(Influencer anxiety awareness alert!!! -Sometimes the exhaustion just hits you but your mind is so busy you can’t sleep. But I have to say it’s been a good week overall! I wrote this late one night when I couldn’t sleep.) Let me tell you how I became an influencer……
The background is a little bit dark but I was in a church that stifled and oppressed me. As women, we were not permitted to ask questions, speak, or preach. In essence, we were silenced and our gifts snuffed out. I turned to social media to speak out and speak truthfully and reveal my authentic self. Next thing I knew I was being invited to collaborate with brands and promote businesses in Durban and discovered I loved doing that and just dived into the deep end of a world I was only just discovering.
9 reasons I don’t always consider myself an influencer
1. Firstly, I am not your stereotypical influencer because I don’t put myself in that category. I see myself as a writer. A content creator A blogger. I accidentally fell into the influencer space…..let me add, that I’m awful at videos, Facebook lives and such, but I try. I’m stronger in the writing space and that’s where I feel comfortable so stick with what you know hey?
2. There is a lack of diversity I’ve seen regarding influencers. I’ve also seen unkindness. I’m not up for that. We should be supporting one another. There is enough room for everyone. It’s not everywhere but it’s a thing! I would like to see different faces and new faces.
3. I’m not a ‘stuff’ person. I never say yes to product drops….wait! unless you want to send me food. Always up for that… And Wine! Now that’s a product drop I can push! If I do promote products, it has to be stuff I believe in!
4. My followers /follow ratio apparently isn’t correct.???…look I do audit my account every now and then but it’s not a priority in my life, seriously!
5. I take too many selfies! One PR guy actually told me it’s weird, then in the same breath says, you must be you and be authentic!? Um… Ok
Don’t you like my 80’s hair selfie PR guy???
6. I do say yes to events because I love them but then anxiety presents itself. I over-compensate and talk too much then the peeps think I’m a crazy stalker chick, haha… Or they love me, we find out later. One thing about being crazy, it makes you memorable!
7. I’ve yet to figure out the travel blogging space! Gosh, some people just get that so right! Like my friend from African Travel Bird!!! (Go follow her, her blog is amazing) I have a bit of that on my blog but,? Needs work. I am going to the African Tourism Indaba next week to connect and learn!
8. Instagram is where it’s at, and I’m still into my actual blog writing about real people and stories. Just when I mastered Instagram, I learned that Tik Tok is the ‘fire'(new Gen Z slang word for cool)… GUYS! TikTok is tough. So much stuff to create, but too little time! I may be addicted but so bad at it! Haha
9. Lastly, I may swear too much for people’s liking. But I’m more Gangster than ‘Stepford wife’ so I’ll just keep being me thanks.
Are you an influencer?
Am I an influencer?
As much as I hate the word, despite 9 reasons that I think I am not and much to the PR guy’s dismay I have become an influencer. I have had to accept this. I have a following and a responsibility to that following. My loyal readership sends me DMs, WhatsApp messages and emails thanking me for my content or telling me how it helped them in some way. I love receiving messages from people who can relate to my struggles and wins. I hope that I leave a positive imprint in some way.
Work with whom you align with
Now whether Brands choose to work with me is irrelevant, whatever I write or review has some kind of sway over my readers. I only work with brands I truly love or see value in and vice versa, Brands who believe in me will work with me too. I do not want to work with anyone who does not see my value add!
What makes an influencer an influencer?
Good audience engagement
Consistent interesting content creation
Established, loyal followers
Clear brand identity
Eagre to adapt to ever-changing trends
We get asked this a lot! I mean a lot a lot!!!!
Please stop asking bloggers/writers and influencers to “ Just share a post” for you. Like other creatives such as musicians, we do not offer our craft for free. If we do, it is entirely of our choosing and usually with people we have built strong networking relationships with. It is give and take not just take. I cannot tell you how many requests I get in my inbox asking me for favours.
I know I speak for all of us when I say we do try our best to support local businesses where we can. It is just plain rude to expect it to be done at no cost. You obviously saw our platform is good and that is why you sought to contact us. These websites and platforms have taken a lot of behind-the-scenes work, a lot of blood sweat and tears, a shitload of networking, and not to mention years of skill and knowledge of marketing and social media.
“Collaborations are like a dance, you have to be in sync together to achieve something beautiful and sometimes the partners do just not match up.”
This is also why I am a cool influencer! I come up with sh*t like this
True collaborations give and take
Not everybody understands influencer marketing! They think they are the only ones sending us a message but honey, we get loads of requests we have to turn down. I thought this was common sense but I realised it is not. People do not understand and get offended if we do. not post for them as if they are owed something. Collaborations are born out of relationships and trust.
I recently posted for a chilli brand I do support. Only for someone to hijack my post and post their friend’s chilli business. I had to delete it because it was a conflict for me. This brand then proceeded to message me, telling me that a friend said that I would post their content for them. I was shocked at the sheer audacity and had to once again explain that I can post at a cost but this particular product was in conflict with one I was already promoting.
This can go the other way where influencers take advantage of brands too. Please just stop taking advantage of other people’s full stop. Always look at how to mutually benefit or collaborate and work together somehow. Collaborations are like a dance, you have to be in sync together to achieve something beautiful and sometimes the partners do just not match up.
Proud to be an influencer
Some of the best things in life happen by accident. When I was first invited along with the 20-something make-up models to events I had a severe case of imposter syndrome wondering how on earth I ended up there! As fun and exciting as these events are, I soon realised what I loved more than being a socialite was connecting with people, hearing their stories and sharing my passions and experiences to truly inspire them in return. Even though we may have to work with PR Companies, don’t let them box you into the mould they want you to be. Stay true to yourself. Be authentically you and the right people will come to you.
Love and light.
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