How to Become an Influencer: Consistency is King
This is #3 out of a 4 part mini series I've been wanting to share about how anyone can be a Personal Brand and Influencer. You can read about how Authenticity is important and serving a purpose are all pillars of being an Influencer.
Everyone Starts at 0 Likes and Comments
I shared the below slide at a conference I was speaking at about Influencers and photography tips as a visual guide to illustrate that 'success' is just built on years of trial and error:
For me success was never immediate. The first couple years of fashion blogging and photographing the cakes I baked- which at the time seemed extremely weird and narcissistic to the average person- felt very awkward. The only place where I'd advertise a new blog post was on my personal Facebook account:"hi guys I wrote about the trials of finding the perfect red velvet cake recipe!" My blog, at its peak, received 22 comments for a post about a picnic party.
So what do you do when you've tried but haven't gained any traction? Keep doing it and allow people to see it. I find a lot of people stop at the detriment of their personal brand and future career path. Everyone starts with no audience or attention. At the start of 2019, I revamped my LinkedIn and started to write articles not because I want to be head hunted, or to make some fancy connections or for a full time job. I'm actually very happy to be working for my personal brand and as a freelancer. These past few years of being a content provider has made me realize many clients and brands don't understand how Influencers operate, that it's still a largely untapped industry and that we need to address the issues of authenticity in this wild wild west of influencer marketing. I'm here to share and not for the number of likes, comments and views of each article which is of less importance to me thus I won't easily give up writing just because no one is 'engaging' with my content.
Whatever it is that you're doing, consistency is probably one of the biggest factors to succeeding as an Influencer and a personal brand.
Don't Call Me Lucky
Sure, as a photographer, I'm lucky to be living in this era in which influence can be gained through social media and the digital sphere. But I've also had people discount my advice due to the fact that I'm "lucky to have a large follower account" or in more recent years, "lucky to have a boyfriend/photographer who works with you."
Despite the change in circumstances, the truth is that I've always been putting out work and social media can testify to that:
I've had artist friends in the past who ask me, "I want to be hired but I don't have a portfolio because I don't have the clients!" To them, it was a chicken/egg dilemma thus they did nothing and over the years they'd complain about not having anything to show their skills. I literally would tell them, "JUST MAKE SOMETHING TO SHOW PEOPLE." What a lot of people in the creative industry don't understand is that a level of trust needs to be established before he/she can be hired and a brand needs to see work in order to establish any sort of work relationship. Trust me, I cringe at some of the work I've been paid to do for by brands years ago because I myself, as a creator, have developed my own craft since our partnership and if I had to do it again, I would. I've requested hotel brands who I currently work with, if I can revisit and re-shoot the same room because I know where I am today as a creator- through consistently putting out work and tinkering with it- am better than I was yesterday. That saying, "practice makes perfect" should actually be "practice makes better". If you threw out the concept of perfection or even being able to obtain it, this would allow anyone to freely create.
Yes quality matters but if you're looking to build brand, having consistency will automatically push you to improve whatever service or product you're offering to clients. The quality of my work (see above) has vastly changed and developed over that 6 year period of being on Instagram. Seek consistency first and the quality of your work will naturally follow.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and hit me up on my Instagram if this helped you!