By: Caroline Sheridan
The MBA Cox Entrepreneurship Club hosted panel of five social media gurus on Tuesday who answered questions in Crow 190 to a group of about 25 people. Amanda Kushner of the blog Glitter and Spice is a Cox MBA student, and used her connections to invite other bloggers to participate in the event. Page Walker, a member of the E-Club and candidate for a Master of Science in Management, moderated and helped organized the event.
“We wanted to do a social media event because bloggers are monetizing the digital world and that is something many Cox students are interested in,” Walker said in an email.
Each of the bloggers shared insight on challenges like building a brand, partnering with companies and monetizing their content.
“My biggest challenge is creating content that is valuable, that is long-term and that starts a conversation,” said Brooke Burnett, who started One Small Blonde in 2009.
The panel agreed that in order to grow, consistent posting and social media engagement are crucial. These women work full-time on their blogs, and often schedule out their days just like any other job.
“I wake up early and I’m responding to emails for at least three hours. I do shoots at least twice a week, and writing an actual blog post takes about two hours,” Burnett added.
Bloggers are paid for their collaborations with brands. In today’s fashion world, influencers often drive sales more than traditional advertisements, making them an important asset for companies.
Anna Cobbs of the blog fleurdille said that through partnerships, brands are paying for content better than an advertisement, because social media is a more engaging medium.
“People are getting to see your product in real time,” Cobbs said of these sponsored posts.
Kushner of Glitter and Spice echoed these sentiments.
“The content stays there forever, so you may as well take advantage of that,” she said.
Each blogger discussed the importance of staying true to their own brands. Kushner likes to promote body positivity and her “East Coast prep” style. Burnett sticks to neutral colors, while Christina Beauchamp of Fashion and Frills loves to wear ruffles. Nita Mann of Next with Nita likes to wear on-trend clothing, but also promotes animal advocacy and diversity.
This concept of staying true to yourself and brand resonated with Walker.
“My favorite piece of advice was that you should be honest and write about things you truly care about,”, Walker said.
Cobbs, who mostly wears blush colors and white, shared her advice for how to choose partnerships while staying true to your style.
“Know when to say no,” she said when making decisions for collaborations.
Beauchamp said that if you only choose brands that reflect your personal style, you can build better trust among your followers. If something does not go with your aesthetic, the collaboration seems disingenuous. Burnett agreed, adding that you cannot compromise your own brand just to have more partnerships.
“You just have to be true to yourself”, she said. “You’re not going to make everyone happy.”