Lessons From Micro Influencers: Part I

Photo Credit: Dylan Nolte

Photo Credit: Dylan Nolte

While I have interviewed a variety of social media influencers as part of my Inside influence series in Thrive Global, I wanted to share insights from recent conversations with a number of micro influencers as part of a special three-part blog series. I posed six questions to the following seven micro influencers:

- Amber Renae a.k.a. @theamberrenae
- Carrie Forrest a.k.a. @cleaneatingcarrie
- Griffin Wallace a.k.a. @griffin_wallace
- Katie Moseman a.k.a. @recipeforperfection
- Kavita Channe a.k.a. @kavitachanne
- Lauren Mims a.k.a. @currentlycolorado
- Luci Petlack a.k.a. @lucismorsels

The first question was a pretty basic one - How did you become a micro influencer? - but a question that I believe readers can learn a lot from. I am a strong believer that there is no single path to success, and my interviews with many successful leaders has only reinforced that belief. My conversations with influencers and micro influencers further illustrate that there are many ways one can make things work, and it is always interesting to hear how different people have gotten to where they are today. Here are their answers in full:

Amber Renae: I was always incredibly passionate about forming connections and nurturing those connections online. I love educating and empowering people to live their best lives and my online presence became a way for me to reach more people and change more people’s lives. It became a natural progression from my online learning platform where I teach upcoming entrepreneurs various business and life skills such as in my latest e-course Influencer Nation which helps people grow and monetize their audience.

Carrie Forrest: I started blogging almost 10 years ago as a healthy food and lifestyle blogger. My site is Clean Eating Kitchen: https://www.cleaneatingkitchen.com. I’ve built a loyal audience in the gluten-free and dairy-free niche. My narrow focus allows me to connect with women who are recovering from chronic disease and who are looking for easy recipes and healthy living tips to feel better. I have an MBA in marketing and entrepreneurship from the University of Southern California and a MPH in nutrition from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Griffin Wallace: I remember back in my freshman year of college 2012. Instagram was still an infant at this point but growing at an alarming rate. I followed this guy named @lavihumanhair or something like that and saw him selling a ton of his product (hair extensions) just through Instagram and I remembered thinking..."If this guy can sell hair extensions through Instagram and buy a Porsche there is something big here". Then I started to grow my Instagram by just any way I could, finding new people to follow, engaging with them, etc...I have a mere 16.3k followers which is a small following in the grand scheme of things but if I can "Influence" my following to make any decisions that in and of itself is "influence". I started to grow my following while I was in college by just documenting the fun things we did as college students. Whether that be going to the gym with a group of friends, or shotgunning beers, people seemed to enjoy the fun and that I was always doing something. Fast forward to today I have a big following of other up and coming micro influencers that look to me on guiding them on how to grow their small personal brands into something worthwhile, something influential.

Katie Moseman: Back in 2014 I started a food blog called "The Perfect Brownie," which was themed around the idea of searching for the perfect brownie recipe. By networking online with other food bloggers, I discovered Sunday Supper, a company that organized themed link-ups and coordinated influencer marketing campaigns for food and beverage brands. I participated in my first paid campaign with Sunday Supper, after which I decided to rebrand my blog as "Recipe for Perfection" so I could create all kinds of food and beverage content, rather than just blog about brownies. (Katie recently went beyond the world of social media and wrote a book called the Gluten Free World Tour Cookbook: Internationally Inspired Gluten Free Recipes in which she shares some of her favorite recipes.)

Kavita Channe: I started using Instagram in 2011 and naturally started posting about my favorite things...whether relating to my travels, fitness, my career or my favorite indulgences and/or products. My following just kind of grew over the years as I grew. It’s been a fun evolution and I’m happy to share a bit of my life... and to inspire and be inspired by the people I get to connect with!

Lauren Mims: While I was in college I noticed the popularity of Instagram start to increase and felt that it'd be smart to get invested in that for my public relations career. I landed free flights from American Airlines for a year and began traveling and writing about that, naturally people began to follow along.

Luci Petlack: I started a blog as a form of therapy when I was in my fourth year of my PhD program. It started as part of a bigger business plan to sell baked goodies (hence the name), but after a week, it turned into a creative outlet that got me through my dissertation and then became my full time job after graduation!

Now that you know how each of the micro influencers got here, you will have some color as we dive into the questions I asked them about the work they do and the best advice they can share. Some of the questions I asked: What advice do you have for those interested in working with influencers? How do you do decide who to work with? What advice do you have for those interested in becoming micro influencers? What is the biggest misconception about the micro influencer world and life as a micro influencer? What are some of the brand deals you have closed? How did they come together? Did you reach out to them or did they reach out? What information did the brands ask for? What has being a micro influencer taught you about branding and marketing? What are your three best marketing and branding tips?

Want the answers? Tune into Part II and Part III of the three-part blog series.

Adam Mendler