The lives of YouTube and Instagram stars can often look glamorous, but behind the scenes of making it a full-time job are challenges few know about.
Rachael Brook’s transition from makeup artist to social media influencer was a steep learning curve.
“My biggest challenge, particularly from starting at a young age was learning to do what’s best for me as a person, as a brand, as a business, as a professional,” she said.
“Not everyone always has your best interests at heart.”
Her growing base of nearly 40,000 followers on Instagram is a far cry from her beginnings as a makeup artist.
Wanting to find a community to share her love for beauty products with, inspires her to create and post regular YouTube and Instagram content.
“I’m creating content nearly every day. Some of that is sponsored, some of that is not,” she says.
“You need to be seen online, at all times, whether you’re being paid to or not.”
Doing sponsored products in her blogs and posts has allowed her to turn it into a full-time business.
“But a really big misconception in the industry is, a lot of people think we’ll just take money from wherever it comes from and we’ll promote anything,” she said.
“They’re not my values and all my friends don’t work that way either.”
For Rachael, it is imperative that the products she promotes align with her social media brand and persona.
“Out of the three campaigns a month I’ll say yes to, I might turn down ten or more,” Rachael says.
“It’s all about the content that I create and the message that I’m sending, and it needs to be really authentic to my brand. “
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Using an agent to help screen potential campaigns has helped grow her business.
But it’s also had scalability benefits.
“There comes a time when it probably is a good idea to get represented and that’s when you are having so many inquiries you can’t handle them all, or you feel like you need business support.”
While these factors have aided her ultimate success, she says the internet is a fickle beast, and an influencer’s success rate as a social media personality, can be dependent on powers out of their control.
“Building a following these days is even a lot harder than when I started a few years ago, thanks to algorithms.”
“You don’t choose to have more followers, you either be consistent and hopefully gro – but you can also be consistent and not grow, it’s really unpredictable.”
Regardless, she believes there are three elements that are essential for anyone aspiring to be a social media influencer.
“I think it’s really important to have incredible, like-minded people surrounding you,” she said.
“Put your real self forward because I think everyone can see if you’re not being real.”
“Thirdly… be persistent and don’t let little things stop you. Just keep going, have your eyes on the prize and you’ll get there.”