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.