Trending Fest & Influencer Tips

When Tala asked me to speak on a panel for Trending Fest I honestly had no idea what to expect. But girlfriend put on an amazing event! I know I’m a little late getting this posted but I wanted to be sure and share for those who were interested! So today I’m sharing a little recap of the event and some of my favorite takeaways from our panel. If any of ya’ll are bloggers, getting into blogging or just wanting to share your influence on social media these are all great tips for you!

I also want to note that being an “influencer” on social media doesn’t necessarily mean being a blogger. A lot of these tips are relevant for ANYONE in business. If you have a small business, a passion for sharing your love of coffee, sell makeup or hair care products on the side, it’s very important for you to have a strong, branded social media presence. The opportunities on social media are ENDLESS if you want in on them!

How to Get Started:

Just start. Here’s the deal. There’s so much out there on niching down, knowing your audience and so on. And while yes, that IS important, but if you don’t know exactly what you want to do now, try some things, and THEN niche down. Decide what you like, what you don’t like and niche, niche, niche along the way. Don’t feel like you have to know it all to get started, and don’t let that fear hold you back. Get started and work. When I started Pearls & Twirls, my style was TOTALLY different and I just wanted to share outfits. I’ve evolved so much since then and that’s not a bad thing! I’ve found ya’ll love my fitness and healthy living posts and info. That’s a different niche in it’s self. I’m growing now more than ever because I’m sharing style AND fitness and that’s a completely separate niche of it’s own! So don’t let the whole process of starting intimidate you. Just start and work hard at it every day.

My Thoughts: One of my suggestions for this question was the quote, “done is better than perfect.” Just get it done and move forward. Perfect it along the way. Want to start shooting outfit photos but don’t have a fancy camera? Just start with your iphone and start sharing and see how people respond! Save for a camera and then start practicing with your new camera! Don’t wait until you have everything perfect. Don’t compare your start to someone who’s 5 years deep into blogging. Just be you, work on you you and see what happens!

How Do You Find Your Voice?

Just be yourself, and serve your tribe. Don’t try to be someone else, or do what other people are doing. It’s so hard to not look at so-and-so and take what she does and turn it into what you’re doing. Take what she’s doing, be inspired by that, but don’t forget to be you. Your voice and your story is ultimately what you’re sharing here so don’t try to be someone else along the way.

My Thoughts: I write for my “tribe” for the people I’m speaking to and who want to hear my content and need my content. I don’t let the haters or the people you’re not sure what they would think if you posted x y or z would say about that post. I’m serving the ones who want to be there. I try to share a little more of me, but share the things that I think others want to hear. Tips that I’d like to hear from someone else and my genuine thoughts. Not just another “this top is on sale and it’s soooo cute” kinda post.

How to Find and Make Friends in the Industry:

It can feel intimidating when there are so many bloggers out there that you’d like to become friends with but you don’t really know how to approach them. Just know, that it doesn’t hurt to ask! Reach out and ask if they’d like to go to coffee. Email them with a recommendation of maybe something they posted on instagram and ask them a question. You have to remember they’re just regular ole people too! I think the resounding conclusion to a successful friendly email or DM is just be sure to compliment that person, make sure you’re following them and liking their photos, and politely chat with them. Don’t ask them a million questions right out of the gate. Don’t beg them to help you. Just befriend them! Also, not to sound petty, but if you’re reaching out to a person, make sure you actually support them. If they go and look you up and you’ve never liked their photos or commented on their blogs/photos, or worse don’t even follow, you can look a little “hater-ish” and no one likes a hater.

My Thoughts: Making friends in blogging is just like making friends in business or at work or in real life. BE NICE! You wouldn’t go up to your manager at work and ask how’d you get this job? How can I get this job? How much money do you make? What did you get paid for this project? Don’t do that! Just befriend them, compliment them on their hard work and take them to coffee! Then you can ask them for advice or chat how to grow on instagram or share with them something you’re struggling with. Then they’ll be much more enticed to help you out! Another tip, join a blogging network like The Blog Societies and get active! Go to their meetups and conference and meet friends! Make friends, keep in contact with them and you will be forever grateful you pushed yourself to go to that conference!

Organization and How to Balance Side Hustle & Work:

There is so much more to blogging than taking cute photos and posting them on the internet. We might make it look easy but dang is it hard! From picking out the outfits to shooting and shoot locations, to content calendars, planning, working with brands, posting on social media and more. There are a lot of moving parts that go into just one blog post or one instagram post for that matter. So staying organized and creating a good blog/work/life balance is important. Finding the best organization strategy for you is very important to your success and your sanity. Try things out and see where you’re most successful and go from there! Lacey and I both shared how batch working totally helps us! She and I schedule at least 2 batch shoots a month which helps us get a lot of content all at one time that we can sprinkle through our content throughout the month! Finding a friend to shoot with is also SUPER helpful!

My Thoughts: Staying organized is a lifesaver for me. I keep my blog content calendar pretty full each month and I’ve tried lots of different ways to organize this. I’ve tried a paper planner, I’ve tried doing it in my everyday planner, I’ve tried weekly planners and google calendar. I’ve failed at all of those! This year I revisited google calendar and really committed to it. I prefer pen and paper calendars and agendas for planning and that’s one less tab open on my computer but I’ve decided that for the blog g-cal is my go to! I just have to keep it open at all times and I have to be thorough with it. Aka not just put “outfit post” on wednesday – put the exact outfit and topic related to that outfit. So right now, on Monday’s I look at my calendar, plan out my posts for the week and actually start on the posts. That’s the only way they’re going to even kind of get done. When I have busy work weeks sometimes the blog takes a back seat and those posts don’t get done. I love g-cal because I can just drag that post idea to another day and we’re good to go. I also love that I can color code my post ideas. So I have purple for outfit posts, green for food & FWTFL posts, yellow for sponsored posts and purple for my monthly goal posts. I also schedule behind the scenes deadlines in red and photoshoots in orange. That way I really see everything in one place. I make notes in my events and can see things fully laid out in front of me which is so nice!

As far as getting all the work done, you’ve got to find a system that works for you. And just know that it will always ebb and flow. My work schedule has changed a lot this fall so I’m kind of in a transition phase and have to really nail down a new work/blogging schedule. So just be diligent in figuring out what works for you. That might mean getting up an hour or two earlier to work on your side hustle if that’s the only time you can get it done. Look at your schedule, be practical and schedule that work in there. (I might do a “day in the life” post soon so I can share a little more behind the scenes look at what I do!)

Can I just be an Instagram Influencer or do I Need a Blog?

These days you actually can just be an instagram influencer if that’s what you want to do. There are plenty of ways to make money on instagram! But in the long haul, what’s your goal? If you just want to be an instagram influencer then, go for it! But if you want something a little more long lasting, something that you own and build a business out of. I’d highly suggest starting a blog. You own your website and your email list, you don’t own instagram or your instagram followers.

My ThoughtsRegardless of the instagram popularity out there I still put my main focus on my blog. This is where I serve my best and most content. This is where I can share the most, be my most genuine self and where I really get the most bang for my work. Aka, when I spend all that time shooting the photos and all I do is post it one time on instagram, that post is basically dead in 4 days. When I post it on my blog I can share it across all social media and in my newsletter and it can get seen by more people and it can live a lot longer. I still have posts from years ago that get a lot of traction on pinterest, which is the #1 driver to my site.

But if you’re not looking to be a blogger, you just want to use instagram as a platform to share more about yourself, more about your business, your side hustle, your passion, or even to use as a secondary interest and revenue generator for your business I’d suggest committing to it, and thinking of your instagram account as a separate business.

That’s a wrap!

If you made it this far, thanks for sticking with me! I hope ya’ll enjoyed this post and it’s helpful to you! If there’s anything specific you’d like for me to share more on, please, please let me know! I’d LOVE to help out! I’m going to post some poll’s on instagram this afternoon to see what more of this kind of content you’d like to see! So make sure you’re following along on instagram and let me know! Happy FRIDAY!