TitleInfluencer: Building Your Social Brand in an Age of Media 

Author: Brittany Hennessey

Format: I read the Audible version (Also available on eBook and in paperbook)

Length: 256 pages

An image reads,

I saw the book Influencer, on a fellow book blogger’s website. The review was so good that you could say I was ‘influenced,” by the blogger to purchase it! I am not a social media “influencer” in the sense that Hennessey is writing about; however, I am a book blogger and indie author. As a writer, I know just how important it is to take control of one’s social media image. Although Hennesy’s book is targeted toward lifestyle, fashion, parenting, travel, and beauty bloggers, she had lots of great information in here that would apply to anyone whose career requires them to get noticed. With a little imagination, you could take Hennesy’s tips and apply them to any form of content creation, from writing to vlogging. Hennessey’s book could also be useful for nonprofits and other organizations who are trying to figure out ways to extend their social media reach.

I found Influencer, to be completely fascinating and I read it in a single day. Hennessey focuses most of her attention on the use of Instagram but her tips could be applied to other social media platforms. I was grateful for the emphasis on Instagram because it is a platform about which I want to learn more. I was fascinated by her description of what goes into the creation of all those beautiful images on Instagram. For example, I had no idea that many people hire a personal photographer or someone to edit their photos (I’m just lucky if I can get my hubby to hold the camera long enough to snap a quick pic of my Chihuahua and I!).

Here are some fun facts I learned from Influencer. I’m writing them down here because I want to remember them for myself but I think that you may also find these to be interesting, especially if you are a fellow blogger:

  1. Make certain that your Instagram has your e-mail clearly listed in the bio section
  2. The number of followers you have is important but brands also want to see your engagement level
  3. Aspiring influencers  should have a presence on the “big four.” The big four are: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram- I’ve found that Twitter can be a great place for writers! Click here to read some of my Twitter tips.
  4. Right now, most opportunities for attracting paying work and monetizing one’s blog come through Instagram.
  5. Consider setting up a Google Alert for your name
  6. Make sure your Instagram and Twitter feed are clearly connected to your blog- I can speak to this one from personal experience. There are many bloggers that I would like to follow on Instagram and Twitter but it can be challenging to find their accounts, especially if their handle is different.
  7. Try to have your handle be the same on all platforms (Hooray! I’m doing this one right. You can find me on Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads @BeckieWrites)
  8. A “take over,” on Instagram is when a brand will pay you to post three consecutive photos or videos about their product. It is called a “take over,” because the content literally “takes over” the entire first row of your Instagram feed. As a book blogger, the phrase “take over,” meant something a bit different to me, so this was interesting to know.
  9. The book includes concrete tips on how to approach brands and pitch your blog. Previously, I had never thought of actually approaching a brand; however, I suppose it is a concept similar to querying a publisher.
  10. Be yourself and still be professional. Be your best professional self.
  11. The only way to get what you want is to go for it!
  12. Pick your “hot button,” topic and let it guide your content. What are you most passionate about?
  13. Be yourself and make connections
  14. Skills are important but knowledge is necessary
  15. You can’t do it all, so enlist others to help!  Most influencers, Instagram stars, vloggers, and bloggers have some kind of help or assistance. Many of them hire a camera person, editor, or even a family member to help them by editing videos, taking pictures, or answering e-mails. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes of our favorite social media stars that helps to make their content so high quality.
  16. Part of the reason brands pay influencers to create content is so that the influencer will have an actual budget with which to work. Ideally, sponsored posts should be even more outstanding than organic content because the influencer can hire a camera person or rent a location.
  17. Know your audience. Watch what your audience is watching. Don’t steal from other creators but allow yourself to be inspired by them. Furthermore, remember, your audience may not always be who you expect! As a faith and book blogger, I thought that only other bookworms would be interested in my writing; however, I’ve met so many great bloggers from all spheres. I’ve connect with parenting bloggers, lifestyle bloggers, travel bloggers, and more!
  18. What makes you different from everyone else? Be true to your personality and be authentic. What makes you unique? Work to find your niche and find your voice.
  19. Finally, and most importantly, being nice is far more important than the number of followers you have. Being nice wins out in the end every time.

 

Some Great Quotes:

“Art and commerce have always required balance.”

“Why not me? Someone has to win- someone has to succeed. Why not me?” – (This is a slight paraphrase).

“Say yes and figure out the details later.”

“Ask for forgiveness and not permission.”

“Give freely and don’t hesitate.”

 

Conclusion:

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning more about social media. Influencer, is honest, succinct, informative, and entertaining. It reminds me of the books Lean In and Feminist Fight Club. It was a fast and fascinating read. I also enjoyed hearing Hennessey narrate her own work. She brought something very special and personal to the performance.