Hi BTG fam and Happy Tuesday xo
We are back with another blog post ft. the lovely Olivia Dipede – a fashion and lifestyle blogger.
Surprisingly enough, Olivia and I attended the same university, and only connected during my time as Influencer Manager at Luxy Hair. It’s been a pleasure to get to know her not only a content creator, but as a friend. She is kind, beautiful, and it comes as no surprise – she is insanely talented when it comes to content creation amongst other things.
In this blog post, we dive into some different questions we haven’t asked other bloggers before such as how do you inspire yourself to create content, and how to take gifted collabs to paid collab status.
Happy reading & hope you take away some new learnings today!
When did you first start using social media?
I’ve always loved the creative side of Instagram and scrolling through beautiful, aesthetic feeds. Even before I knew that social media “influencing” existed I loved to shoot creative photos and the type of content we know now as “filler content.” Slowly I started seeing bloggers popping up on Instagram and was so intrigued by their whole world and thought to myself, “Hey I could do that!!” I had no idea at the time that there was ever potential to monetize this platform, but started to post genuinely for my love of beautiful imagery and sharing an OOTD that makes you feel confident enough to snap a photo.
Walk me through the step-by-step process that you went through to get to where you are today. What was the first thing you did? Next?
My first move into the social media/influencer space was launching a blog in 2016. I’d been writing as a style writer for a digital publication at my university which initially sparked the idea to launch my own personal style blog. I’d always had a passion for writing and photography so a blog felt like the perfect way to lace the two together.
Eventually Instagram seemed to take a bigger focus in the blogging world and an easier way to engage directly with an audience, which is when I shifted my focus to Instagram in 2018. Since then, I’ve posted outfits consistently and saw the most growth within the last two years when I started putting more energy and focus into it. What you give, you get when it comes to this platform!
How long was it before your social media platforms became profitable? How did you live through those first few months/years? Did you have any struggles?
It took about a year for my Instagram to become profitable, and 2 years to pull consistent income from the platform. Still to this day I balance a full-time job with blogging because I love the structure and stability that comes with working in a corporate environment.
What did you do prior to influencing on social media?
As mentioned previously, I do actually still balance a full-time job with blogging! I work as an online editor and the role fuels my passion for writing and digital media while still offering me a stable routine and full-time income. I feel blessed to be able to work in a job that I love while still being able to balance my personal blog and work directly with brands I’ve admired for years… so I’d say that my current situation is quite the “dream” honestly. I would LOVE in the future to launch some sort of passion project or brand that’s my own to share with my community.
What are your thoughts on social media? And what do you think is the most commonly misunderstood thing about social media?
I think social media is one of the best ways to connect with like-minded people. Especially this last year, Instagram has definitely helped me stay connected with the world, my family and friends and feel included in their life even though we can’t be together physically.
With that being said though, I think social media and the influencer world tends to have a negative connotation for people who aren’t aware of all the work that goes into it. Influencers have to wear so many hats to be successful in this field and have to have a crazy amount of motivation to be a self-starter and create their own opportunities. After working in this field for a few years myself, I have SO much respect for content creators after realizing the amount of work that goes into fostering partnerships and coming up with creative content.
Of all the gifted packages you receive as an influencer, which product/item excites you the most? What would be your dream brand to collab with?
Honestly, it still feels surreal to me when I receive certain gifting packages from brands I could’ve only dreamed of working with. One of the most exciting brands I’ve partnered with is probably Aritzia. I’ve been a customer and huge fan of the brand since I was a teenager so it was definitely a super rewarding, full-circle moment to receive my first gifted package from them.
What are your thoughts on hashtags? How do you find the best ones to use? Do you believe they are important to growth?
Hashtags have honestly been very hit or miss when it comes to my personal growth on Instagram! I’ve gone through phases when I notice major reach through hashtags and others where they seem to do nothing at all. I still always include them just in case but the algorithm works in mysterious ways LOL. I do believe they are important to grow though, because in those periods of time where they do “work,” they can really expand your reach!
I try to include a mix of hashtags that have varying amounts of posts on them to maximize the potential of my reach. For example, a few from the 1 mil+ category, a few from the 100 000 – 500 000 category and a few from the <50 000 category.
What are your three best actionable tips to organically grow on socials?
I know it’s mentioned all the time, but consistency is truly key when it comes to growing. With each piece of content you post is an opportunity to reach a new follower and new audience, so the more frequently you’re able to do this, the more you’ll be able to grow!
I also think paying attention to your analytics and what types of photos do well is super important. If you notice half-body shots or sunset shots or mirror photos do the best, keep producing content like this!
Lastly, try new things and stay true to yourself and your content! There are so many content creators out there and it’s always refreshing to stumble across someone who is doing something totally new and letting their personality shine. Create content that feels true to you and the right tribe of followers will find you.
How do you get inspired to create content? Do you have any rituals, processes or platforms you rely on?
I’ve admittedly found it much more difficult to stay creative with my content this past year. Travelling has fuelled my creativity so much in the past by showing me fresh landscapes and ideas for locations to shoot.
That being said, in quarantine I’ve spent SO much more time on Pinterest and have found this as a huge source of content inspiration to stay motivated and find fresh ways to shoot in my own home and local area. I tend to spend time on Pinterest getting ideas for poses, locations and outfits before every shoot and put together a little “moodboard” that matches my outfit to a specific location.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to an aspiring influencer if you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip?
My biggest piece of advice would be to never get discouraged by the numbers. I blogged for two years consistently with less than 10k followers and loved every second of it because I genuinely loved creating content. I never doubted myself or thought that maybe it wouldn’t work out — I knew it would take off eventually because of how passionate I was about it. If you’re passionate and driven, the right audience will find you when the time is right. The Instagram algorithm has a mind of its own and even your favourite bloggers go through peaks and valleys with their content! It’s important not to take it personally and continue to post because you genuinely love it. Always remember why you started 🙂
Also, brands are working with micro and nano bloggers now more than ever, so even more reason to not let the numbers discourage you if you’re putting out high quality, engaging content.
So you keep getting PR gifts (yay!), but HOW do you take gifted collabs to paid collab status? Any tips?
I think the best way to turn gifted collabs into paid ones is to build a genuine relationship with the brand. Some of my biggest long-term partners I worked with on a gifted basis for years before earning a cent. I think once this relationship and familiarity is established, it’s much easier to turn a gifted collab into a paid one.
With that being said though, I do definitely believe in being paid for your work and being paid WHAT you’re worth. It’s important to be professional and friendly when trying to turn a gifted collab into a paid one, so an easy way to do this is to have a rate card or media kit handy to send over with your rates included. This will let the rates do the talking for themselves and set a precedent for what you expect out of the partnership.
How do you get noticed by brands? Any tips?
If there are certain brands you want to work with, my number one tip would be to buy product from that brand and share about it! You could even email or DM them the content to make sure they see it and get your profile in front of them. It’s important to show a brand (and your followers!) that you’re a genuine fan and customer before money or gifting is involved.
It also doesn’t hurt to find a PR contact for the brand that you’re interested in and send them your media kit to have on file in case any campaigns or gifting opportunities pop up that you could be a fit for!
What are your plans for the future? Give us the inside scoop on where we can expect to see Olivia in the next 5-10 years?
Ahh, always a tough question to answer! I hope to continue to find a way to balance my love of writing, fashion and photography, which are the primary reasons I got into blogging and the whole influencer space to begin with. I hope I’m finding ways to inspire my audience whether that’s through outfits, home decor, beauty looks or simply being there as a friend and support system for them. I’d love to launch a brand or passion project of my own some day as well, but for now just taking it day by day and loving the journey.
To follow along with Oliva’s journey, click here.
Who are some of Olivia’s biggest inspirations?