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!