30 ( but not for the day )
When the kids go to bed I normally pull out my computer again and work on marketing my socials and sharing them. I work on pinning pictures, blogs and my email marketing.
This job takes up so much of our life – but it’s also so fulfilling and so fun. It’s my dream job!
Still to this day I don’t think most people understand what I do or think it’s even a job. It can be hurtful when you’ve put so many years and hours in, but you can’t do it for others, you have to do it for yourself.
At the end of the day, I’m so proud of what I’ve accomplished on my socials and the incredible brands that have put their trust in me.
I’ve now worked with hundreds of brands over the years that continue to hire me and I am in love with what I get to do for a living.
If you have any questions about anything that I didn’t talk about, please leave a comment!