Today is the first day of Spring and the Persian new year! The renewal of the nature, specially evident in the beautiful city of Vancouver, is the perfect time embracing change and to reflect on the previous year, what you've learnt and how you can improve in the coming year. I am very grateful for yet another amazing year, specially for my first year working as an influencer. In this post, I wanted to sincerely share my experience in the past year, as it has been challenging, humbling, and yet rewarding.
To give you an overview, I got into the influencer marketing realm over three years ago as the Marketing Manager at Sidebuy, an influencer marketing platform connecting brands with relevant influencers and enabling mutually-beneficial collaboration between the two. So on a daily basis, I act as the liaison between brands and influencers strategizing and executing successful campaigns. You can listen in to my podcast interview with Brand it Girl to find out about my background in influencer marketing here. After a couple of years in the business, I decided to create and curate content around my interests: style, beauty, travel and fitness on a consistent basis. I was fully aware wheat I am getting myself into and was very reluctant at first, but decided to take on the challenge. I bought my domain, created my website from scratch on WIX, bought a good camera and with the help of my boyfriend who also acts as my photographer started the journey/challenge as a content creator.
Throughout the past year, I have gained many experiences that I am highly grateful for, but today I want to share with you the side of influencer marketing that not a lot of people talk about and side that is not observable through our glossy and overly-filtered Instagram posts. After a couple of months, when I saw exponential growth in my audience and brands started to reach out for sponsored campaigns, things have changed. Taking photos on beautiful days during city strolls turned into extensive ( sometimes up to 4 hours) photoshoots to capture the best shot. Somedays, we couldn't even get the perfect shot. As an influencer in Vancouver, I also had to deal with the weather challenge where it's raining for weeks straights preventing you from taking any photos.
Also, as a full-time employee, I have only a couple of hours a week to create content for the whole week and yet I am constantly pitching to brands and preparing for campaigns throughout the week. The photo is the final product of all the hard work you put into the campaign and if it's not in line with what your initial expectation, it can frustrate you immensely. There were many days where I would lose my cool with my partner who kindly takes my photos, or feel insecure about how I look in a certain photo, or just get so overwhelmed with the whole process that I just wanted to quit. These are the realities of being an influencer in this day and age where you always have to come up with engaging content for your audience who also evolve with you in a highly competitive market. Sometimes it all seems so superficial that I feel like I am losing myself in all the "likes" and "comments".
Being an influencer comes with its perks but what happens behind the scenes is far from pretty. From falling out with your boyfriend/photographer over less-than-perfect photos, feeling insecure over how you look like, constantly comparing yourself with other stunning influencers, not being able to actually enjoy your moments due to the pressure of creating content, not having sufficient time if you are a full-time employee like me, feeling too egotistical and conflicted over your incessant obsession on the numbers of likes and comments are just scratching the surface when it comes to the challenges of being an influencer. Next time you look at some pretty shots on Instagram, think twice. Think about all the hard work and sweat that went into creating and capturing that shot.
With all these challenges, knowing that I have a voice and that I can share it with 20,000 like-minded people in a matter of minutes is the number one factor that keeps me going on this journey. Getting to know other talented influencers, partnering up with world-class brands and utilizing my creativity to tell a story in an authentic manner with my audience are the other rewards of being an influencer. This year, and to be precise today, marks the day when I set a new resolution. Not allowing the challenges of being an influencer impacting me personally and not losing focus why I started my blog in the first place! Let me know what you think here. If you are an influencer, please share your opinion and let us tell our REAL story!