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Some hard truths on being a micro influencer

Being a micro influencer is tough. The reality is, the majority of micro influencers are doing just as much work as the macro influencers – think content creation, engaging with their community, communicating with brands and PRs, organising shoots – but with little recognition or reward. Plus a full-time job on the side.

When they post their #ootd from Santorini, they’ve bought the outfit, bought the ticket, and bought the hotel – while at the same time creating free content that is worthy of the big budgets. And this is not to take anything away from those that are being paid to do this. I am very much in favour of all influencers being remunerated for content creation as I know 1) how much work is involved and 2) the power a campaign can have on a consumer’s purchasing habits.

After coming across an article published yesterday by Australian fashion Instablogger Brittany Daisy on attending MBFWA as a micro influencer, I was impelled to reach out and dig a bit deeper into some of the topics she touched on. Highly relevant to what we’re currently seeing in the influencer landscape, Brittany discussed how Fashion Week had her questioning her worthiness to be part of the scene.

As someone who has followed Brittany’s work for a long time, I can wholeheartedly answer that – yes girl, you are very much worthy of the scene. While she may not claim the same high numbers as the macro influencers, the quality of content she continually produces has never waned. Off the back of the article, we decided to pull Brittany aside to find out her thoughts on what it’s really like to be a micro influencer heavily involved in the Instablogging space.

We loved your article on attending MBFWA as a micro influencer. One of the things you commented on was receiving a patronising reception for being a micro influencer. Do you find this is something that happens often?
Thank you so much! Yeah, unfortunately I do. Funnily enough, this reception is less apparent within the actual influencer community. The patronisation mainly stems from individuals external to the ‘influencer landscape’ who hold the mentality that followers equal validity.

Why do you think this happens?
Without meaning to generalise, I think people can hold the perception that if you don’t have a large following – but you’re acting as if you do by attending all these cool events and promoting products on your Instagram, that you’re trying too hard. As a small scale influencer, it is quite challenging to gain exposure and get yourself out there, especially with the algorithm at play – so it’s a bit frustrating when people don’t respect you to the same degree as the larger figures, especially when you are creating content in a similar vein.

What do you think is the common misunderstanding about micro influencing in the general public?
I feel like micro-influencers are in that limbo stage where you aren’t able to make influencing your full-time job, yet you’re still spending a heck load of time on it – and I think it’s hard for people to understand how much work actually goes into it all! If you’re constantly posting on Instagram, creating content, engaging with your audience and working with brands, and your follower count isn’t increasing, you tend to lose that credibility and people begin to question your lifestyle. A lot of my work colleagues or peers at university think it’s quite fascinating that I have this other side to me online – and I feel like I often have to defend it as another actual job, not just a narcissist hobby (which it totally isn’t!)

Do you feel like when you go to media events etc you are treated differently to the bigger influencers or does everyone have a similar level of respect?
Honestly, it depends on the event. You will have the occasional event where for instance, the bigger influencers will receive a different gift bag or some sort of special treatment that somewhat segregates them from the micro-influencers – but generally the community is pretty inclusive. I am also super lucky to be riding this Insta-wave with my sister and a few friends I have made over the years, so even if the atmosphere is a bit classist, we can stick together and still have a good time.

Do you ever feel awkward or uncomfortable going to events? And if so, why is this?
Yeah, I do sometimes! It’s often intimidating arriving at an event and seeing a clique of beautiful, big influencers – especially when they are all friends. I guess when you are a micro-influencer, you can even start to question your own worthiness in regards to attending particular events or accepting certain jobs. Sometimes I undermine the fact that at the end of the day, we are all creating content and the numbers don’t always reflect the quality of such content. You have to be confident in your own worthiness!

What do you do to overcome feelings of awkwardness?
Well, like I said before, I am very fortunate in the sense that I attend most events with my sister @ellesechloe, and overcoming awkwardness is a lot easier in a pair! But for the events I do attend by myself, I just try to remember that everyone is in the same boat. Not everyone knows each other and it’s a great opportunity to make connections and hopefully some new friends in the process. It’s also important to remember that no-one is ever going to think badly of you just for being friendly!

What about when it comes to working with brands and PRs, do you think you are treated with the correct level of respect?
All the brands and PR companies I have worked with over the years have been really lovely. In fact, I feel like a lot of the work that I do receive for Instagram is because of the networks and relationships I have built within this sector of the industry. Monetarily, it’s a different story of course, as it is more common for micro-influencers to willingly commit to influencer labour without the expectation of financial gain. A lot of the time, we are willing to trade our time and efforts for the return of exposure, as it is deemed just as valuable to us if we are hoping to grow.

Within your MBFWA article, you also mention the occurrence of people with a smaller following being slammed for attending fashion events. What would you say to the critics about why you’re deserving of your spot there?
I think that we all just need to be a bit more supportive of one another. Fashion is meant to be inclusive. It is meant to celebrate diversity and enable a sense of self-expression and creativity. I think if you are creating fashion content and putting it out there for a genuine audience, then you have a right to be there. One of the most amazing aspects of the current social media ecology is that there is room for both micro and macro influencers, and there are real opportunities for lay-individuals like myself to engage in industries previously reserved for the elite. We should therefore be encouraging this movement because at the end of the day – the more diversity we have online, the better.

And to finish on a more positive note… can you tell me the best thing about being a micro influencer and why you love Instablogging?
There are so many reasons why I love Instablogging. I have worked with some of my favourite brands, get to attend amazing events, and have met so many inspiring people. Instablogging also gives me an excuse to be creative outside my day job and PHD, and I love putting myself out of my comfort zone and building upon my own self-confidence in the process. Finally, I really value the fact that I am endowed a voice and have built an audience to engage with. And despite my smaller follower count, I only want to keep trying to use my Instagram as a platform where I can make more of a positive impact to such audience.

All images: Brittany Daisy | Click here to read Brittany’s article on attending MBFWA as a micro influencer

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