As an influencer these days, there is a constant pressure of producing a steady stream of new high-quality content.
New outfits, new locations, new photos, new angles new, new new. Everything has to be new and unseen before. We bend over backward to amass products and clothing. To find the perfect spot to shoot and sell sell sell.
Honestly, I’m so sick of it. It’s not what I signed up for back in 2007.
I have never wanted to be just a tool for companies to throw loads of products at my followers and see what sticks. It doesn’t feel good. I feel like I’m tricking people to buy more than they need.
And in my world, I’m considered weird for it.
I love blogging, I love creating, I love taking the photos and styling the outfits. I love talking to you guys and sharing my experiences and opinions. What I don’t love is the hysteria of product pushing. I’m constantly bombarded with “advice” on how I should be monetizing social media to make lots of cash. Advice I neither have asked for nor want.
Yes, I do want to make money off what I do. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to afford to create. But I want to do it in a slower and more mindful way.
I don’t want to be a fast influencer that companies use and throw to the side. At the expense of the authenticity of me as a creator.
Sometimes I feel that the industry has sold its soul. It was not meant to be like this. The idea was to create and the selling of any product is meant to be secondary. More as a favor to our followers. You like what I’m wearing/using? Great! You can find it here.
It’s supposed to be fun, not stressful and desperate.
You create the post and monetize later. Not “how can I create a post to sell as much as possible?”. Money shouldn’t be at the forefront of our mind blocking creativity. Unless, of course, it’s a well-chosen collaboration with a brand you truly love and feel is perfect for your followers. And even then it should be more about the relationship than the cash.
I believe in working closely with a few brands whos ethos and products marry strongly with my own. I believe that affiliate links should be as a favor to the follower, not the end goal.
I don’t want my followers to feel that they have to buy loads of stuff to keep up with me. Instead, I want to inspire them to think before they buy. To do a few thoughtful purchases based on an understanding of what they actually need instead of hype. Things they will use over and over again.
I rather show you one scarf styled in 4 different ways, than 4 accessories you probably don’t actually need.
I know it probably sounds crazy since influencing and monetizing social media is a big part of how I make my living. But I just can’t do it any other way.
The key is that I value my content. And I don’t let anyone undervalue what I do. The quick buck can wait. I turn down 75% of all requests I get from companies. Either based on their idea of what my value should be or that the product or ethos doesn’t match mine.
I take pride in what I do and I want companies I work with to be able to be as proud of my work with them as I am. I don’t want to flip flop between whoever pays the most. Instead, I have built a little tribe of brands that truly resonates with me and my followers.
This is the trick to monetizing social media and still feeling good about what I do.
Having been an influencer for well over a decade, I can see where the trend is going. The money-grabbing in the influencer space is starting to turn followers and companies off. It’s up to us to show that there are other ways.
It’s not always about selling (even though that, of course, is a bonus), but sometimes just about creating awareness. To say, hi, this brand is actually really good and I will honestly vouch for them. There need to be better transparency, more honesty and a new understanding from companies how to best utilize influencers.
There are a scary amount of companies out there who goes about it all the wrong way. And to be honest, they won’t see much return. If anything it puts both followers and other influencers off working with them.
A lose-lose-lose situation.
At my new job as head of creative talent at xInfluence I have an opportunity to educate both influencers and companies in the tricky subject that is influencer marketing. I can guide them to collaborate in a more mindful and transparent way. To take a more grown-up and long term route. One that will benefit all involved parties.
It’s simple really. Make the content and the interest of the followers first priority. Create long-lasting relationships. Be honest, true to yourself and slow down. But most of all have fun with it. Dare to be different, seek to inspire and motivate. And don’t forget that your worth is determined by you. There are ways you can be monetizing social media without having to cheapen yourself and diluting your personal brand.