Okay so real talk, I had zero aspirations to be an influencer. Blogger?Absolutely. Writer? Totally. Influencer? That was an accident.
I have always loved to write. Starting to a blog was a natural progression. The moment I hit “Publish” on my first post was one of the most gratifying of my life. Having a dream of blogging full time was a seed planted early on in my blogging career.
Having a page of photos completely dedicated to me and what I find interesting? That is an introvert’s worst nightmare. I’ve gotten used it, but I used hate taking solo photos of myself. So becoming an influencer was not an obvious move for me.
Late to the Insta party
I was so focused on making my blog a success that I missed blogging falling by the wayside and social media presence becoming more important. Brands stopped asking for blog posts and started asking for Instagram coverage instead. So, I continued my blog, but definitely shifted my attention.
At the start of the influencer bubble my low follower count was a problem. I was constantly passed over for opportunities. The truth is, I was very late to game to get a million followers. I was late for 100K. Heck, I’ve been struggling to reach 5000!
I was at an event one time and I met a PR person for the brand. She asked for my Instagram handle. I internally cringed knowing what would happen next. Sure enough, I saw her face literally fall when see pulled up my page.
It was discouraging to say the least. I started doubt what my path should even be. If there’s no place in the influencing world and blogging was one stop away from dead, where do I go from here?
Shift in focus
I decided to stop focusing on my growth and to focus on premium content. I stopped posting just for the sake of posting and made sure everything I shared had value.
The biggest change though? I started to smile. I took a scan of my feed. Every picture my face is straight and quite frankly miserable. I think I was going for editorial, but it looked like I hate my life. By making the simple change of smiling, I made my page more inviting to both followers and brands.
The shift in my aesthetic and perspective has definitely paid off because I am finally getting opportunities that seemed like an impossibility even last year. I would like to say there’s no correlation, but it’s impossible to deny given the timing of everything.
Entering the micro-influencer world
The biggest opportunity that presented itself was to join a network for micro-influencers. It links me with paid opportunities with brands doing campaigns on Instagram. These brands are looking for people just like me rather than influencers with a large following.
Prior to this, I thought “micro-influencer” was a form of self rebranding that people used to make themselves seem more important. Speaking candidly. In reality, brands having become fed up with not seeing a return on their investment with larger influencers have been turning to those will a small following.
Surprise, we have better engagement! I, for example have a higher engagement rate than all of the Kardashian-Jenners. Not a humble brag, just wanted to put it into perspective. For a fraction of what you’d pay a Kardashian, you could get an army of micro-influencers that has more reach.
Your engagement rate, by the way, is the percentage of your followers that are engaging with your posts. It is based on your number of followers, how many comments and likes each picture gets, and how many posts you have. It is not the only factor PR companies use, but it’s a big one!
Micro-influencing is the literal definition of the power of numbers. I may still not be able to sit front row at NYFW and I’ll definitely encounter another PR girl who thinks I am nothing but a spec in the influencer world, but I’m choosing the look past that.
Understanding my worth
I feel sad that Instagram, an app, could ever make me doubt myself. I am frustrated that I ever spent time fretting over my follower count and/or how many likes a picture got. It was silly and superficial.
I have the occasional slips, but I am happy to say I have trained myself to stop stressing over numbers. I know where I stand in the influencer hierarchy, but I have stopped doubting my value. I bring something amazing to the the table.
Ps – I’ll always be a blogger at heart
While brands don’t really see it anymore, I still see the immense value in having a place for people to find inspiration. There’s something that a picture cannot capture and the longest caption cannot achieve. So, Lex Loves Couture is here to stay for as long as my readers will have me!