I have started writing this blog post so many times and each time I had to stop and cut back and cut down because there is honestly SO MUCH ground to cover and so much information I want to pass on.
So, I’ve decided to do a series of these posts instead of just one long post. The world of social media marketing, affiliate programs, and PR kits is BIG. And I’ve only barely scratched the surface myself! But, I have learned a few things, so if you’re considering the jump to becoming an influencer full or part time (or just for fun!), I hope this series will answer some questions you may have on how to get started on this journey.
First off, you may be wondering what qualifies me to offer this insight. Well, for one thing I’ve been building my brand and social media presence for the last year. There are others out there who have been at this longer and have a much larger following. Their insight will be different than mine. But, maybe you’re not trying to look that far ahead. If you just want a few basics on how to get started, just to see if it fits your lifestyle, then I’m here to help.
So, a little backstory is in order. I started uploading makeup photos to my Instagram account, @TamaraCanup, in October 2016. Exactly a year ago! I didn’t know anything about makeup and saw the thriving beauty community on Instagram as a way to learn the basics. And I was rough.
Here, I’ll show you a picture from my early days of Instagram makeup:
I had no idea what I was doing. I was honestly just winging it…and the wings never looked great. But, I kept at it. And eventually…I improved.
Can you spot a few subtle differences? I can. And all it took was practice, persistence, and HUMILITY. That last one is important.
From day one I was upfront about what I wanted and who I was. I let people know that I was a beginner and I just wanted to meet other people and learn from them. And over time I not only got better, but my audience grew. I now have almost 3500 followers on Instagram. I started at 76 followers a year ago. I’ve had the honor of working with about a dozen different brands and I’ve been honored with becoming an Ambassador with one organization, and additionally an Affiliate with a well respected subscription box company.
The thing is though, I don’t think people followed me back then, or follow me now, because of my skills, (or lack thereof). I believe they follow me because of who I am and how I’m not afraid to be vulnerable and open. Sometimes in life we tell ourselves that people will judge us if they see our flaws, and yes, some will. But so many others won’t. They will see you where you are and respect your courage to be there. And that’s what creates real engagement and real relationships.
So, if you’re going to start this journey, ask yourself something: are you ready to offer something unique, authentic, and one of a kind? (Basically, yourself…as you are.) Or are you going to be just another sleek and shiny, holding everything together, Instagram-perfect plastic doll?
Make the decision now before you move forward and before you read anything else. Because I’ll be honest with you: I’m not going to teach you how to fake it. If you’re looking for that, close this tab and look elsewhere.
I want you to understand that choosing to go the route of being fake might bring you a lot of carefully curated success, but it just isn’t the kind of success that’s long-term. We live in a day and age where everything always looks so perfect so we don’t trust any of it. We might get hooked on the shiny new pet Influencer for a few months, but if YouTube fame has taught us anything, the fake narrative just doesn’t last.
People grow weary of watching someone constantly faking happiness and togetherness. And sadly, people also enjoy watching those who have put on the perfect exterior crack under the pressure of everyday life. Humans just love watching other humans fall apart. But, it’s because we crave authenticity. And we keep coming back for it. So, you might as well be real from the jump.
It’s a tale of the tortoise and the hare all over again. Getting success faster doesn’t necessarily mean retaining that success in the long run. So, choose carefully who you want to be: real…or not?
And that’s where I’ll leave you today. I know, I know, I haven’t actually told you ANYTHING yet! But, I will. I want to make sure I dedicate time to each question I’ve been asked by friends and followers this past year. But before I do I also want to make sure you know what you’re getting into.
I need you to do something for me. Can you ask yourself the following questions and have your answers carved into your heart by my next post, “Making The Leap: Why Are You Here?”
1. Why do you want to be an Influencer?
2. What is your best case scenario (success, fame, wealth, ect.)?
3. What’s the worst case scenario (lack of those things above) and can you cope with that?
4. What is your brand/what do you think you can offer?
5. What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses?
Think about these things. It might help to write them down somewhere. As your mind contemplates the answers those same answers might change or transform over the next week or month or even year. (Mine have!) But either way, work those things out before you read the next post because we’re going to jump right in, head first, next week.
I’m really looking forward to going on this journey with you. Here’s to learning about each other and the road ahead!