Influencers drive the influencer marketing industry. They have interesting stories about how they came to be influencers and why they choose to live their lives via social media.
Their first-hand experience working with brands and expertise in other areas is extremely valuable to other influencers. Our influencer AMA series is where top influencers share their stories, successes and learnings with their peers and aspiring influencers.
— I always like to start by asking, how did The Dressed Chest come about? And how have you grown your following?
I liked creating outfits by mixing and matching patterns and colors since before I started my Instagram. Originally I would put my pictures onto my personal feed so that I could keep track of the things that I have already worn. It was at the insistence of my sister that I decided to put all of my outfits into their own IG. How I have grown my following is largely a mystery (even to me), but I think it has largely to do with hashtags and the consistency of my images.
— What was your first brand collaboration? How is it similar to, or different from partnerships you participate in now?
I think it was with an Australian knit tie company called Geezer. The vast majority of my pictures are of my chest, so I attract lots of brands that sell shirts and ties. This holds true now. I get partnership requests from larger companies now than before, but I try my best to work with brands that I like, regardless of size.
— I love to hear that! And speaking of brands you’ve worked with, what is the coolest brand you’ve partnered with?
Indochino was really cool to work with. The giveaway we did together brought in incredible engagement. It was also great to work with The Hill-Side and Todd Snyder. I was a big fan of these brands before I got into Instagram, so to be able to partner up with them was an honor for me.
— I’m dying know, who takes the photos of you and how long does it take to put together the look and get the right shot of it for Instagram?
I take all photos myself, using the rear-facing camera on my Galaxy S7 Edge. In most cases putting together the right look doesn’t take too much time for me, and neither does taking the photo (I take most of my shots right at my front door, literally on my way to the car to go to work). What is the most time-consuming for me is post-processing and coming up with a good caption. There are only so many puns you can make out of the words “blue” and “knit tie”, after all.
— I do love your captions, the puns always make me laugh. And speaking of writing, tell us about the Book “Read This if You Want to be Instagram Famous” and how you got involved.
The editor for the book reached out to me via email and asked me if I wanted to be a part of an upcoming book. Honestly I can’t say how he found my Instagram out (my email address is readily available on my IG feed, though how they reach my IG feed I’m not sure), but when I found out the person making the book was Henry Carroll, author of “Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs”, I couldn’t say no.
— That’s really amazing and so cool to be a part of something like that. At a time when everyone is trying to be Insta-Famous, I’m curious to know what’s the biggest challenge you face as an influencer today?
As an Instagrammer it’s been tough getting a good feel for the new photos feed. Since the photos are no longer arranged by latest posted, I need to rethink what and when I post my shots. Also, finding a good balance between staying true to your style and the requirements from brands can be a challenge at times, depending on the brand. While I try my best to accommodate the needs of a brand, I’ve had to turn down many potential partnerships because their requirements didn’t align with what I do on my Instagram.
— Influencer Marketing seems to be changing everyday and the shifting algorithms from Instagram is just one example. Do you have any predictions for Influencer Marketing in 2017 and beyond?
I’m seeing lots of Influencers diversifying their social media reach to other platforms, such as YouTube and Snapchat. I’ve also seen Influencers becoming more engaged with their audience, interacting with them through live feeds. This helps make us more authentic, and less like a walking billboard. The more real and authentic we can make ourselves, the more our followers can trust us and the brands with which we partner.
— Thank you so much for taking the time to connect with us and be a part of our AMA series. It was so great to hear your thoughts and experiences!