As someone who has been blogging for over 10 years, I’ve seen and been a part of some really cool initiatives between influencers and brands. I’ve listened to endless podcasts and read dozens of blog posts telling me what kind of influencer I am, how to work with brands, what PR people are looking for, and how to grow my following.
Lately, it seems like no matter where you look online, you will find an article or a video telling you how to grow your following and that you need to have X number of followers to work with brands.
You see these things and you sit there and pull up your own numbers and question EVERYTHING. There are no guides, there’s no industry standard to smooth the process, so when we see these diagrams and visual representations of “what level of influencer are you?”, we instantly doubt ourselves. Sometimes, we doubt ourselves our ability to connect with others that we turn to practices that aren’t favorable. Yes, I’m talking about loop giveaways and follow services. I will also be completely transparent with you and say that I’ve doubted myself and fell down this hole. Why aren’t these favorable? Well, if we could follow the life-cycle of a follower from one of those services or a giveaway, we’d most likely see that they just don’t care. Oh, you’re giving away $500 to Target? Hell yes, I’ll follow you – but only because I want that money. I don’t care about your blog, or your ability to help me organize the chaos of my home, or that you are hilarious and on my darkest days I could find a shimmer of happiness in your posts. I just want that prize.
Stop doubting yourself. You are more than that number. Again, as someone who has been blogging for 10 years, I know that while I might X followers on a platform, the backend analytics show me the truth and show me who cares enough to click or tap a reaction. I know who comments, who sends me an email with a question. Ya’ll, I STILL get giddy when someone emails me asking for my help with a recipe, or send me a “thank you” email because the recipe was perfect and they loved it. 10 years and I still feel that connection. I go around and around with who to follow, how many follow me, what should I post and at the end of the day, it’s that simple human interaction that breaks through. It’s knowing that when I post my annual “Secret Santa” Amazon Wishlist challenge on my Facebook page and see strangers gifting strangers, that THAT is what matters. That I can inflict change, I can empower someone, I can challenge someone.
And as someone who has worked with brands to connect them with influencers, I have to tell you something.
YOU are MORE than just a label.
You might have 8,000 Instagram followers, but that’s not YOU. You cannot be defined by a label attached to describe a tier on a “how many followers” chart.
Do you want to know why I feel this way? Maybe my opinion doesn’t even matter, but it fires me up to see people judged by how many people “follow” them on a platform. There is more to being an influencer than that, and I’m going to show you exactly how. Remember, YOU are MORE than a label. You are more than a micro-influencer, macro-influencer, nano-influencer, whatever. That does not define you and brands should continue to look beyond that.
Influencers around the United States, even the world, do more than just encourage people to try new products, travel to new places, and taste new flavors. Again, this is a small sample of some of the GOOD that influencers have done and can be known for – and all of it goes beyond the number of followers on any given platform.
Christie has shared her journey with depression, which has touched many, evidenced by their messages and thankfulness for her candid post. Her influence has helped people with their own depression, with a loved one's journey, and even saved lives. Her viral post about what depression really looks like is HERE.
Jana Seitzer (@whiskynsunshine)
Jana once sold LuLaRoe clothing and when she left her business, she donated her remaining inventory (over $10k worth of clothing!) to a local women's shelter and clothing closet at school. "They were thrilled to have new “trendy” clothing items available to hand out, and the kids especially we’re excited to have trendy options to choose from. It felt way better to donate and make a difference than sell off piece by piece for pennies on the dollar."
Sarah B (@sarah_bouvier)
When Sarah's daughter was around 2 years old, she started to pull her own hair out - to the point of almost being bald. For her daughter, this was a calming technique. Sarah blogged about it and how they overcame this, and receives emails from fellow moms facing the same struggle. You can read her post HERE.
Cris Stone (@kissmytulle)
Nothing connects moms better than facing behavior issues and Cris was able to share her daughter's story with an unassessed behavioral disorder that made kindergarten a hell. She still sees emails and messages from other parents who have found her story as a resource. You can read her post HERE.
Nancy Johnson Horn (@themamamaven)
A couple of years ago, Nancy's son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. After sharing their story, she has moms reaching out to her and has helped with sending them resources. "It’s a horrible auto immune disease and I remember how alone I felt when my kid was first diagnosed. I write and talk about it so I can help that parent sitting next to their kid in the hospital googling T1D at 3am like I did." You can read about her and her son's journey HERE.
Amiyrah Martin (@amiyrahmartin_)
Every year, Amiyrah encourages her followers to do #HolidaySong4U. She encourages everyone to sing or play their favorite holiday songs, and use the hashtag so others can see all the holiday cheer. One lady did it with her mom one year, after coaxing her mom into it (she was NOT into do a video LOL). That next year, she lost her mom. Now, every #HolidaySong4U season, she gets a FB memory of the video and she says it makes her think of how special that day is during a time of the year where she really misses her mom. “Every year, it brings joy to my sadness” she said.
Jill Krause (@jillkraus.e)
Jill activated her followers, her family members, and her friends in a big way over the summer of 2019 by organizing a massive drive for a border humanitarian coalition. It was amazing to see her POST shared all over social media and to see people purchasing what they could to send down.
Carly Anderson (@lipglossandcrayons)
Carly started the #JustWearTheSuit movement on Instagram that has since gone viral and garnered media attention. "The #justwearthesuit movement that I started and my audience shared and turned into a community has truly changed the game when it comes to women connected and talking about their body image. I'm so proud of how many women have chosen to share their stories and to support each other as a result!" Learn more HERE.
Jillian Warner (@hellosplendidblog)
Jillian, even fighting her own medical battle against leukemia, has not slowed down her desire to give back. She organized an Amazon Wishlist to help patients of the bone marrow transplant unit at UCSD, which resulted in the blogging community and people she didn't even know ordering item after item, providing comfort and entertainment to those on their own journies. You can see how she's given back to her community over the years HERE.
Brandi Riley (@brandijeter)
It'll be hard to pick just one thing that Brandi has done to inspire and encourage! I have first-hand experience with Brandi and the release of her first book meant to help encourage that special bond between mother and daughter. Having lost my mom when I was 17, I was instantly able to see this powerful connection and how her book could help my own daughter and I connect. Beyond that, Brandi gives so much to the blogging and influencer community with powerful motivation, transparency, challenges, and ideas. Meet Brandi and learn more about everything she does HERE.
Rajean Campbell Blomquist (@RajeanBlomquist)
Rajean joined forces with other influencers to show the world that while the beaches and surrounding areas of New Jersey were ravaged by Hurricane Sandy, that the beaches and businesses were open and ready for people to come back! They put their social media skills to the test to share their experiences and stories and not only did they raise awareness, they raised money and formed new friendships. Read more HERE.