What I wish I’d known before becoming a social media influencer

What I wish I’d known before becoming a social media influencer
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More than 267,000 people (and counting) are riveted by fashion and lifestyle blogger McKenna Bleu’s every move. From her daily outfits to her new home, Bleu’s followers watch closely as her life unfolds for them on Instagram, Twitter and on her blog.

For some, this kind of following is highly coveted, the end result of a pipe dream come true.

For others, the notion of having thousands of keyboard warriors ready to comment (for better or for worse) might be panic-inducing.

For Bleu, it’s simply life as she knows it, and she’s learned how to manage it well.

While the perks of living a public life can be presidential (seriously), existing as a social media influencer isn’t all photo shoots in front of colorful walls and VIP nights. Here are some of the behind-the-scenes insights from life in McKenna Bleu’s brightly colored world.

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Stop waiting for that viral tweet to make you famous, instead focus on consistent content.

McKenna: I think the biggest factor in building a solid following is finding a way to stand out. The blogger world is not only saturated these days, but it also looks the same. Same hair, same clothing, same poses. Is that really you, or are you copying what’s popular? Be authentic! Being someone you’re not is exhausting, and a sure way to burn yourself out.

There’s no real “magic number” of followers necessary to grab a brand’s attention.

McKenna: It’s all about merging brands with real buyers and supporters they may be unable to reach on their own. Whether you have 2,000 followers or 200,000, it’s valuable. 

There’s also no “typical” work day.

McKenna: It varies for me. I could be way more productive, that’s for sure! I try to give myself two full days of computer work each week, and I spend two other days preparing or shooting content for upcoming projects. I also love happy hour, so days get cut short often. #LetMeLive

Get ready to spend a lot of time pitching yourself to potential sponsors.

McKenna: I don’t have an agent representing me, so it’s a lot of pitching myself. Most of my brand collaborations are from PR agencies, and also brand partnership agents within affiliate marketing companies, like Reward Style.  Typically if you produce great content, are easy to work with, and can offer the brand their return on investment, opportunities continue to come your way. 

Most days don’t consist of adorable outfits and perfect hair and makeup.

McKenna: Some girls look that cute every day and are “on” at all times. Me? I absolutely fake it. I get my life together and look cute once every week or two, and style a bunch a looks in order to have content to post. It’s your job. How you choose what works best for you is totally up to you. I’m a “jeans and a T-shirt, dirty hair in a bun, enjoying my daily life” kind of gal.

You might pause before hitting “publish” on a post.

McKenna: I’m a super visual person and also slightly a perfectionist, so any hesitation to post is because I see flaws in my vision or design. Should have I moved the picture over to cover the outlet? Should I have tied the bow of my shirt in the front instead of the side? It’s not so much a concern about how it will be judged by others. As they say, you’re your own worst critic!

The trolls aren’t as scary as they may seem.

McKenna: I think once you figure out you can’t make everyone happy, it’s pretty easy to let things go. I’m a pretty laid back person, so if someone is (unfortunately) full of hate, that’s on them. What a sad way to live. The good news is I’m confident in my own skin. I sleep well at night knowing I choose to spread positivity in the world and treat people with kindness. Trolls have deeper problems than bashing people on the internet. Hurt people hurt people. 

You’ll have to pass up money if the brand partnership doesn’t feel authentic.

McKenna: I’ve turned down many opportunities because they don’t align with my brand. It goes back to being authentic. I built this following that values and trusts my opinion. Offering promotional representation of a brand I wouldn’t spend my money on would be a disservice to my readers. Have I ever worked with a brand that wasn’t in line with mine? Yes, but trust me, you learn your lesson very quickly.

There are some serious perks.

McKenna: The biggest honor I’ve received was being invited to a meeting at The White House. Not only did I get a one-on-one meeting inside, I was also asked to be one of the first people to share and promote the ability to take pictures inside The White House during tours. It was a small group of influencers, and I was beyond honored to be one of them. My image even made it on the “Nightly News.” Such a cool feeling! 

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