This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)
Just me talking about how Social Media has become such a number game and how I survive in the glass house.
You already know my opinion about the term influencer and why I hate being called one, if not you can jump straight to this article as a warm up.
Crash Course in Influencer Acquisition
I am not blaming companies or marketing agencies for bringing that term up or making us feel bad about what we do. And here it is. I said “We”. There are so many people out there on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook and everyone is doing it’s “thing” differently. There is no drawer, named with: the “influencer” people. It would be utterly wrong, to say that everyone who has a blog or is popular on Instagram is an influencer. A bad, bad influencer. With so many things, it is again the problem that people jump to a conclusion too soon and the media is very strong in building their opinion they don’t really know a lot about it. Now, what makes me really really angry is when pages like Likeometer* are ranking us according to our followers, likes, and comments.
High Engagement rates mean popularity – Popularity means Collaborations- Collaborations mean money
Some month ago, a high amount of followers was the way to go and everyone was busy buying followers. Now Likes and comments or better called “Engagement rate” is the trend, so everyone is buying Likes and Comments or is commenting like a crazy person on other peoples posts in order to get as many comments back as possible. When did we become such number fixed people, who shy away from every tiny bit of effort?
Ranking and Statistics are always a dangerous thing. My stat-teacher once told me: “Don’t believe a statistic, that you haven’t faked by yourself.”
Let’s go a step back. Imagine you are a person responsible for Social Media in your company and now you have to hire “influencers”. You either contact an agency or you go to the internet and “google”. You might find Rankings and Statistics and according to that, you chose your preferred candidates.
If you want to make it very simple you just look at the engagement rate. In my case, this is the fat red number on the bottom. Your first thoughts are:
- she bought followers and that is why the interaction is so low
- she has not very active followers, maybe her content isn’t that good and interaction worthy
Now, let me explain something (and this is not me trying to justify the 1.51%.) I started Vanillacrunnch when Instagram wasn’t even popular in Switzerland. Nobody did know what it even was. I posted a lot of “foodporn” pictures and obviously, a lot of people liked it and decided to follow me. 7 years later, many of this people are not anymore on Instagram or they decided to unfollow me because I’ve changed and started posting other things, that aren’t Instagram-Popular. I have a small core followership that I call my friends. These people are interacting with me and we have the most interesting conversations and discussion coming all from different countries. I would, at any given time delete all of the people who are not interested in my content, going back to 20K real followers. (a massive thank you to this “followers” that I like to call friends!)
Bottom Line: If I would go back, posting Foodporn and popular things such as fruits coming out of an Icecream Scone (that picture got 20’000 Likes), or me just with a biking on, or a before-after picture, then my engagement rate (consisting of Likes+Comments) would be up in no time and maybe I would get hire by more companies because then they would think: “Wow such a high engagement rate, let’s book her!”
The Search for Something More
Truth is: I like my personal posts. I am fully aware that a pad with glittery blood and me talking about menstruation or a nature picture or even a picture of me just having a good time, will never have 20’000 Likes. Because it does respond just to a few people, whereas everyone loves a good fruit haul picture.
I believe that being me and posting what I want, will be my personal way of success. And with success, I am not talking about more collaborations or money. I am talking about my inner peace, my happiness and me saying: I love what I do and I am proud and not ashamed of what I post.
The companies I am working with have read my blog posts and they know what drives me. I saw this in their email when they requested the collaboration and throughout the whole collaboration.
How do I differ from other influencers?
Important side note:
I am working part-time in another job, to make money and to keep the freedom to accept and decline collaborations. This is the only way to ensure complete freedom and the choice of only writing about things I care and not because they fill my pocket.
Maybe you would think not at all. I get money in exchange for Instagram and Blog posts. That is not a secret. I even tell you how much money I make. Just ask. Transparency is the holy grail of my philosophy. If I help a company and their product to get exposure, I tell you that. I use the hashtags #ad or #werbung. I also state in the caption, that I got products in order to test them and write about. Who knows how this will change in the future. If you as a reader have a better idea of how you would like to be informed about a collaboration, please let me know in the comments. I am not recommending shit to my friends or family and my Instagram community are my friends.
I am a 100% or nothing person. Blood, Sweat and Tears for the things I care about. Collaboration or not. The good thing about taking on not more than 2 Collaborations a month or even less, is that you can spend more time on the ones you are actually doing. I am researching, I am trying to come up with creative content ideas and I am shooting 200 pictures or more just in order to find that one that really underlines the text and the message.
I am sitting day and night behind a blog post about hormone-free contraception in order to spread the world and help young woman. I am doing this because I am passionate about. Because I wake up in the middle of the night with an idea and then I go up, sit in front of my computer and type my thoughts down all night long. I am not complaining. I wouldn’t change a thing
I am not complaining
I wouldn’t change a thing
This is what I am burning for
I want good content. Content that inspires people but also content that inspires me. I don’t want to write about a boring new detox tea. Give me something that makes my creative brain bubble. If a company offers me this kind of collaboration, I am game. And I am sure that there will be a high-quality outcome.
At the end of the day, I need to pay my bills and If I want to continue what I love and what you enjoy, I need to earn money. That’s life. If I could pay with happiness, inner peace, and love -I’d do it! 😉 It might be hard to believe because Instagram is floated with ads and people pretending to love their wash t, I really just write about things I am interested in and that I would buy for myself, my mom or my best friend.
*Disclaimer: I don’t want to speak badly about platforms as likeometer or influencerdb etc. They are good anchor points for companies. However, I encourage you working for a company or in an agency to have a closer look. Sometimes it is even enough to just read a blog posts of the person or 2-3 captions.