Fancy a career change? On Day One of the IMAGE Beauty Festival, powered by Samsung, a panel of industry experts shared their top tips for aspiring beauty influencers. Here are five things they think you should know...
Some people mightn't think it, but being a beauty influencer is hard work. On the first day of the IMAGE Beauty Festival, we hosted a panel of industry experts to learn what it takes to succeed.
Talent manager Jules Fallon and leading Irish beauty influencers Triona McCarthy and Rosie Connolly-Quinn told IMAGE contributing editor Melanie Morris about how to turn 'likes' into lolly and loot.
Speaking at the jam-packed Samsung Beauty Theatre, they shared their top five tips:
Create a strategy
Jules Fallon says it's hugely important to find an agent to help you create a strategy. This strategy should include everything from where you want to be in five years to figuring out your demographic.
"Don’t just start taking and posting pictures," she explains. It's important to know who your followers are, how old they are, whether they're predominantly male or female and what's important to them.
Jules adds how an agent can help determine what brands are best for you to work with; which brands are in line with your values and those of your audience. There's no point posting things on social media if your audience isn't interested.
On a business level, Rosie Connolly-Quinn says having an agent can be helpful when it comes to signing contracts. It helps to have someone on-hand who understands documents like these so that you can focus on creating content.
Lastly, the experts recommend reviewing your strategy after some time has passed. If things are going well and your followers are growing at a steady rate, stick with it and continue doing what you know.
Engage your audience
To really succeed as a beauty influencer, the panel agrees it's important to keep your audience engaged.
"Don’t be about ‘me, me, me’ all of the time," says Jules. You have to make your followers feel like you’re talking to them, not at them.
Less is more; you don't have to post online all day, every day; just make sure that whatever you put up is of high quality and gets your followers engaged.
Build your own brand
"The day you decide your social media is your ‘career’, be mindful of what you post," says Jules. She explains how your Instagram grid is like a professional gallery. It should be a collection of your best posts and be in-line with your new, professional brand.
"If it’s not in-line with your professional brand, don’t put it on the grid," she says. "It’s not just about pretty pictures. It’s about creating a strategy for your future".
She goes on to say that Instagram stories are different from the Instagram grid. Your 'stories' is where you can express more personality and show both the highs and lows.
Not only that, she says even people with a few hundred followers should get in touch with press offices. You're the 'influencers of the future' they'll be looking to down the line.
Follow your own path
There's no right or wrong way to become a beauty influencer. "I did not plan on this becoming my job. I was working in Arnotts as a personal shopper when I became pregnant with Harry," explains Rosie.
"I loved looking at other people's fashion. I noticed I was online a lot; looking at Pinterest." Rosie decided to share some of her own maternity style online too.
"Instagram had just started," she says, "and I was only followed by people I knew... family and friends. Then my followers just started to grow; they were mostly people who were pregnant too. It happened organically."
She adds how Stila was the first brand to approach her with work. "They asked me if I wanted to do a masterclass; they gave me a chance. I didn’t know how it worked; I was like ‘do I have to pay them for this?’"
When her six-month maternity leave was over, Rosie realised she didn't want to return to her old job. She'd found something that suited her lifestyle; something she loved.
Similarly, Triona McCarthy says she didn't follow a set path either. "I wanted to become a make-up artist and beauty therapist," she told the crowd. "I was in love with Rob Lowe and he always seemed to be going out with make-up artists..." she joked. "But I was the worst beauty therapist".
Triona then ventured into fashion; studying in the same college as Louise Kennedy and Don O’Neill. After that, she joined the team at Brown Thomas before joining Ireland AM as a stylist.
Unexpectedly, Triona landed a beauty writing job at the Independent. Here she put her own face on the beauty pages, rather than a generic model. She also wrote in the first person which meant readers could get to know her. Before long, she had developed a loyal following who then started to follow her on social media.
Stick to your guns
When it comes to being a beauty influencer, the panel agree it's important to stay true to yourself and stick to your guns.
"It's all about realism," says Jules. "When I look at Triona and Rosie, I say, 'Thank god – she’s normal; she’s a mother; she's got a personality...’
"Both of these guys deliver beautiful content," she adds. "You don’t have to post every day, but make sure it’s good quality".
On the point of making sure things are of high quality, Rosie revesals "for every outfit photo I post, there are 50 of the same one. It all takes time".
As for branded content (AKA #ad and #spon), Triona says, "I say 'no' to paid content more than I say 'yes'. I only work with brands I genuinely use myself.
"When I work with a brand, I don’t plan. I say, 'I will post at some stage in the next week', rather than sticking to strict guidelines. I do it authentically and be true to myself."
Rosie backs this up too. "I write my own captions. Sometimes a brand will want you to use their own caption, but it’s okay to say 'no' if it’s not right for you.
"I also tell them when is the best time for me to post online because I know my audience... It’s in their best interest."
Join us tomorrow
Want to hear more expert advice like this? Day one of IMAGE Beauty Festival may have come to an end, but there are still some tickets for day two available. If you'd like to join us for more great discussions and pampering sessions, nab your last-minute tickets below:
Photos: IMAGE Media
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