First of all, does calling yourself an "influencer" sound kind of lame to you? Can we find a new word yet? I mean, other than the fact it can have a bad rap in general, it's just a bit stale, and I can't think of a word with less meaning. How about "Partnership Marketer" – no, "Micro Blogger" – k seriously, let me know if you think of one.
As easy as it is for people to reduce influencers to narcissistic producers of "look-at-me" content, anybody with even a morsel of a pulse on modern marketing knows that influencer marketing can be a powerful tool in the world of business and a well paid career choice. Although people still struggle to understand what this modern, alternative career choice consists of, the truth is, brands are leaning toward influencers now more than ever.
Over the years, I've learned a lot as an influencer, and I've boiled it down to 3 life-changing skills.
1. I'm an organized person, people!
You need to be hyper-organized to be any sort of professional content creator. While it seems like I can never find anything in my purse and my cosmetic drawer is often in shambles, I've learned to appreciate my neat and orderly side I've developed over the years. Now, this is a pivotal moment for me since I've always defined my work style as 'organized chaos', to put it nicely. It's been this way my whole life: I can never find my house keys or my cell phone, I get lost easily, nothing is ever where it's supposed to be, and my desktop screen is a mosaic of random screenshots and photos. Turns out, though, I'm actually pretty on the ball when it comes to scheduling, invoices, lists, calendars, emails etc., – it turns out you CAN be creative and organized at the same time – who knew?
With that being said, I absolutely despise admin work and am not above getting administrative help at all. I'm a firm believer in doing what you're good at and passionate about and outsourcing the rest. As a creative professional, people will want to work with you because of your style and end product, not because of your A1 ability to organize spreadsheets and receipts.
2. I'm working while I'm at happy hour.
Oh, another word I dislike: "networking". It just seems so synthetic to me – forced interaction with a bunch of strangers with the end goal of getting something from someone? Not for me. If I meet someone who'd be a great client fit, I'd rather it happen organically, like while I'm sipping on a glass of sauv blanc at my favourite lounge or while I'm sifting through boyfriend jeans at a local boutique. Relationship building is massively essential, not only to acquire clients that could benefit from your services but also for your followers who read your blogs or comment on your photos. Ultimately, the secret behind influencer marketing is the inherent trust we cultivate with the people who follow us and consume our content. Influential influencers of any kind have amassed an audience; steadily built a connection over the years, adding value to their followers' lives; and meticulously replying to comments and DMs. Being a social butterfly kind of comes with the territory.
3. Time off doesn't mean I'm lazy.
So all that relationship building? It's fun, and I love it, but damn does it drain me. As an outgoing introvert, I physically need my alone time to recharge my batteries so I can stay "on" when I need to (which is basically anytime I'm not alone). There's no way I could produce quality work and serve as any sort of brand advocate (or generally nice human being) without my recharging time. I unplug often. I turn my notifications off once a day. I specifically include "self-care" time in my Google calendar. However, it's tough to distinguish between work time and "me time" since part of what I love about "me" time is browsing blogs and playing around online. That's a LOT of screen time, but also a LOT of chances to be pulled back into the black hole of "work". The line is just so dangerously blurry, but I'm hella conscious of it. I've learned exactly what my body, brain and soul need to thrive in, long term. Sometimes that means a lot of snacks and garbage reality TV.
Case in point: there's an emotional toll that comes with being on social media constantly, but the creativity, personal expression and lack of corporate glass ceiling are what intrigue me so much about this arm of marketing. When your entire career is based on Instagram and social media content, it's difficult for others to understand the full story behind that single post. Handling negotiations, monitoring trends, creating tailored content, analyzing metrics and continually reinventing themselves to stand out in a perpetually growing market is a serious feat. If you're looking to make it big in marketing, knowing how to be a social media influencer and tying it into your services is, in my opinion, the way to go. It's absolutely the profession for this decade.
*closes laptop and heads to 13 Pies*
Written by @misstmill
Photos by @tylerbabiy