So You’re Influential… Now What?

Mar
28th

“So, what are you gonna do with your Instagram?”

I was sat in an airport lounge with a girl I had just met on a recent press trip, and we had plopped down at the gate to wait for our respective flights home – me to Toronto, her to the West Coast. She was young and sweet and naive, but had a great sense of style, and her Instagram celebrity was taking off – after just one year of documenting her daily style, she was sitting close to 100k Instagram followers (all organic).

“Uhhh…. whaddya mean?” she responded absently, disengaged in the conversation as her eyes scanned the lounge for the perfect spot to take an airport outfit pic (well-lit, not too many people, but obvious we’re at the airport, ya know?). She found a spot and I snapped a few pics of her being ‘natural’ and ‘in the moment’, and when we got back to our seats with our Starbucks in tow, I asked her the question again.

“You know, what are you gonna do with this audience you have? Like, what’s next for you?” She looked at me a bit puzzled before shrugging and mumbling, “I dunno, I haven’t really thought about it,” then looked back at her phone to edit her photo before we got on the plane.

Fair enough. A year later and this same influencer is now closing in on 450k Instagram followers, her blog taking a backseat as she dedicates all of her efforts to the social sharing platform instead. Every day she posts one or more street style photos of herself to her Instagram profile, promoting the brands she wears and the campaigns they’re running, usually with a simple caption that reads, “Friday vibes” or “Casual neutrals”.

Her content is harmless and pretty and no doubt aesthetically pleasing, but at its core is also consumer-driven and hasn’t changed much save for a better photographer. She’s sitting with a massive audience of people at her fingertips, but isn’t really saying, well, anything at all. And as I sit here now with my coffee in hand and scroll through my Instagram feed, I realize she’s actually the norm – that we’re amassing huge audiences of followers without offering up much more than ‘latergrams’ of our lunch or a photo of our purse du jour.

So it got me thinking… as ‘influencers’, what are we actually doing with our influence?

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Embracing Imperfection

Mar
21st

I can remember the first time I fell neck deep into the blogging industry’s obsession with perfection.

I was sitting in my flat in the UK, with This Renegade Love still in ‘private’ mode, not yet unleashed unto the world. I had spent months creating content to load up the site, working back-and-forth with my designer on the branding and aesthetic. I wrote day and night, researched hours on end, took thousands of photos. Finally, the design and development was done. The project was complete. I was so happy with how it had turned out and so proud of the work I had done. All I needed to do now was hit ‘publish’ and it would go live.

But all of a sudden I started to think of the weight of putting myself out there online, thinking of the people who would be looking at it, the people that knew I had quit my great job to chase this pipe dream – old colleagues, Facebook friends, family, other bloggers. I had spent so much time promoting its launch, that I had raised the expectations to a place I now feared was too high. I froze. I couldn’t do it. I started telling myself that it wasn’t ready, it wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t as good as the other blogs out there. So, instead of launching it, I spent weeks obsessively scanning the pages over and over again, rereading each post, comparing it to other blogs, and editing tirelessly.

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#52Women: A Renegade Project

Mar
17th

52-women

When I started This Renegade Love, all I really wanted was to have a platform to share the stories of ordinary people who were doing extraordinary things with their lives. The people that I meet on the daily, the people that inspire me, the people with amazing stories to tell. And at first, there were loads. I had a stockpile of people I actually knew that were just killing it in life.

But lately, guys, I’ve been lacking that inspiration, that Renegade buzz – those stories that ignite the creative fire inside of me.

After chatting with a few friends who were also struggling to find their creative drive, I realized that if I wanna get my Renegade groove back, I need to grow my circle. Don’t get me wrong, I love the blogging industry most of the time, but I think we can all agree that it’s been lacking as of late. It seems that with more and more platforms to share our stories, we actually seem to have lost the art of storytelling. And bumping into the same people at the same events every week (and watching every single thing they do online on top of that) doesn’t really lend itself to fresh conversation and brilliant new ideas, know what I mean?

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6 Benefits of Instagram Insights for Bloggers

Mar
15th

instgram-insights

The moment Facebook acquired Instagram, we all knew shit would hit the fan.

Because, unfortunately, the term ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ doesn’t seem to be a phrase that Zuck is familiar with. Famous for constantly evolving its parent social app, Facebook taking over Instagram meant the death of what was simple and effective, and the dawn of innovation for the sake of staying relevant.

And now it seems as though every few months, the team is changing the way the app works, from f*cked up algorithms that no one actually wants to straight up thieving Snapchat and slapping the name ‘Instagram Stories’ on it (not gonna lie though, I deleted Snap a month ago because I’m too lazy to grow more than one channel). And still, through all these changes and all of our bitching about it, we continue to use Instagram as a main channel for brand awareness and growth. We love the app, even though sometimes it doesn’t love us back.

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One of the more recent changes was the option to create a ‘business’ account, giving brands and bloggers a number of features not available to a personal account. Called ‘Instagram Insights ‘, you gain access to in-app metrics like follower demographics and post engagement comparisons (not to mention that convenient ‘contact’ button on your account bio).

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