Being a social media influencer is a fairly new phenomenon. I personally never set out to be an Instagram influencer. Doctor, veterinarian, singer… influencer? Nope. It never crossed my mind and quite frankly I didn’t believe these so-called influencers influenced any behavior.
However, one day I was trying to find a reliable pair of platform shoes by sifting through the depths of Instagram models who were tagging where they bought their cute outfits. At that moment, I realized I was wrong about their “influence.”
My journey towards being an Instagram influencer started off with my love of clothes. I dress a little different, pair pieces together that don’t make sense, and wear too many bright colors. From combining fishnets with sneakers to throwing on a bright blue wig, I don’t want to wear it if people don’t stare. I love being overdramatic with my look and making people question what they think traditionally looks good.
I quickly realized that being consistent and posting daily OOTD (Outfit of the Day) pictures were important to my followers. I also searched and hashtagged fashion pages that would feature other people’s photos. When I first hit 3,000 followers, I was completely shocked. There were more people following me online than people I went to high school with! I remember excitedly showing my older sister and thinking I could never gain an audience bigger than this.
Today I have nearly 200,000 Instagram followers, and now I’m the one people are asking, “Where did you get your clothes?” That said, it’s important to understand that being an influencer is more than someone dying to know where you bought something. Being an influencer is building a small family that consistently grows with and around you.
When I first started, I didn’t talk much about my life or share any personal information. I eventually got to know my community and began to feel more comfortable posting about my experiences or thoughts in my captions. People weren’t just following a person who posts outfits they like, but a girl who enjoys watching SpongeBob way too much, loves French fries, and cries when the finale of her favorite Netflix show airs. They were following a friend.
I’ve also seen friendships develop on my own Instagram feed! One time I went to a music festival, and two girls I did not know came up to me and told me they originally met in my comment section. Apparently, they both were going to the same festival alone, saw my post asking if anyone was attending, and connected in the comment section.
Being an Instagram influencer is knowing that your voice will travel places you cannot see and the things you do will affect people you do not know. You become a part of people’s lives and daily routine. You have the chance to make someone smile on a bad day or introduce people to products that have helped you. You start to become someone’s role model, their older sister, or quirky friend.
There’s an established bond between the audience and the influencers. Your followers don’t solely follow you because they want to learn how to make a certain cake – it’s because they connect with who you are. I’m still trying to figure out who I am and openly share that, which is why people follow me. They don’t know either, but it’s nice to be on the same journey with someone you like, figuring it out together.
Don’t forget to check at my Instagram while you’re at it! Find out what hair color I’ll do next at @Kieraplease!