Advice For The Micro-influencer // Oversized Sweater + Navy Heels
New influencers are popping up left and right, many sliding into my DMs for advice, all with the same goals: to grow a following, to make money, to work with brands, to get invited to events. The desire is there, oh it’s really really there, but what I’ve found severely lacking is the willingness to put in the necessary hard work that the generations of bloggers who paved the way for the industry did before them. I’m far from an OG, but not that far behind because when I started, there was no event scene, I had no blogger friends, I didn’t know bloggers could make money, and I had NO clue what I was doing. Everyone who started back then just had to figure it out. And somehow, we all did.
Now there are resources, entire companies dedicated to running blogger campaigns, daily influencer events... and there’s Instagram which makes it extremely simple to connect with other creatives. There are countless blog posts and YouTube videos out there spilling every “secret” imaginable on how to grow. Yet no matter how many posts get published, the responses are still, “But that’s not working. What else can I do?” As if we’re hiding some magical method that we’re saving for ourselves. So I’m putting all my cards on the table to let you know, there is no secret shortcut. Growth is easier and comes faster for some people, but the journey is the same, so here is my advice for you:
Stop trying to skip steps.
I receive countless messages from bloggers with 5,000 followers or less, asking me why they’re not making money yet or how to start converting. I may as well create a boilerplate because my response never waivers. When you are just starting or even if you’ve been at this Instagram game for years but your following is stagnant, you should not even be thinking about money. You should be focused entirely on building an audience, connecting with your followers, and establishing a voice in the community. Growing a following takes time and commitment. If you’re not up for the long haul and just in it to make a quick buck, I would not recommend this career path for you. The competition is fierce, the industry standards are high, and the amount of hours it takes to manage a blog will probably never equal the compensation, at least until you make it big.
Don’t be so hard on yourself.
Building a following is FRUSTRATING. Believe me, anyone who’s done it wholeheartedly agrees. We all started from zero, after all. So if you’re not growing as fast as you had hoped or if you’re not booking the campaigns you see all your friends getting, cut yourself some slack. There’s enough opportunity for everyone and if you keep pushing, you’ll eventually get there.
Focus on your photography.
This is always my number one tip that almost everyone who asks me for advice seems to ignore. People decide if they want to follow an account in approximately 2 seconds or less. First impressions are everything and the first thing a person sees is your photos. If you’re not willing to invest in photography or learn how to take great iPhone shots, you will probably have a pretty hard time growing. Blurry iPhone photos were completely acceptable when I started, but unfortunately, with the shift in the industry, they are no longer up to standard. I’ve seen plenty of newbie bloggers with killer images too, but I’m clearly only speaking to those bloggers who want to grow without improving their content.
Find your own voice.
It’s great to get inspired by other bloggers, but rather than copy whatever is popular at the moment, try to bring your own creative energy to the space. The best way to stand out is to do something that’s not already being done, whether it’s showing a new angle of a top vacation spot or starting a weekly series.
Recognize the value of relationships.
Relationships make the industry go round. Focus your time and energy on networking and building relationships with PR people. Even the big brands usually only have a small team that works on influencer campaigns, so if you get on their radar, you will instantly have a leg up on your competition.
There is so much more to say, but based on my impressions of the current state of the micro-influencer community, I felt that these were the points that needed addressing. As always, feel free to email me with any questions.
Red, White, And Blue Sweater: H&M
Dark Wash Jeans: Cotton On (c/o)
Navy Heels: M. Gemi (c/o)