Adam: Thanks again for taking the time to go behind the brand. First things first, though, what is something about you that the many people who follow you don’t know?
Agnes: Oh wow, what a question right off the bat! I share so much with the audience that it’s hard to think of something that people don’t know. I’ll have to say that I do a pretty convincing cartoon impersonation, and I swear that character Agnes from Despicable Me was created with me in mind. She and I are alike in so many ways – so perhaps she’s doing an impression of me! Regardless, it’s very convincing, if I do say so myself.
Adam: How did you become an “influencer”? What is the inside story?
Agnes: To be totally transparent I became an influencer by sheer luck. I started my Instagram account in 2012 to promote my photography items that I sold via Etsy. For the first few years I literally had 60 followers and no new traffic. In 2015, I decided to post one of my ballet images to change it up. I’ve been a ballerina all my life, and with it being such an important part of my life, I thought I’d showcase an image of me in action. That one photo went viral and I surprisingly received thousands of likes, with less than 100 followers. My account kept growing from that point on, the more that I posted. Shortly after that I was approached by a social media agency and was asked if I ever thought of becoming an influencer, which is something I hadn’t ever considered before. I was really enjoying sharing that part of my life, so it started from there. I signed up with them a week later, and have continued to open up my life – especially as it relates to health and wellness – with my audience. It seems to have resonated with people, as well as with brands. I’ve luckily been able to work on many brand partnerships since the start, back in 2015.
Adam: What advice do you have for those interested in working with influencers?
Agnes: My one major piece of advice is that you should not just choose an influencer based on their following or engagement alone. Instead choose an influencer whose voice on the platform matches what you offer in terms of products or services. Obviously real engagement and followers also matter. There are many ways to “fake” an influence, so a good rule of thumb is if an influencer has, say, 100k followers, technically they should about 2000 likes and 140 comments. The followers-to-engagement-ratio needs to make sense.
Adam: What advice do you have for those interested in becoming influencers?
Agnes: Working to maintain a career as an influencer takes a lot of hard work, and it’s not always as glamorous as it seems. If you want to do it full time, you have to be consistent in everything – posting, fielding partnership requests, sourcing the best opportunities that align with your perspective, etc. Be ready to put in the long hours. When your life is on display to the world, it’s sometimes difficult to turn off work – be prepared.
Adam: What is the biggest misconception about the influencer world and life as an influencer?
Agnes: That all we do is get free products and attend cool events! Although we certainly do quite a bit of that, there is so much more that requires skills and talent such as branding your platform, styling a shoot, positioning a product or service, work with brand managers, etc., etc. ,etc. The list goes on! Like any job, we actually have to do a lot in building the business, and not all of it is fun and glamorous.
Adam: What has being an influencer taught you about branding and marketing?
Agnes: The major takeaway for me has always been that branding is key to your success. Consistency in everything, including the branding and the aesthetic of your feed – it’s hugely important and obviously a great representation of your work. Marketing your brand and choosing the right strategies to grow your account is almost just as important. You have to constantly look for ways to grow your brand, otherwise you will stay stagnant which is never a good thing in the career of an influencer.
Adam: What are your hobbies and how have they shaped you?
Agnes: I am a ballet dancer – I was dancing full time prior to becoming an influencer. It is such an important part of my life, my well-being, my health. Ballet has shaped who I am today and a lot of the teachings that I learned in ballet class since I was a child have been beneficial in helping me to grow my brand. Things like laser beam focus, the power of repetition and consistency, and striving for the next level of growth that is almost always out of reach. I attribute much of my success to the education acquired in the studio.
Adam: Who have been the biggest influences in your life and how do you pay it forward?
Agnes: My ballet teacher Julia Bourlina has been such a huge role model for me. She has taught me invaluable life lessons that I’ve applied to both my personal and professional life. As mentioned earlier, the things that I learn in a ballet class I apply to every aspect of my life. That connection is pretty amazing. I am also a fan of the teachings of Esther Hicks and the Law Of Attraction – it has transformed my life in many ways. I make an active effort to apply many of her exercises and the results have been phenomenal. For me, to be able to take a step back and continue to work towards improving my life, is really motivating.