social media influencing || q + a
hi, friends! thank you for stopping by. last week, i posted this photo on my instagram account and asked you what questions you have in regards to social media influencing. i answered some of them on my stories, but then there was SO MANY LITTLE LINES at the top of my story so i knew my story was way too long and i was stressing and my phone was at 1% so i decided to wrap up here.
i want to lead into this by saying that these answers are just my opinion. if any other social media influencer read this, they could definitely think "...this girl is crazy, i did the exact opposite of all of this and i still got followers" and that is totally fine! social media marketing is all freelance work and it is completely up to you how you choose to do it :)
here are some of the questions you guys asked on my post!
q: how do you find a good aesthetic and make your instagram and blog fit around it?
i think this question is backwards. your instagram and blog create your OWN aesthetic! it has to be something that is completely and genuinely you or you will be constantly struggling to "make it fit". i would start by just becoming aware of your preferences: do you own mostly colorful or neutral clothes? what is your interior design style? what kind of photo edits do you like? once you narrow down these "aesthetic" questions, it can help you mold your own into something that is completely and perfectly you!
q: how did you become an influencer? any specific tips or recommendations?
i feel intimidated to answer this question because, to be completely honest, i feel kind of lame calling myself an "influencer". i don't have a million followers and i don't own a gucci belt and i don't live in NYC!!! i am just a girl with a beautiful daughter and loving husband who loves apple crisp with melted vanilla ice cream and has a passion for creating beautiful images. however, it IS how i make 100% of my money, and i guess that's what a job is! just because you don't serve at a five-star restaurant in paris doesn't mean you're not a waiter if you serve food all day. my tips are, as always, prioritize having good content. your edits need to be good and your photos need to be appealing to look at. this is difficult to do and it is something that i am by no means perfect at, so practice a lot! think about what makes you you and focus on that. no one else in the world has storie thornton as a daughter and no one else has my exact life, so i try to truly photograph what is different about my life to avoid being so ~basic~ (although i definitely have my basic moments, guilty of having multiple flatlays on a white sheet and shooting at in n out sorry bout it).
q: how do you manage to post every day?
scheduling is huge for me! ideally, i aim to schedule one day on the first week, shoot the content i come up with the second week, and post about it on the third week. that way i am always ahead of my "posting schedule" and i have wiggle room to make adjustments as needed. this is also helpful when brands give you deadlines that you need to submit content for approval and/or post by. get it on your calendar!
q: what are the most important steps to making it a full time job?
build your resume! if you are not in a position where you are getting paid by brands to post photos, show them why they SHOULD pay you! i have had one single instagram post take up to two hours to photograph and edit. just like anything else, you have to put in the time to get good at something. study other photos that you are inspired by and pull pieces from that until you come up with a final product that is unique to you!
additionally, some influencers choose to have a full-time permanent agent whose job is to find collaborations for them. they take a percentage of what the influencer is paid. i haven't done that so i don't have a ton of experience or insight on that particular area! however, i have joined free networking websites that list collaborations that are available and you can apply to collaborate with the brand (just like applying for a job!). the networks i have had the most success with are called revfluence and socialix.
q: what is the hardest part? how do you navigate + overcome that?
the hardest part is probably when i have a baby brand want to collaborate with me. haha! as a mom, i absolutely love baby brands. that just usually means that storie needs to be in the picture and i hate making her do things that she doesn't want to do, especially when it's just for me. you'll notice that she isn't in my feed very often haha and it's not because i don't want her there, it's just because i don't want her to be a prop that i drag on crazy photoshoots. i have tried to navigate that by making the picture-taking process really fun for her. if a shoot isn't going well, i don't allow myself to get frustrated or angry at her. i try to be as energetic and engaging as possible and as soon as she is done, so is the photoshoot.
another hard part about this job are the mean comments. obviously. i wish this weren't the case, but i think it's kind of inevitable to run into hateful people that simply want to be mean. i try to not let it affect me and remember that hurt people hurt people.
q: how can i stay constantly motivated to create innovative content?
ahhh if anyone has any insight on this, feel free to share!! new content is hard. i think that planning (mentioned above) can help with this. it's always stressful when you try to post once a day and it's like 5:00 PM and you are fresh outta ideas. i think that surrounding yourself with inspiring things is huge. this can look different for everyone, so focus on what fills your soul with joy! you can pull inspiration from anywhere. my personal favorites are holidays. there is so much that can be created with the nostalgic summer watermelon or the crisp winter evergreen. i have also drawn inspiration from articles of clothing, other photography, locations, and even captions! sometimes my captions will come first and i will base a photo around the caption. secret's out.
q: how do you draw the line between what you want to post and what your followers like to see?
i hope that people follow me just because they like to see what i like to post! i will come clean and admit that i went through kind of an awkward funk earlier this year. it was right after i decided to take instagram seriously as my full-time job. i was admiring all of the other influencers that had beautiful photos and stunning feeds! seriously, there are some amazing instagram profiles out there. it is so fun to see personalities shine through. the problem that i faced was that i was not letting my own personality show. i was trying to do instagram how i had noticed others succeed. i didn't want to post sunset pictures or food flatlays because those didn't get as many likes as pictures that had me in them. but you know what? instagram wasn't as fun that way. i was kind of constantly stressed with how often my face popped up in my feed. i'm not saying that's a bad thing by ANY means, but it's just not how i prefer my own personal feed to look. i think that by posting what YOU want, you will attract people that like you for you and they will also be more engaged because you are being more authentic. win, win!
q: do you scout places to take photos or do you just see them randomly?
both! i have a running note on the notepad app on my phone. while driving, i'll jot down walls or corners or restaurants that we pass that look like it would fit my own instagram aesthetic. i write down the address, the color/vibe of the location, and the direction that the location faces so i know what time is best to go there for lighting purposes when shooting (you want to be completely shaded when you're taking a picture). this is also helpful when i am in a creative rut! i can go back to my location list and see if there is anything there that i can draw inspiration from.
some tips on location scouting: use instagram as one of your tools! lots of people will geotag a location (if it's a restaurant or something) when they post and then you can look through the geotag of the location and decide if it fits your own brand. also, i'm not sure if this rings true everywhere, but where i am located in arizona, ghetto neighborhoods are the way to go. there seem to be more brightly colored walls in lower income areas and that is what i personally like to incorporate with white photos on my feed! has anyone else found that to be true? haha
q: how did you put together a media kit?
think of your media kit as your resume! that's what it is. you should include your name, a quick little blurb about you and what makes you ~unique~, and a photo. you should also have your social media analytics: followers, engagement rates, traffic, etc. i include past collaborations and work i have done as well. some influencers like to have their rates on their media kit and some prefer to leave them out and let the brand or company approach them with their budget first. it is completely your preference!
q: how do you manage your time between life/family and your social media management? for example, my husband says I'm always on Instagram trying to grow my business and that it's taking priority, and I disagree. how do you manage your time and is your husband supportive of the way you choose to grow your career?
i feel very fortunate because brandtly is way supportive. this does NOT mean that he jumps up and claps his hand when i ask him to help me with a picture, but he is constantly supporting me and validating my efforts. it is definitely easier now that there is actually money coming from it haha when we first got married, it was just a super time-intensive hobby and he wasn't as amped on the idea. he completely understands the value of social media marketing and recognizes it as the way advertisement is going. it is NOT me taking pictures because i want to get lots of likes or because i love having selfies. it's a business. it's a job. all jobs have downsides. it's kind of annoying to me when brandtly has to work later than normal and doesn't get home until 6:30 (if you're a mom i know you'll understand the struggle of that), but that doesn't mean that i get angry at him for it or resent him or tell him to quit his job. i think that people you love should support you in the things that YOU love!
i manage my time by setting it aside. i plan my photoshoots and let brandtly know what the dates and times are. if there is a post that i need him to either be in, help me take, or photograph for me, i kindly ask him to do it ahead of time so it is on his radar. i try not to use my phone at all on sundays. i'll get on insta for my daily post and then hop right back off. sometimes i'll delete the app if we are going into a gathering or event or even just playing with storie at home and i want to feel more present.
i did a sappy gratitude post on my instagram story about this so i need to do it here, too!!! thank you guys for being here. thank you for following along and engaging with my photos. i really, truly, sincerely appreciate it. i wouldn't be able to do this job without you. xo