I want to chat about one of the hottest topics on the planet right now…Influencers!
I’ve been blogging for 6 years (consistently for about 3), and in that time, everything has changed. What started as a fun website to share my favorite outfits, products, and personal pictures became a mini business that has expanded well beyond the walls of this URL. Social sharing platforms went from a cool place to connect to a mandatory business tool…and for many, an actual business.
A few months ago I was reading over a contract for an Instagram collaboration that identified me as “Amanda Bellantoni, Influencer” …and it kind of caught me off guard. Up until that point, I just considered myself a “blogger”? I mean I knew that my blog had taken a back seat to my Instagram and a lot of my energy was being put into video work, but I considered all of that supplemental. I was creating visual content for a wide range of companies outside of the fashion/beauty world and my online presence didn’t really group me into one category. It didn’t scream fashionista, beauty guru, foodie, or lifestyle. It screamed nothing other than…me?
It was then that it clicked that I was in a whole other ball game! Was I an influencer?!
I’m going to be honest, I feel a lot of pressure from that word. Influence. I don’t really like it. Like who the heck am I?! It’s as if I have this leverage, this persuasive ability that I never really sought or asked for?
I’m very aware that I am small beans in this space. I’m definitely on the lower end of the “micro-influencer” scale, but there’s still a sense of responsibility in this world. Many people try to enter the influencer game, quickly realize how difficult it can be to build an organic following, and succumb to buying their way to the top. While followers and likes are often purchased, new tools are making it easier to identify those who are selling out, and more importantly… who’s selling themselves short.
It’s not easy to build an active, loyal, and engaged community — and that’s what makes this new wave of marketing so frightening; some people just don’t have the patience. I want to remind you that you must! You must work for it, you must earn it, that legitimacy is everything. Take the time to build a REAL community, no matter how long.
At the end of the day, all an influencer has is their authenticity and their audience.
It’s really important that my content, my attitude, and my message always appears genuine and real. It’s very easy to be lured by #sponsored opportunities ($$$), but it’s also easy for those opportunities to tarnish your credibility. Unfortunately, even when you truly love a brand, they can be restrictive when it comes to creative freedom, and sometimes that’s just part of the job. I always weigh their requests with my ability to create something that’ll flow naturally and be well received. I’ve become ridiculously selective about the campaigns and brands that I agree to work with because if I don’t, it gets to a point …where there’s no point.
I love listening to The Influencer Podcast produced by the talented Julie Solomon and at the end of every interview she asks “What does influence mean to you?” I love hearing the different answers and it always gets my wheels spinning wondering what I’d say. I suppose to me, influence means opportunity. It means having the ability to connect with people in all different ways, on all different levels. It’s a two way street and I believe that I receive just as much value from this community and these relationships as I give. This year, I’ve made it a goal of mine to take this work offline and into the community, I really want to do more.
Crop-top [TOBI – exact here] // Pants [very similar from Calvin Klein here & Old Navy here] // Eyes [PROFUSION: palette here] // Lip [MAC “Nice ‘N’ Spicy” liner & Bare Minerals Gen Nude Matte “Swag”]
It’s a truly beautiful and bizarre world that we live in today. Can people seriously make a living, and more importantly, a difference, by creating fun content and just being themselves?! The answer is YES!
It’s certainly not for everyone, but personally…I’m not sure I could think of a more desirable position. 🙂
What are your thoughts on Influencers? Be honest!
You are so right. That word is so odd. It’s weird to think that you have an influence on people you’ve never met and don’t actually know you (well, more than you’re willing to share, of course). I’ve been on and of blogging for years, but have only been consistently blogging for about a year and a few months. It’s crazy to think that there are people who have followed me from the beginning of my journey and a whole bunch others that have joined my lil following recently! Like you said organically growing a blog is tough, but it’s so so rewarding! Keep doing you Amanda, cause you’re just such a sweet and genuine person, and that for sure is something to be admired 🙂 xxx
Melina | http://www.ivefoundwaldo.com
SUCH a weird word, right?! It makes me really uncomfortable, I couldn’t imagine introducing myself as an “Influencer” …so strange. But as a fellow blogger, you totally know the deal! It’s crazy how people try to buy their way – I’d feel like such a fraud! I mean, if you’re charging a brand based on fake numbers, it essentially is fraud. When I agree to a collaboration…especially with a smaller business, I want them to see a return on their investment in me. I would feel awful if nobody clicked over to their site or zero purchases were made. It’s nice when your community trusts you and has your back! Thank you so much for reading, your kind words, and your support Melina. Mwah!! 🙂 XOXOXO
Thank you for being selective and marketing products and services you care about because I often wonder with this profession if people are making money in things they don’t really believe in. It didn’t occur to me that some people may but their way to the top. I appreciate your authenticity and integrity. You are the real deal! Good read.
Does this mean I’m an influence-ee? 😉
Keep up the good work!
Aw thanks Laurie! You’re so funny…an infuence-ee LOL! I’m one of them too, there are tons of people I follow and take their word for — how did we all become these people?! It’s an interesting world for sure, I definitely did some things in the past I wouldn’t do again. Nothing horrific, but things I wasn’t 100% in love with. Being more selective has been well worth it and makes the right opportunities that much more exciting. I appreciate you reading & supporting!! I hope you’re doing well! :):) XOXO
I love that word! Actually it was in a book I was reading last night. But I see your point. I think it depends on how it’s being used. You were meant to be a light in the darkness dear. Go shine!! <3