"As with any industry, influencers are now having to specialize" - Zhanel Bektemissova

 Today, we caught up with Zhanel Bektemissova an influencer who began their journey back in 2009, when she moved to London. Zhanel fell in love with the city and fascinated with capturing her life as well as spending time with her new born son. Check out what Zhanel had to say about her career and the outlook for Influencer Marketing in the future.

 
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Could you tell us a little bit about your background and how you started to build a following?

I moved to London, UK in 2009 with my husband and my (at the time) 1-month old son. I was inspired by the beauty of that city and started capturing the images of my life there and shared them with my close friends on Instagram. As a stay-at-home Mom, I had time on my hands to cook a lot and to go out and share those moments with my followers. This is how my journey as an Instagram blogger started.

What sort of content do you create and what content works best with your audience?

My daily life in Berlin, my children, food (both cooked at home and when we go out), our travels, and family.

What would you define Influencer Marketing as?

To me it is a form of marketing where in order to persuade target group of customers/consumers the focus is placed on an individual (or group of individuals) who has a lot of influence on that group of people.  

What brands have you worked with so far? How was it?

To-date, I was focusing primarily on building up my following. As a result, I have not had experience of working with recognized brands yet.

How do you think Influencer Marketing will evolve over the next 12 months?

Brands will continue to focus on more granular performance metrics of influencers they choose to work with. Following and reach alone are no longer enough. Increasingly, emphasis will be made on relevance, impact and engagement. Brands have access to increasingly sophisticated tools to measure those performance criteria.

How has the Influencer world evolved since you began?

Leverage of influencers on their audiences has grown exponentially. This is not a marketing fad anymore but real-life phenomena. Although competition has grown dramatically, someone with the relatively modest following (100-200k followers) but with a very focused audience, can have an outsized influence on a particular customer niche. As with any industry, influencers are now having to specialize.  

How do you feel brands are working with Influencers?

They collaborate to create quality content that is relevant to a brand’s audience and that is designed to grow that brand’s recognition with that audience.

Have you seen any brands that you feel are doing great work with Influencers?

Levis, Desegnio, Calvin Klein, and Daniel Wellington  

How do you balance your online life with offline?

There is no balance because I love what I do. I create content as I ingest life.

Which influencers inspire you and look up to?

@rianne.meijer (Rianne Meijer) @paulienriemis (Paulien Riemis)

If you could work with any brand, who would that be?

Ralph Lauren, Levis, Asos, Zara Kids, H&M, Tommy Hilfiger

What’s your favourite social platform and why?

Instagram – easy and intuitive to use, immediate and quality feedback from my users, it is a great platform to obtain useful information

YouTube – Ability to post long quality videos, flexibility, and great tools. Having grown my following on Instagram, my next goal is to multiply my following on YouTube

Where do you want to take your career as an Influencer?

 I want to grow my Instagram following to 1mm in the next 1-1.5 years. I want to involve my children in influencer marketing and have brands approach us as a family. I also want to grow my impact in a more long-form content on YouTube. My long-term goal is for my content to make an impact across national and cultural borders.

Vera Casagrande - "it’s much more than “just being active on social media”

Today we had some time to catch up with Influencer, Vera Casagrande, a fashion and travel influencer based in New York. We talked about all things Influencer Marketing and got her view on how the industry will evolve over the coming months and years! Enjoy!

 
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Could you tell us a little bit about your background and how you started to build a following?

I've devoted my last 10 years to the fashion industry as a commercial model and actress. My ever-evolving fashion and film career extends from working with iconic brands such as Nicole Miller and Zac Posen to appearing in HBO's Vinyl. My following came totally from the non-blogger route- I built it sharing daily snapshots, outfit ideas, beauty favs and NYC city life.

Is this something you do full-time?

This is definitely my full-time work, however, it’s much more than “just being active on social media”. It’s a lifestyle profession that fits into my myriad of different jobs (Modeling / Acting / Consulting on Social Media + Content Creation)

They all kind of work in unison. I really love the variety of people I get to work with, the types of work I get to do and how I fit into the equation.

What sort of content do you create and what content works best with your audience?

I love sharing things that I find useful/ beautiful/ impressive. As an all around girly-girl that typically falls under Lifestyle, Fashion (Beauty)  and Travel!

What would you define Influencer Marketing as?

“Influencers” are individuals that have an active online presence or serve as key industry leaders. Influencer Marketing from a Brand’s perspective should be harnessing the power of these brand evangelists. These are the people that are online zealously advocating their audiences why they should give their time to a product or brand. Influencer Marketing is a key component to helping customers discover, use or purchase products.

How do you think Influencer Marketing will evolve over the next 12 months?

I think it’s a moving target, however,  it’s fun to see the industry growing! I think it will evolve by new brands jumping on board and hopefully seeing less resistance to Influencer Marketing being only “just a phase”.

How has the Influencer world evolved since you began?

I didn’t come from blogging and I still don’t have a traditional “blog” online. The evolution of the industry has opened up to people like me who are using Instagram only to show their work. Brands or people can now look at my portfolio/ website/ feed/captions and credentials to see what I’m all about and if they feel that I’m a good fit to partner with.

How do you feel brands are working with Influencers?

Some Brands are on it. I’ve seen brands blow up putting all of their marketing dollars into online campaigns and working with niche influencers to grow brand awareness and really seeing success. I have also seen brands that “don’t get it” and really miss the mark with younger demographics.

Have you seen any brands that you feel are doing great work with Influencers?

@Daniel Wellington

@NYXcosmetics

Enough said.

Do you use any software to help create content?

I love Adobe Lightroom on my phone to edit photos. UNUM for organization and curation!

How do you balance your online life with offline?

I’m not a “phone addict” and I put away the phone away to really “tune in” to dinner or conversations when I’m with people. It’s more about consciousness than balance.

Which influencers inspire you and look up to?

I’m really impressed by @tezzamb - she has great style.

If you could work with any brand, who would that be?

I’m pretty excited about my (@welovecoco) CHANEL beauty box arrival. High Fashion Brands are always dreamy because they put so much into the little details. Let’s say a Chloe for good measure. :)

Tell us something about you that people might not know?

I’m fluent in Finnish! So Random. I was born in Helsinki and we immigrated to the States when I was young. You wouldn’t guess as my writing online is all in English and that my last name is…. er…. not Finnish.

What’s your favourite social platform and why?

Instagram! It’s so versatile to tell your brand story - via videos, posts, stories or I’ve seen people use the entire feed as pieces of one photo. It’s really whatever you want to make it. I think that’s great for creative people.

Where do you want to take your career as an Influencer?

To the moon! ;)

I believe in this very young industry and I’m hoping to stay apart of it for the future.

I’m hoping that my feeds and portfolio will allow me to continue connecting with incredible brands and this amazing social media community!

"As a marketing tool, Influencer Marketing is a great platform to advertise"

Today, we caught up with Yogita Agarwal, an Influencer based in India, who has been growing her following for a number of years. Yogita now blogs full-time, mainly about fashion and she creates looks that her followers are interested in. We spoke to Yogita about her career as an influencer, the brands she's been working with and what the outlook for the future of Influencer Marketing. E

Don't forget to follow her on Instagram here!

 
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Could you tell us a little bit about your background and how you started to build a following?

I am just a normal girl who had to take it from the scratch. I started with no following at all and no family background in blogging. It was tough in the beginning to build followers , to create content my followers would like but gradually it all started to fall in place. I started to build followers slowly and steadily. 

I was an admin for a shout-out page and when I used to look at the shout outs it kind of hit me that I too can start working in this field. There were many bloggers who asked for shout outs and that's when I came to know about blogging in general. 

Is this something you do full-time?

Yes, as of now blogging is something I so full time as it really asks for long hours of work. We hardly have time for anything once we get into this line. The shoots take up a lot of time and then there is a lot of editing. It takes a lot to stand where we are standing right now. 

What sort of content do you create and what content works best with your audience?

I am a fashion blogger. I recreate fashion looks which is quite liked by my followers. Small things that help me connect better with my audience also are a great help. 

What would you define Influencer Marketing as?

It's a vast field for anyone these day. With the growing market the influencers have a great chance to excel in whatever expect they want to. As a marketing tool it's a great platform to advertise. In the beginning I didn't know I would get to earn money but gradually I started to make some amount out of it. It's not huge but I am sure soon it will be good enough. 

What brands have you worked with so far? 

So far I have worked with Myntra, All about you by Deepika Padokone, Speedo,  Daniel Wellington,  Namzish, Oppo, Cutie,  Dr. Tvacha, Rajkumari Fashions, Unlimited Store,  Global desi, Stalk buy love and so many more to count. 

How do you think Influencer Marketing will evolve over the next 12 months?

In the coming 12 months the influencer market is going to evolve at a rapid fast speed. More and more people are becoming aware. Due to social media the market is going upscale every moment. People are beginning to learn it's importance. 

How has the Influencer world evolved since you began?

When I stared the influencer market wasn't that huge but slowly the market has turned out to be growing very fast all thanks to the social media. It's a nice scale To help earn followers . It's a great marketing platform to advertise for brands. 

How do you feel brands are working with Influencers?

There are so many influencers in the market that it has become difficult for them to know who is genuinely working hard and who is earning followers by some other means. 

Though the brands are doing a great job by targeting more and more influencers and giving more people a chance. 

Have you seen any brands that you feel are doing great work with Influencers?

Yes,  there are so many brands that are doing a great work with influencer. Both benefit each other in some way or the other. These collaborations help both the brand and the influencer. 

People become more interested in purchasing the stuff that we wear and it helps the brand increase their sales. 

Do you use any software to help create content?

Yes,  there are many softwares that help me in creating content. 

Not all pictures can be uploaded without editing and no video can be uploaded without proper clip editing. 

How do you balance your online life with offline?

To be honest it's quite a task. Once you become famous it becomes really difficult to manage the two. Your personal life no longer remains personal and the people become interested in knowing you better.

For that you have to share many details online which you might not want to. Blogging leaves us with no time and it's really hard to have a personal life. People get attracted to your profile when you share personal knowledge with them. Honestly it takes a lot be a blogger. 

Which influencers inspire you and look up to?

There is no doubt in this one. The influencer that inspires me the most is Santoshi Shetty.

If you could work with any brand, who would that be?

Surely Nike and Addidas and so many more brands as such. 

Tell us something about you that people might not know?

The life of a blogger is like an open book. We have nothing to hide from the audience. One thing that people don't know about me as a person is that I don't like putting on makeup but our job profile we need to put it on and there is no other feeling than getting off makeup after you are done with a shoot. I am also a crazy, fun loving,  person. 

What’s your favourite social platform and why?

My favourite  platform is instagram as it gives more opportunities Tu us bloggers. It helps us build more audience. 

Where do you want to take your career as an Influencer?

In the the near future I want myself to have a bright future in blogging as well as I want to try my hand at acting. These two things are something I want in life and as an influencer I want myself to be a well known blogger. 

I hope I will be able to manage the two simultaneously.

Samantha Russell - "I didn’t know anyone in the city and was curious to learn more about my surroundings"

Today we caught up with Samantha Russell, an Influencer from the USA who's now living in London. Samantha's predominantly on Instagram and began creating content when she first moved to London two years ago and is known for her distinct and colourful style! Check out what she had to say about growing her following and the Influencer Marketing industry below!

 
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Tell us about you, your background and how you came to start on social media?

My start on Instagram was somewhat an accident! When I moved to London 2 years ago I didn’t know anyone in the city and was curious to learn more about my surroundings. I started following London geotags and hashtags on Instagram as a way to learn about cool spots around London, and eventually, I went to visit them and snap my own photos. Before I knew it, my account had grown and evolved into what it is today.

Tell us about what you do on your social channels? 

My Instagram account focuses on fun photography, vibrant colors, travel and style! I have a full-time corporate job in London, but my Instagram page focuses on my passions in my personal life.

Sum up your what you do in 5 words?

Travel in style and colour!

What social channel are you most passionate about and why?

Instagram is where you can find me! I like connecting with people and seeing how they turn ideas into photos. It’s a new form of art and I enjoy getting creative with it!

How often do you post and update your audience? What content works best for you?

I post about 4-5 times a week. I don’t want to inundate my audience with too many posts, but I also want to continuously provide interesting, bold, and new content. It seems vibrant posts of me in interesting locations are the most liked!

When did you first start seeing you were building a following? How quickly have you grown your following?

When I first moved to London, I was using Instagram as a general user, and only had 500 followers! When I started spending more time in the app and experimenting with my own photos and editing skills, I quickly saw a response. I’ve grown to over 60k followers in just under 2 years.

How do you stand out on social media? What makes you different?

I try to keep Instagram fun and am not pressured to be like everyone else. So many fashion/travel influencers have beautiful photos, but many of them seem the same to me (the same Lightroom filters, the same pose, the same comments...) I am not afraid to take risks and be BOLD in my photography, which is what I think makes me stand out! When people see a colourful, fun, stylish photo, I want them to automatically associate it with me and my personality ☺

What does your typical day look like?

I’m a working girl! But I still make time for my followers. On my commute into the office I usually respond to comments from the previous day, and interact with other users on the platform. I’ll also take 30 min or so during lunch, and then again when I leave the office. On the weekends I am exploring new places and taking more awesome photos!

Are you friends with other influencers?

Yes! Instagram has been a great way to connect with other influencers and make new friends in a new city! It’s also a great way to learn from others and be exposed to other view points and ideas.

Which influencers do you admire? Why?

@Dashleyworldtour – A fun travel couple I met while travelling! We’ve stayed in touch and I love their creative approach to photography.

@Leahshoup – She seems to connect well with her followers and is very active!

@this.is.the.milk – Beautiful photography and captions that make me laugh out loud! She’s passionate about Spain and travel and you can easily see that from her IG and her blog.

@theblondiewanderer – An Argentine abroad who takes stunning photos! She connects well with her followers and has really developed a micro community.

What are your ambitions with social media? Where do you want to take it?

I hope to cross 100k+ and be able to reach more people! I want to inspire people to be happy in whatever lifestyle they choose, and that travel doesn’t have to be out of reach. I’m all about happy vibes and just hope I can bring a smile to people’s faces on a regular basis ☺

What do you enjoy most about social media?

Connecting with people! That is the ultimate goal of social media, isn’t it? Staying connected no matter where you are in the world.

How do you think brands are working with influencers at the moment?

I think brands have realized that in order to capture the attention of people nowadays, they need to get on your phone! That’s why so many brands have turned to influencer marketing and why I think it’s working so well. I think this trend will only continue to grow.

What brands have you worked with? 

Daniel Wellington

Ace Hotel New Orleans

Sunnylife

Bubbleology

Pure Boats Amsterdam

Travelling to Portugal

Tiare Hawaii

BallieBallerson

Do you use any tools to help you with your content? 

The photoshop apps are my best friend! Lightroom and Photoshop Fix are two of my favourites, along with Snapseed.

What’s the piece of content you’ve created you’re most proud of? Why? 

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bc5B3RbHFhI/

I believe this photo perfectly embodies ME – fun, stylish, colourful and HAPPY! That’s the feeling I hope to instil in my followers with every post.

What do you see as the future for Influencer Marketing? How will it evolve?

I think brands will greatly increase their influencer marketing campaigns. That also means that the competition among influencers will become harder and will force influencers to stay on top of their content.

Where can people follow you? 

Please follow me on Instagram @thecolorsofsam! >> https://www.instagram.com/thecolorsofsam/

 

#DELETE FACEBOOK - WHO WILL YOU BLAME?!

 

Micro-Targeting vs Manipulation; the line between these marketing strategies is thin. Surely Facebook should know the difference?

SOCIALLY POWERFUL POV

Businesses can legally buy consented to data from Facebook, giving them an insight into demographics, which’ll then allow them to market themselves in the relevant spaces. Cambridge Analytica accessed data that was collected on 270,000 users via a personality quiz in 2014 by a Cambridge University professor. From there, they managed to harvest the information of 50 million people. The company was later hired for target advertising by the Trump campaign. This is the same political consultancy who were recently exposed for saying: “It’s no good fighting an election campaign on the facts because actually, it’s all about the emotions.”

Facebook found out about this, and requested that the data be terminated; we are not aware of any significant consequence that was acted on by Facebook for Cambridge Analytica’s behaviour.

Mark Zuckerberg released a statement following the leak of this news and days of silence. In a Facebook status, he wrote, "In 2014, to prevent abusive apps, we announced that we were changing the entire platform to dramatically limit the data apps could access." The data was accessed by the quiz creator in 2013, Facebook only learned of Cambridge Analytica's possession of it in 2015.

Facebook has a history of making users feel uneasy with its privacy settings or lack thereof. This theme started with them creating a complicated account deletion process way back in 2009, and has continued throughout their timeline with the platform still being able to track your movements across the web whether you’re logged in or not through their automatic access to your cookies.

Now we use Facebook too and would like to think that they are blameless, we would like to say that the actions of Cambridge Analytica.. are entirely on the company. That a bad company managed to craftily take advantage of a well-run system.

But Facebook has had nearly a decade of backlash and controversy regarding the safety of its users. And while companies such as Cambridge Analytica operate in sly ways, we struggle to believe that Facebook couldn’t have put stricter policies in place to protect its platform and the people who make it what it is.

A lot of us have been using the platform for nearly 10 years; to maintain relationships as long-term as this one takes trust, transparency and in this case, the feeling of control that users felt they had. ‘Had’ being the operative word, as Facebook’s value has dropped by about $50 million since Tuesday, a total of 7% and their biggest downfall in 4 years. Even WhatsApp co-founder joined the #deletefacebook Twitter Trend. What're you predicting for the platform moving forward?

 

Kyra Weston - "I love YouTube because I find film challenging yet exciting!  "

Today we caught up with Kyra Weston, a freelance creator from Calgary, Canada. Kyra noticed her following started to grow when she went travelling for six months and hasn't looked back since. Check out what Kyra had to say in our latest Influencer blog!

 
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Tell us about you, your background and how you came to start on social media?

I’ve always loved social media. I began with using Instagram to post my photographs taken while I travelled. As I grew my passion for photography and film, my Instagram became the key platform to showcase my work. It has only grown from there.

Tell us about what you do on your social channels? 

I currently work as a freelance photographer, content creator and videographer. I provide creative services to clients. The services that I do for clients greatly assists with my own personal social influence. I create inspirational travel content through high-end dreamy imagery and video.

Sum up what you do in 5 words?

Travel, Photography, Videography, Style, Inspiration

What social channel are you most passionate about and why?

I would say that I am most passionate about Instagram, because I am a photographer and love posting my images. Secondly, I would say I love YouTube because I find film challenging yet exciting!  

How often do you post and update your audience? What content works best for you?

My travel content works best for me. I post every other day and try to update my audience as frequently as possible.

When did you first start seeing you were building a following? How quickly have you grown your following?

I started to see my audience grow last year when I decided to travel for six months. I have grown my following by 10k in only 4 months.

How do you stand out on social media? What makes you different?

I’m different because I want to inspire others through travel. I want to showcase high-end imagery that urges my audience to experience the world and new cultures.

What does your typical day look like?

A typical day in my life starts off with coffee and checking my Instagram feed. Once I’ve been updated, I get ready to get to work. By 4 pm I typically come home and work on my side hustles, including my social media and blog. There’s a lot of work to do in my life, but I certainly don’t pass up on play. On weekends, I am always shooting, planning upcoming trips or finding new events and restaurants to go to with friends.

Are you friends with other influencers?

Yes, I am friends with other influencers. I feel as though I have a lot in common with other influencers.

Which influencers do you admire? Why?

I admire Gypsea Lust (@gypsea_lust), Do You Travel (@doyoutravel), Taylor Cut Films (@taylorcutfilms), Sam Kolder (@sam_kolder), Janni Deler (@jannid).

All of these influencers travel and use exceptional film/videography in their content. I am constantly inspired by them to push my limit as a videographer/photographer/content creator.


What are your ambitions with social media? Where do you want to take it?

My goal is to grow my audience to a point where I can earn a full-time income by creating exceptional content for travel brands. I also want to use my influence to help ocean conservation by creating an e-commerce clothing store that donates proceeds to cleaning up our oceans.

What do you enjoy most about social media?

I love that I can make it what I want. I can be as creative as possible, and share my unique voice.

What do you think of using social media for good-cause? 

I love that! This is a large portion of why I want to grow my audience. I hope that with my e-commerce store, I can give back to ocean conservation.

How do you think brands are working with influencers at the moment?

I believe brands are shifting towards using influencers because it is the most accessible form of advertising. People love to be inspired by other people, and brands know that. I believe that we are all shifting towards the film, and brands are using content creators to help them communicate their messages in a creative, inspiring way.

What brands have you worked with? 

Google: https://www.kyrawestonblog.com/blog/2017/12/5/traveling-to-puerto-vallarta-mexico-with-the-google-pixel-2  

Accor Hotel Group: https://www.kyrawestonblog.com/blog/2017/12/27/o8vd0bveamgjhtq0qcy3x55sxsjsay

World Wide Adventure Guides: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wobsBoucIbs

Medium Watches: https://www.instagram.com/p/BREGze2hhRv/?taken-by=kyraweston

101 Watches: https://www.instagram.com/p/BIvYJhEgFkc/?taken-by=kyraweston

Do you use any tools to help you with your content? 

Yes, I use Lightroom for editing my photographs, Premiere Pro for editing my video content, Canva for Pinterest posts, Squarespace for blogging, Grammarly for proofreading, Evernote for blog writing.

What’s the piece of content you’ve created you’re most proud of? Why? 

I am most proud of my Maldives travel video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8clOn33Ibo

I am proud of this video because it helped me grow as a videographer. I spent countless of hours learning as much as I could from some of the best videographers like Sam Kolder, Taylor Cut Films and Rory Kramer. I really applied myself to achieve creative post-production quality.  

What do you see as the future for Influencer Marketing? How will it evolve?

I believe that we are shifting more towards video content. I believe that influencer marketing will be the essential way to advertise, and it will only grow from here.

Where can people follow you? 

Instagram: @kyraweston

Blog: www.kyrawestonblog.com

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuPEuZchwFrqAyTyFxZxSAw

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kyrawestonblog

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kyrawestonblog

Bloglovin: https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/kyra-weston-blog-18777369

Lucy and Lentils - "I love the Instagram community - you meet, so many like-minded people"

 

Today, we caught up with Influencer and blogger, Lucy and Lentils. Lucy's background and how she started, was all down to the food she was eating and not being excited by what she saw on the plate. She felt unhealthy, sluggish and lathargic, she knew she had to make a change. We explored her background in detail and found out her ambitions for the future!

 
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Tell us about you, your background and how you came to start on social media?

I started my Instagram channel @lucy_and_lentils whilst studying Interior Architecture at university. I initially started it, in the hope to become more inspired in the kitchen and eat a better-rounded diet.

Tell us about what you do on your social channels? 

My social channels and blog are all recipe creations that I have concocted in my kitchen after work or at weekends. I try to inspire people to be more confident in the kitchen and show that delicious meals don’t always require excellent culinary skills.

I have a degree in Interior Architecture, however, have focused my work on creating content for an interior design company.

Sum up your what you do in 5 words?

Create tasty, plant-based food!

What social channel are you most passionate about and why?

I love the Instagram community because you ‘meet’ so many like-minded people with a love for good food. From starting my channel I frequently meet with other foodies across the country which is always fun – picture man vs. food kind of vibe with Instagram too.

How often do you post and update your audience? What content works best for you?

I try to post each day on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to show different recipe ideas. I find my lunch box posts always get a great reaction as people love inspiration to spice up your lunch box.

When did you first start seeing you were building a following? How quickly have you grown your following?

It has been a fairly steady process. Between studying at university, having a full-time job as an interior designer and then a content creator, I have always used my social media channels as a hobby and a creative outlet.

I remember when the Instagram algorithm worked in our favour and jumped 10,000 followers in one week!

How do you stand out on social media? What makes you different?

It’s so hard to stand out on social media due to trends being followed by so many other people. Something I aim to do, is have a very real and honest approach to cooking. Instead of preaching about superfoods and getting a little carried away with certain diet types, I try to keep a very real and honest review about my day / food. I think social media can make certain people feel alienated or alone, whereas I try to show the very normal side to my life as well as the cool projects I get to work on.

What does your typical day look like?

I usually bike to work to start at 7.30am so I can get home, run to the gym then spend the evening creating new recipes, sharing content or carrying out freelance work for companies. It’s a very hectic schedule but it’s fun!

Are you friends with other influencers?

Yes, I have met up with foodies frequently in London which is always lovely, such as @rebelrecipes, @shisodelicious @bettinas_kitchen @HoneyandRoots, and @foodbymaria.

I have also got a lovely group of blogger and influencer friends based around Nottingham (my current home) which is always fun to have a catch-up and see what everyone is producing from all walks of life.

Which influencers do you admire? Why? 

There are many influencers that I admire for many different reasons, whether that is because of their charitable work, raising awareness for plastic free options, or creating absolutely amazing content. People like Gaz Oakley from @avantgardevegan are always inspiring to see such a business-driven approach to their social media channels.

What are your ambitions with social media? Where do you want to take it?

I would love to have my own café somewhere, potentially a cookbook and eventually work somewhere like Waitrose Magazine, recipe creating and photographing. It was looking at the Waitrose food magazines that inspired me to try and better my photography skills so it would be a beautiful circle to eventually find my career there.

What do you enjoy most about social media?

Engaging with people and seeing people recreate my recipes. It is the most humbling experience to receive a photo of someone trying one of my creations and to hear how easy it was to make.

What do you think of using social media for good-cause? 

I think it’s really important to use the tool to promote local business and charities. I always try and take at least one post a week to discuss an issue that matters to me – such as reducing plastic waste and leaving tips on how to do so.

How do you think brands are working with influencers at the moment?

I have been very lucky in the projects I have worked on, mainly due to the ability to be creative and in style with my ethos and message I try to shout about.  If I am promoting a specific product, I try to incorporate it into a recipe that people would want to recreate, making sure I’m not simply placing a random product throughout my feed.

If I’m working with a brand, it is really important that the content has relevance to my audience and doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb as a rather obvious product placement, which let’s face it, never has the desired effect.

I for one am a little fed up of seeing very beautiful people standing with some kind of diet tablet and demanding you go out and buy a lifetime supply to help you look like them, (I say with tongue and cheek of course) but the main message is people are tired of seeing shameless ads that have no real relevance to your usual content.

What brands have you worked with? 

I have been lucky to work with a range of fantastic companies and brands. I have been lucky to work with a range of fantastic companies and brands. The most exciting one was definitely Waitrose #ChristmasTogether campaign, as I used to flick through their magazines and recipe cards looking for inspiration, so to be asked to create something for them was so humbling.

I have worked with Tesco, MonBento, Organic UK, Heinz, Nuttvia, The Last Straw Campaign, Flora, Mornflake, and Love Raw to name a few – all lovely projects.

 

Tesco Projects: http://lucyandlentils.co.uk/tag/tesco/

 

Nuttvia Chocolate Banana Bread http://lucyandlentils.co.uk/banana-and-chocolate-marble-bread/

 

Heinz Lazy Weekday Recipe Video: http://bit.ly/2m0MHno

 

Waitrose Project: http://www.waitrose.com/content/waitrose/en/home/recipes/recipe_directory/l/lucy-and-lentilswinterspicedbutternutsquashtart.html

 

MonBento Project: https://www.instagram.com/p/BeTl5KZD5Kr/?taken-by=lucy_and_lentils
 

Do you use any tools to help you with your content? 

I have recently found apps that help you see what your page will look like before posting. You can also draft what you want to say – which is always helpful when you’ve realised you haven’t posted any content for the day and are desperately trying to think of something profound to say!

There are loads of free apps for this such as UNUM which is great.

As for editing, I am a very lazy Instagrammer, as I use the app to edit most of my content. A favourite with food bloggers is definitely LightRoom due to the vast array of presets you can create to help your page feel established and from the same palette of tones.

What’s the piece of content you’ve created you’re most proud of? Why? 

The most exciting one was definitely Waitrose #ChristmasTogether campaign, as I used to flick through their magazines and recipe cards looking for inspiration, so to be asked to create something for them was so humbling. I created a spiced butternut tart topped with pomegranate jewels, brussels sprouts leaves and pistachios.

Where can people follow you? 

Instagram: @lucy_and_lentils

Twitter: @LucyandLentils

Facebook: @LucyandLentils

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgFYGFtHW9alyzItE0Qa3mQ

Website: www.lucyandlentils.co.uk

Vicky Fleetwood - England Rugby World Cup Winner!

We caught up with Vicky Fleetwood, a Professional Rugby Player, who won the Rugby World Cup with England, she now has 65 International Caps! Vicky saw her following begin to rocket around the same time as major tournaments. Let's see what she had to say and how Influencer Marketing is now involved in her life!

 
vicky-fleetwood-rugby-international-influencer-blog
 

Tell us about you, your background and how you came to start on social media?

I’m a professional rugby player and qualified personal trainer. I started on social media to engage with fans about the game, but I also use my personal training and gym expertise to post about my own training. I like to follow other fitness and nutrition experts in order to broaden my knowledge. 

Tell us about what you do on your social channels? 

Most of my content is gym or rugby based, but I also have a few beauty or physique posts. Whilst sport is important to me, I’m also a big fan of beauty and lifestyle. How I look and feel is just as important to me as how I play. most of the time I am a sweaty mess- but hopefully I’m doing it in style!

Sum up your what you do in 5 words?

Rugby, fitness, strength, empowerment, individuality. 

What social channel are you most passionate about and why?

Instagram because a picture (or video) says a thousand words. 

How often do you post and update your audience? What content works best for you?

I use stories most days, but like to post around once a week. My posts tend to be thought through, and as I don’t really like a cluttered timeline myself, that’s then reflected in how often I post. 

When did you first start seeing you were building a following? How quickly have you grown your following? 

My core following has always been rugby fans, this started on twitter and then has translated onto Instagram. Around major rugby tournaments, I saw followers increase. I’ve grown my following over a year and a half and like to engage with the ones that send questions. 

How do you stand out on social media? What makes you different? 

I’m not just a fitness and gym influencer, I’m a full-time athlete and have lots to show and empower women with- around rugby and being strong etc 

What does your typical day look like? 

I have an early start- 5.40 get up, because I live in London, and training takes place 1 hour 30 away. We have 2-3 sessions per day ranging from rugby through to weights or fitness etc 

Are you friends with other influencers?

A lot of my colleagues are influencers in the sporting world- however, not many of them are as active on Instagram. They mainly use Twitter. 

Which influencers do you admire? Why?  

@zannavandijk- she’s made fitness accessible to all and talks about vegan eating and inspiring other women. @thetinytank- she doesn’t take herself too seriously has shown her transformation over the years and is now at a happy medium. @aliceliveing started with nutrition and has recently turned to fitness. She knows she’s not the best in this field and talks about always wanting to learn and help others.

What are your ambitions with social media? Where do you want to take it? 

I’d like to grow my following and be able to use my expertise in the fitness and rugby world to inspire others 

What do you enjoy most about social media?

You can say quite a lot with just a picture or video, lots of people can relate to stuff and you can follow people that are like-minded and get inspiration every day

What do you think of using social media for good-cause? 

I think that it’s great because you can reach an audience at scale immediately.  

How do you think brands are working with influencers at the moment? 

Using influencers to show how their product looks/ can be used and what they think of it. I think it works quite well because often you want to have the same things as people that you look up to. 

What brands have you worked with? 

Canterbury https://instagram.com/p/BbpfqeThbBI/

Holland and Barrett https://instagram.com/p/BbhUr9eh3kq/

Smugglettes https://instagram.com/p/BZB047XloIy/

SlayerLayer  https://instagram.com/p/BMbppiPjIpr/

Band together app https://instagram.com/p/Baj-URThnN_/

MyProtein https://instagram.com/p/BQp6VBklDKd/

Do you use any tools to help you with your content? 

Pic collage 

Hyperlapse 

VidStitch 

iMovie 

What’s the piece of content you’ve created you’re most proud of? Why? 

https://instagram.com/p/Bcc2Nc3B0-n/

I’m really proud of this video because it’s had a lot of views, and lots of people have said that they’ve been inspired or can relate to it. 

What do you see as the future for Influencer Marketing? How will it evolve? 

I think things will become less about trying to hit numbers and more about the quality of user-engagement. People love talking about YouTube views but how many are completed or make an action off the back of it?

Where can people follow you?

Instagram @vickyfleetwood_

Twitter @vickyfleetwood