Human resources and wellbeing coach Angela Erle is the first to admit that when she started posting pictures of her cooking to Instagram, the shots weren’t very good.
In fact, she says they were terrible, particularly when compared to the pictures she produces now, thanks to a professional food styling course she put herself through.
“I would take photos of food on a plate and I knew it tasted good, but it didn’t look very good,” Ange said, laughing as she shared a ‘before’ picture.
Ange studied a Certificate II in Commercial Cookery and ran her own catering business, Little Red Hen, for over two years, so she knows what she’s talking about when it comes to food.
She recently launched her cooking and wellbeing business, Eat Live Be Well in Melbourne and is a client of Pinch Yourself Communication. Ange generously shares her experiences getting started as part of our look at the rise of influencers and what it takes to become an influencer.
The rise of the influencer
Social media influencers have become an integral component of marketing strategies for businesses. Some 86 per cent of marketers used influencer marketing as a tactic in 2016 and there seems to be no sign of this trend ending anytime soon.
There are influencers who have earned their position based on sharing their knowledge about their core skill or experience (for example, an economist or a chef), and influencers who are paid to influence because they have built a large following around an interest or hobby (for example, a travel blogger or a ‘foodie’.)
If an online personality is already a well known public figure, building influence undeniably comes easier, but generally people have to devote time and energy to build that platform to influence.
Influencers who are building a following through sharing their core skill, like Ange, have a strong foundation for credibility in their field based on education and experience. Influencers who are paid for having a wide reach and influence are more likely to be influencing on many products from a wide range of fields, which may mean they don’t specialise in or hold as much credibility in a particular niche.
With a business degree and a career in human resources, Ange has dedicated years to perfecting her passion and craft with food. She continues to work hard to be in a position where she can influence her audience to make better decisions in relation to their eating habits and lifestyles.
Deep commitment to the health and nutrition of her own family has encouraged her to spread her knowledge of simple, wholesome food and cooking to help other families enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
She uses her social media platforms, especially her Instagram account and Facebook page, to inspire and encourage people to cook with fresh, natural ingredients and make healthier decisions when it comes to food. Her online following is small but growing.
What it really takes to influence
Influencing is a huge business today with more than half of all purchasing decisions influenced by word-of-mouth and 40 per cent of Twitter users saying they have made a purchase as a direct result of a tweet from an influencer. However there are some things to keep in mind if you want to be an influencer.
The starting point is to be clear on why you are doing what you do – your story.
To be successful, you will have to invest money and time in building your presence and from that, your influence. Ange says that if you are passionate about what you are doing, that isn’t a problem. “You absolutely have to be prepared to put in time and investment when beginning to influence. People don’t understand how long it takes to style and take a shot and I have spent a significant amount of time on it, which I am not getting paid for,” she said.
“The key is choosing something you are passionate about because you just do it because you love it and you don’t mind doing it for free.”
You must consistently turn up on social media and post great quality content that has been well thought out and produced. Often influencers pay photographers or creative producers to help them create quality content to post on their accounts. Brands and businesses collaborating with the influencer expect quality content and often the influencer sticks to a certain theme or feel of images they post.
Ange recognises the significant boost to her social credibility after completing a food styling course, which gave her the skills to improve the quality of her images. “The food styling course was essential in my marketing strategy. From that, I learnt how to create a shot and build the story behind the shot by using colours and textures and now that I have that skill set under my belt I have people approaching me for pictures that are on my Instagram, wanting to share the images which gives me some free marketing,” she said.
People connect to other human beings who are dealing with the challenges and opportunities of life, just like they are. Don’t be afraid to be authentic, share your journey and stay true to who you are.
Getting started can be daunting, especially if you don’t have much of an audience at the beginning or you’re not used to putting yourself or your creative content out there. Ange’s advice is to just go for it.
“There’s a quote I love that says, ‘the more risks you take the more chances you have to fail but also the more chances you have to succeed’, and that is so true to me. Even if it is scary or you may be fearful sometimes you have to not think about that.”
By Jasmine Batrouney
A big thank you to Ange for sharing her insights on influencing.
If you have anything to add to this topic, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.