It’s a weird time to be an influencer
I recently had a conversation with fellow creators, in which we discussed whether or not it was appropriate to post sponsored content right now and how to go about doing so without being insensitive. 😬 I also read a bunch of articles about what influencing looks like in the wake of a pandemic (@alittlebrittoffun on IG always prompts me to go nuts researching different topics) and long story short, I’ve got a job to do.
As an influencer, my job is first and foremost to inspire others in positive ways. That’s kinda tough when the world seems to be imploding. 😅 I don’t think anyone wants to see my new dress or makeup look right now. People are sick and panicking. They’re broke and out of jobs. And the rest are either in a state of confusion or trying to adjust to changes that nobody asked for. So what the heck does an influencer do in a time like this?
I did some thinking and came up with a few ideas for content creators to try while stuck at home. If posting feelings weird right now but you want to keep your engagement up and stay productive, you can try the following:
Improve your photography and editing skills!
1. Learn how to better use your camera, whether you take photos with your iPhone or something more professional. Mess with the lighting and take some random test shots of things in your home. You can even take some filler photos for your IG feed like photos of your kitchen or bathroom for a more personal, lifestyle post. I was going through settings on my camera to see which ones worked best in low lighting and learned something new when I snapped this shot of an item from a sponsored package.
2. Get familiar with Adobe Lightroom. Once you’ve got the photo taking skills down, I would recommend learning how to use Adobe Lightroom Classic for desktop or Lightroom Mobile CC for your phone, or both! Adobe’s Creative Cloud offers a photography package for just $10 a month that gives you a bunch of PC and Mobile apps to play with. I now use Lightroom to edit all my photos (at the recommendation of Oyin – @sweetlikeoyin) and I love it! I think every influencer should learn how to use it.
3. Use presets! Do you have an editing style or theme? If you’re already caught up on step one and two, try to find or create your signature preset. I have a ton of presets saved on my Lightroom account from a bunch of different creators. A few I’d recommend are those by Asiyami Gold, Chasing Denise, 123Presets and Nicky Presets. I also have a few edits I created on my own and made presets out of. Presets make feeds stand out, especially if you find a few that go great together.
Use your platform to help others
It costs you nothing to either promote or directly support businesses that are suffering right now. So many industries are in a state of disaster. Hospitals don’t have supplies, small businesses can’t pay their workers, and people are desperately relying on food banks, shelters and online donations to make it through this period of uncertainty.
Roy and I have been trying to use our Instagram foodie page, @hungrypicks to promote local restaurants that are still offering take out and delivery services during this lockdown. I also shouted out some businesses on my Instagram page and want to continue buying products from small or local companies.
If you’re going through it yourself, no worries. It doesn’t have to cost you a thing to help others out. Use social media to your advantage by finding businesses you can promote for free. If you have a big enough following, you can even host a successful fundraiser for a food bank or homeless shelter that needs donations. Why not team up with a friend and go half on a giveaway for a good cause? A shoutout with some words of support can be what inspires a struggling business to keep going right now.
Find other influencers to network with
There’s never a bad time to discover fellow influencers and creatives. There are people that I consider my friends who I met on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Some of them, I’ve never even met in person before (Kim 😭) but talk to on a regular basis. Networking is a big part of being a successful content creator because connections make opportunities. And the biggest pro when discovering other creatives? Inspiration!
Some Instagram bloggers/YouTubers/content creators that inspire me big time are:
- Shanell Khan
- Sweet Like Oyin
- Asiyami Gold
- Naezrah Looks
- Monroe Steele
- Tally Dilbert
- A Little Britt of Fun
Download these apps to enhance your IG content
If you’re an influencer, you know that there are some awesome apps out there for us to use, especially for Instagram. The three big faves that I use religiously (other than Lightroom) are Milkshake, Preview and Unfold.
Milkshake is what I use to create the “mini website” in my Instagram bio. The app allows you to create customizable pages with links and photos, so that you’re not limited to the one link you can add in your bio.
Preview is my app of choice for organizing my Instagram feed. It allows you to add new photos to a grid to see how they look alongside the photos that are already on your page. Why is this even important? An attractive Instagram feed encourages new followers to check out your page and follow you. Here’s a look at the app, where I’ve added a potential new photo to my feed:
Unfold might be one of my favorite apps. I use it all the time to make my Instagram stories stand out and it’s so easy to use! Just click on a template, add some photos/videos and you’re done. You can even add text and stickers from their awesome collection.
Learn the art of pitching
New to the influencer game and wanna know how others are getting all those paid sponsorships? The answer is pitching.
Pitching is reaching out to brands or services you love and asking them if they would like to form a business relationship with you.
I found an awesome video by Montelle B. on YouTube on how to pitch to brands successfully. I’ve also created a pitch template that you can use to make your own:
Those are all the tips I have for now! I hope one or more of them will help you stay productive and inspired during this tough time. For a lot of people, the stress alone makes working on your brand seem too difficult right now. All we can do is take it one step at a time and hope for the best. And think about how great you’ll feel once everything is settled and you can look back at all the progress you’ve made.
Stay healthy and please stay INSIDE unless you need to buy groceries or medicine.