Today we are interviewing Social Media Influencer Ellie Victoria. We first met Ellie in November 2019, when she attended our ‘Secrets to Social Media Success’ workshop. Since then Ellie has gone on leaps and bounds, creating a highly impressive social media presence and becoming a highly respected influencer. We have enjoyed watching Ellie flourish and witness her impressive growth and online presence. This was highlighted in April 2020, when Ellie achieved over 1.2m views of her post! We welcome Ellie back now to be interviewed and to hear about her impressive journey to date, plans for the future, current trends and advice to others looking to follow in her impressive footsteps…
Q) Great to see you again Ellie, we know you have been extremely busy since meeting at our Social Media for Success Training workshop, tell us what you have been up to?
A) You too! I’ve been super busy with personal and work life. In terms of my job at Tier One, we’ve just gone through a massive rebrand which I was lucky enough to create the new logo and further branding material. We’ve been super busy in the office to rebrand, it’s been non-stop. Outside of work, I’ve been working really hard on my Instagram. Lockdown gave me the inspiration to pour even more effort into my grid and change up my filter and photography style. Because of this change, I’ve noticed a huge increase in following and engagement with my followers; I truly believe I’ve achieved so much over the few months since being at your workshop.
Q) How does it feel to be called a ‘social media influencer’ and does it feel natural to be called that yet?
A) It doesn’t feel real enough to be called a ‘social media influencer’ yet. But, I don’t think I ever will. I just absolutely love creating content and sharing my passion for photography, makeup and filters. I’m doing it as a hobby because I love it and I enjoy creating content for others to take inspiration from and enjoy looking at. I suppose it won’t feel fully real until it’s my full-time career.
Q) What does it mean to be a ‘Social Media Influencer’?
A) To me, being a social media influencer is just being someone others look at and take inspiration from. It is being hardworking, determined and consistent. It is being someone who others see as a fashion icon, a lifestyle icon or makeup icon. It is being someone you’d want your younger children to look up to. I believe it’s just being a good role model for other people to show that if you want something, you must work hard for it.
Q) We see the dedication it takes to keep such an active profile, how do you achieve this?
A) It has taken me a long time to develop the skill of planning ahead. Having a 9-5 job and also running my Instagram full time can be rather tricky, especially as, believe it or not, I do not look anywhere near as glam as I do on my Instagram on a daily basis. To achieve being active, every weekend on a Saturday I wake up before 9.30 am and get ready; I do my hair, my makeup and pick out around 5 different outfits. I flick through my Pinterest boards and my saved Instagram posts from Influencers I take inspiration from and then take around 7 different images to post throughout the week. It takes away a lot of stress from having to create content every day as well as knowing you’ve got high-quality photographs for brands to approve in advance.
Q) Which platforms do you focus on and do you foresee any other platforms rising in popularity at the moment?
A) I personally focus on Instagram and TikTok for my own personal branding. Instagram has and always will be an incredible platform for sharing your photography, creativity and a certain talent you may possess through the art of imagery; I love Instagram and it will always be one of my favourite platforms to use as I have the ability to express my love for fashion, beauty and lifestyle through my images. TikTok is most definitely the fastest growing platform of the moment. It allows an individual to show their creativity through short video clips that can be enjoyed by anyone across the world, whatever your talent; whether it be comedy, fashion, dancing or makeup. Definitely one to jump on for a laugh!
Q) What and who inspired you to become a social media influencer?
A) I’ve always been passionate about Instagram, I’ve been posting regularly since the age of around 10 when I created my account. I posted my photography shots that, at the time, I thought were ace. Fast forward 9 years and I was working at a Bridal shop in Hartley Wintney. My boss’s daughter, Aimee, was a social media influencer and she majorly inspired me to start taking Instagram seriously. She recommended me to an influencer course run by an Instagram influencer, I joined for a month and the rest is history…
Q) You balance this with a full-time position as a Digital Marketing Apprentice and a Level 4 Professional Marketing Apprenticeship. How do you find this?
A) I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t been difficult. At first, I really struggled. I didn’t plan my time very well on the weekends so I was posting very irregularly. I started work at 9am and finished at 5pm, which by that time, it would be dark and I didn’t have the opportunity to take any content pictures. But as said previously, planning ahead is now a big skill of mine. I take my content photos on the weekend and work on the weekdays with my photos scheduled to go up in the evenings. It is now really easy to balance both of my ‘careers’ as long as I stick to strict planning. Being able to achieve on Instagram and a full time career highlights my determination and passionate work drive.
Q) What do your work colleagues think of your social media profile? What is it like for them working alongside an influencer?
A) This is a great question! I actually work alongside all men, I am the only woman in the whole company so evidently, they don’t 100% understand it. Those who are following my social media platforms just believe I live a very glam lifestyle. It’s something we’ve never really discussed as the word ‘influencer’ is still quite alien to a lot of people. Most of them think I’m a part time model and have shoots on the weekend!
Q) What elements do you find most enjoyable about being a Social Media Influencer?
A) As cheesy as this will sound, just being able to be me. Being able to show my creativity and passion through my photos for my following to enjoy. Being given the opportunity to work alongside brands in this process is also amazing as well. I’ve had the opportunity to work with and create some amazing relationships with amazing brands. It’s a really humbling feeling to know not only your following but also brands appreciate your work and artistry.
Q) What is most difficult about being a Social Media Influencer?
A) The most difficult thing would be finding your niche. As said previously, you need to be unique in this industry otherwise you will not be taken seriously. Gaining following is a very long and slow process, it takes a lot of time and building a relationship with your followers isn’t easy. I’d recommend you to really know and be passionate about the content you’re creating to ensure you stand out from the rest.
Q) With mental health being one of the toughest challenges our generation now faces, how do you balance your many commitments and the pressures these bring?
A) Finding that balance is difficult. It is very easy to feel very overwhelmed which then leads to a sense of failure and lack of motivation. I think for me, planning ahead and having a very clear goal of what I want really helps me. I’m so focused on what I want to achieve so I will do everything in my power to get myself there. You have to find that balance to remain sane. Prioritise your time. Make sure you go to work and put in the most effort you can. Make sure you spend your weekends wisely, whether that be creating content or doing a hobby of yours. You must also find time for friends and family, it’s crucial to have that interaction. The best way I’ve found to avoid all of this stress is to write yourself a plan; you can buy weekly planners from Asda or Sainsburys. Write down what you want to achieve in the week, what you want to do and make it clear what spare time you have. Ticking those boxes and knowing what you’ve achieved in reflection of the week is so rewarding and really helps retain that balance.
Q) Have you ever been the victim of cyberbullying and how did you deal with this?
A) I wouldn’t say I’d been a victim of cyberbullying but I have most definitely received my fair share of hate; I’ve had TikTok videos made about me, calling me a ‘hog roast’ and a ‘pig’ whilst also being fat shamed, having comments made about my weight. I won’t sit here and pretend you can just brush it off as it’s a truly nasty feeling. The way I dealt with this hate was realising my worth. I looked beyond the comments and realised the reason these people are making horrible comments is because they clearly, unfortunately, have nothing better to do and are masking their own insecurities. I am loved by my family and friends and I know I am a good person who doesn’t deserve hate.
Q) What advice would you give to others looking to follow in your footsteps and become a Social Media Influencer?
A) Most definitely find your niche. Look for what and who inspires you on Instagram. Whether it be a fashion influencer using a white aesthetic filter or whether it be a travel blogger who uses a bright, colourful filter. Look into their posts and what you like about them, what draws you in to them. Save some influencers photos to a board on Instagram so you can use them for inspiration later. My biggest piece of advice is create content on what you love. Be unique, stand out from other influencers and just share your passion!
Q) We know ALOT of hard work is required to become an online success, what are the most important things to succeed in your opinion?
A) In order to succeed you must make sure that your photos are clear and high quality. You do not need to rush out to buy the most expensive camera on the shelves for this as I only use my iPhone 11. Brands look for clean, crisp imagery that is unique and makes you stand out. Also, consistency. It is quite important to be posting almost every day as due to Instagram algorithms, your photos may get lost in the feed and therefore, won’t get as much engagement. If you are posting regularly, you are also demonstrating not only to your following but also your brand that you are keen and very passionate about what you do.
Q) You clearly invest in yourself through training. We first met at one of our ‘Secrets to Social Media Success’, how did you find our course?
A) I loved the course, I took so much away from it. I was able to not only use the information for my own success but also relay the information to the company I work for, Tier One, to improve and heighten my social media knowledge. It was also amazing to network with like minded people who want to grow their businesses in the world of social media.
Q) You are clearly smashing your targets and have shared some impressive successes. What is next for Ellie Victoria and your brand?
A) Thank you! I have lots planned for the future, I am so excited to share what I’m going to achieve. I’ve currently just finished all the preparation for my 5K giveaway, I’m 400 followers away from hitting it. I have SO many exciting prizes to be won from fake tan to face masks. I want to give back to my followers as a thank you for all of the constant support. In terms of looking forward, I would love to hit 10K by the end of the year and work with even bigger and better brands. It is my absolute dream to be able to do this full time and travel the world whilst doing this.
Q) What gets Ellie Victoria out of bed in the morning?
A) My dreams and ambitions. I’m a big dreamer and I love the thought that every day I wake up one day closer to achieving even more. And a big cup of tea of course.
Q) Who has been key to your success to date?
A) I would definitely have to say my family and my boyfriend. My boyfriend is the person behind 90% of my Instagram pictures, he’s so encouraging and has so much faith in me achieving big things. My family is also a huge support, they’re all so accepting of the lifestyle and try to help and support me as much as they can. My dad helps me with editing sometimes, if there’s a person in the background I want to remove, my Mum helps me with my creative ideas and my sister helps me with aesthetics and also helps take my photos. I’m so grateful for them all and the constant support they give me.
Q) What are the big attractions of becoming a social media influencer?
A) There are lots of attractions to becoming a social media influencer; there is the money, brand collaborations, paid advertising, the PR trips.. It is a very desirable career but that shouldn’t be the reason you want to begin influencing. I began influencing with absolutely no intention of having such amazing rewards. All I know is that I want this career to give me the ability to travel the world and work with even bigger and better brands.
Q) What are you particularly passionate about?
A) I am particularly passionate about fashion. I love being creative with my photos to show different ways you can style and photograph your outfits. I love editing and using Adobe Lightroom (as nerdy as that sounds) and being able to transform a photo with just one filter. That’s where my passion lies!
Q) What are the financial benefits and opportunities of becoming a Social Media Influencer?
A) There are so many! Financially, once you have built up your feed and following, you will be approached by brands to start doing paid collaborations which means that not only will you be paid to post a photo by the brand but they will also ‘gift’ you products completely free of charge to promote. Gifting is the first stage of a collaboration, you will be sent an item, completely free of charge to keep forever and promote on your Instagram. Not only this, but in the long term you will also be invited to brand trips where you could potentially travel across the world with a brand to promote a new released product. There are endless opportunities, I’m so excited to experience more.
Thank you so much for time today Ellie and providing such an honest reflection on your journey to date. If you have found this interview interesting, please check out our guest post from Ellie; ‘inside the life of a social media influencer’.