To be an influencer, you have to love people before you can try to lead them – John C. Maxwell.
Whilst scraping the walls of a soon-to-be-refurbished house, I got to thinking about what content I wanted to product for the blog next. I started to think about the blogging world and how vast it has become; its influences and its influencers. That train of thought spiralled to another one, and I began to ask myself the question Isn’t everybody an influencer? I’m not even talking in terms of blogging, YouTube and social media – it is so much bigger than that. Although, I am aware that people (quite rightly by the way) identify themselves as an influencer because they can influence huge proportions of people to buy something they have tried, or to try out a new fitness regime, or to eat noodles for tea. Nevertheless, aren’t I an influencer for suggesting to my best friend that she must wear that floral dress rather than the striped? Isn’t my mum an influencer for telling me to buy the bigger size because, yes my bum looked way too tightly compact – so it was not comfortable – in the smaller pair of jeans? Aren’t the bloggers with less than 5k followers deemed as influencers because they still have a following of 4,672?
THE NUMBER GAME IN BLOGGING
I am very aware that not everything is about figures and numbers. They are only numbers on a screen, which is how I also view my bank account. However, in order to become an “influencer” as a career option, whether it is full time, part time or just now and again, the number of followers is incredibly important. It shouldn’t be, but it is. Every single day, we see all over our socials Help me get to my next milestone; I’m only X away from X. I do it. You do it. We all do it, until I guess you don’t need to do it anymore. If we want the collaborations and to get paid with actual money, not just “exposure”, we need the audience to influence. It is as simple as that. The number game isn’t solely ruled by followers anymore; it is also the likes of the DA figure which can make or break your future collaborations with brands. I remember seeing a PR posting about DA on a Facebook group and thinking What on earth is DA?? I then checked mine and was like okay, that is very low. My blog isn’t going to even get a look in. Slowly but surely, it’s on the up. Just another number that we need to worry about increasing rather than creating content that we love.
COSMOPOLITAN INFLUENCER AWARDS
The original Cosmo Blogger Awards was a little before my time of taking blogging as seriously as I do now. Back then, anyone and everyone could be put forward into a category. Now, it is called the Influencer Awards. We have jumped from blogging to influencing. I understand why. Gone are the days of just blogging. Today, we are all over every social platform, posting daily photographs (sometimes more!), tweeting constantly, updating Facebook and Pinterest. YouTube is just one humongous platform where millions of people share their thoughts, show us their days, style their new wardrobe and take us to incredible destinations. Perhaps that is why we have shifted from “Blogger” to “Influencer” and striving for the title. With regards to the latest Cosmo Awards, there was a backlash from the blogging community. Having a bar of 10k followers on Instagram is kinda like saying well the rest of you aren’t on par with the level we want to associate with. It’s a slight kick in the teeth, especially for those influencers who do have a smaller following, yet earn enough to make a living from creating content full time. I’m not saying anything negative about those who have been shortlisted, by the way. I adore every single person shortlisted and I love their content; they are huge influences to me in the world of blogging, and I couldn’t be happier for them. I just wish that the Cosmo Awards was as inclusive as it used to be, rather than excluding a large amount of the community – who also create outstanding, influential content – due to the numbers on a screen.
ON SCREEN INFLUENCERS
Some of my favourite influencers don’t have thousands and thousands of subscribers or followers, and some of them have an army of them. I call everyone influencers because they – as you will see – have influenced some of my choices in one way or another.
LYDIA ELISE MILLEN, IN THE FROW & THE BIG INFLUENCERS
Let’s start with the absolute Queens (with a capital Q) of influencing. I talk about Victoria all. the. time. I’m not a stalker, honest. She is a huge inspiration of mine, which I go into more detail here. Lydia is also a massive inspiration. I think the thing with these two women is that they are both incredibly down to earth. When I watch them on YouTube, or read their blog, I feel like we’re having a one-on-one conversation. Even though I don’t buy huge luxury items (I will buy Dior and Chanel lipsticks all day long despite needing to save for other things), I’ll look for something similar to wear from the high street, or I’ll see how I can recreate a certain look and put my own twist on it. Their positivity is literally infectious. I will be smiling as they’re smiling, talking back to the camera with animation, and go about my day as if I, too, am a fabulous influencer.
MY LIV BLOG SQUAD
If you are a Liverpool blogger, you need to be a part of this network for bloggers in and around Liverpool. There are so many girls and guys who are incredibly lovely, share great advice and need to get more attention in terms of blogging and collaborations. For example, Jess literally gave me the biggest confidence boost this week. She “influenced” (told) me to go and talk on Instagram Stories. I didn’t have to post it, but I did it anyway. I have started to chat away to my phone and non-blogging friends are going to be like what are you doing? Jess talks on her IG Stories all the time. Through that, she has influenced me to do the same, grow some confidence and just have fun with it. Allie is another Liverpool blogger. Oh my God, she has the best style. Every message I send her is can I steal your style? I could never pull it off as it’s not me. Allie’s style is very seventies, quite casual and extremely cool. If the Liv Blog Squad were to be the next Spice Girls, she’d be Cool Spice. Emma is the one for ultimate travel and luxury. I could scroll through her Instagram for hours, getting lost in all the locations and wishing for her entire wardrobe. When I next go on holiday, I will be taking inspiration from her in terms of how to get stunning photographs.
I’ll admit that I don’t read as many book blogs as I would like to, especially since my own blog has an entire category dedicated to all things books. The five influencers I turn to for something new to add to my bookshelf are Lauren, Emmie, Jenny, Sarah and Hannah. All these ladies read a huge variety of books spanning across the genres, which is why they are the ones I repeatedly return to. Lauren, Emmie and Sarah all share beautiful images of books on their Instagrams. They also proceed to give mini reviews sometimes, which can be helpful when you are just flicking through IG or rushing to get ready in the morning. With the book community on Instagram, I feel like you can really take influence on what to read next; it is so easy to comment and begin bookish conversations. Jenny is a bookish businesswoman. She always influences me to read something new. Usually, I simply have to scroll past a tweet from Neverland Blog Tours and I am in her DMs asking her for more information. I think that Jenny is a huge influence within the UK book blogging circuit. She gives other bloggers opportunities to have their own say about various books, chat with authors and shares her own personal picks too. Hannah is phenomenal in the YA book world. I love watching her videos as she always has something to say and reads a lot. If you think eight books is amazing for 2018 so far, you will be in awe of her eighteen in one month. She talks about so many different stories that I haven’t even heard of; the way she talks about them, as if the characters are her best friends, makes me need to have those stories on my own bookshelf too.
The original two influencers in my life are my mum and my cousin. My mum is the person I take shopping with me. If something doesn’t look right, she will tell me straight out. Usually a simple “No.” to which I agree because I’m at the age now where I know what works and what doesn’t. When I was younger, I would try to disagree. I could lose weight. I could suck it in. I could somehow tighten it around my waist. I could wear a belt. In the end, I knew she was always right. She also knows my style extremely well. She will pick something up, tell me to try it on, et voila it is the perfect new dress for Spring. In terms of beauty, she is the reason I hardly ever wear makeup. When I was growing up, she would never take hours in the bathroom perfecting eyeliner or lipstick. By the way, her lipstick skills are incredible. She. Doesn’t. Need. A. Mirror. My mum and I are lucky to have good skin, and don’t have a need to cover it. I feel comfortable in my own skin because of her; that is huge, especially in the time we are living in.
My closest cousin is basically my big sister. When we were growing up I would always have to have whatever she had. Year Seven (she was in Year Nine): she wore pointy shoes, I had pointy shoes. Younger than that: she wore tracksuit bottoms; I begged my mum for trackie bottoms. She got her belly button pierced at aged thirteen. I had mine done at eleven. I remember when we were younger and we were talking about tattoos. She’d have a Tigger one and I’d have one of Eeyore. Imagine if we had the power to have those tattoos at that age. I would have regretted that a lot, especially since I’m running out of space as it is! Also, my cousin is the most positive person ever. She has this outlook on life: not a worry in the world, constantly upbeat, always sharing the glass half full vibes. When I’m around her, I can’t help but feel uplifted and motivated, like I’m going to absolutely, without a doubt, slay anything I set my mind to.
At this point in my life, I have so many people who influence me IRL. My best friends can sometimes be bad influences with the just do it attitude when it comes to having that last shot. Not great for the hangover the next day, especially when working a double shift. They are also the people who remind me of who I am as a person, which I lost for a while. They influence the choices I make by giving me advice on everything from personal issues to what book I should read next.
Going back to the quote for a second – to lead them – I believe that we all lead each other in a lot of ways. It eventually turns full circle. For example, Sabina shared a t-shirt on her Instagram Stories. I ordered it that night. I posted a pic of myself in that t-shirt and Bee commented on the photo, asking me to send her the link to buy it. I had less than 950 Instagram followers at the time, but I still influenced somebody to buy something because I wore it. If I hadn’t shared that image, Bee may never have found the piece, just as if Sabina hadn’t, I wouldn’t have thought twice about searching for it.
We don’t have to be somebody with X amount of followers in order to be deemed an influencer. We don’t even have to be in the blogging game to influence somebody. Influencers are in our everyday lives: our parents, our friends, the woman working in a charity shop to raise funds, the person helping the homeless in our cities, the author who creates a hero that you relate to. Influence is everywhere; if we stop segregating ourselves from those who have a big following, we would have more confidence in ourselves to reach out to other bloggers, brands and companies to say Hey, I actually influence a lot of people too.
What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you identify yourself as an influencer, or a blogger, or both?
Love, Faye xo