Influencer impact is typically measured by post likes, comments, link clicks, and conversions. And, while that is a massive part of what they deliver, it isn’t the entire picture. Influencers are influencers because they… influence. They have the power to reach a niche audience and impact them with meaningful content. We wanted to understand just how far this influence can go, so we’ve launched an exciting new initiative interviewing influencers to uncover how and what drives their brand.
Unfortunately, the influencer industry has gotten a bad reputation. The word influencer often garners assumptions of selfies and overly curated content, but the truth is, what we see of an influencer is just a sliver of what their work has the power to do. Take Camille Walker, of My Mommy Style, a parenting expert based in Utah, USA. Her blog covers broad topics from home activities, recipes, family travel, and birthing. Her web-series on Natural Birth was a source of hope and inspiration for a fan who wanted to pursue her own natural birth. This is just one example of the positive impact influencer can have on their audience that we hope to share with our new series.
In a world of curated content and filters, Camille Walker’s authenticity goes a long way. With over 50K followers on Instagram, she shares honest content about her life hoping to inspire others and celebrate female success. We sat down with Camille to learn more about her journey as a creator. From adapting to Instagram, and balancing family life, here is how Camille built and maintains a strong, successful brand.
How did you become a creator, was it intentional or organic?
I was a mortgage loan officer when I was fresh out of college, and I did that for about 6 years. It was great, I loved it, it really helped me develop my business skills. These are skills that help me now looking back. But, my life-long dream was to be a mom, and in 2008 I had my first son. That was right during the recession when the mortgage industry was burning hard. I decided to stay home and be with my son, but after a couple years I got antsy and I needed something to keep certain muscles in my mind active. I’m actually a certified teacher, and I wanted to do something that brought my expertise into my passion of building a happy and healthy home.
So, it was around 7 years ago I decided to start a blog with 7 women, and over time it whittled down to just me. It’s grown and ebbed and flowed along the way, but my goal has always been to bring women together though My Mommy Style.
Is this currently your full-time job?
Yes, and being a mom, of course. Now I’m a mother of 4, my oldest is eleven, but they are very much involved with what I do. Travel has become a big part of my platform as well, family travel specifically, so it allows me to include my family. My husband is a controller at a law firm, so he helps me with my financial planning. He’s a big part of my team. I also have contractors that help me with content development and social media exposure, and a photographer. So, I do have a mini operation, but it’s been so fun to see it grow. I was just looking for something to do and share my passion, but it turned into a business. I didn’t know it would happen like that, but I’m so happy it did.
Before you started My Mommy Style were you into social media, or was it a new space you had to navigate?
NO! Not at all. When I was doing mortgage social media wasn’t something on the forefront. You know, I made a lot of mistakes when I started out. I didn’t adapt to Instagram early the way I should have. I’ve seen people cycle out because things don’t work for them. Now, a lot of social media is about being camera ready. I’m trying to do more video now because that’s the demand. It’s always about pivoting when things change, pushing the limits, and continuing to learn. And, that’s what has helped me stay in the game, even though it wasn’t a space I was super comfortable with at first.
You entered the market 7 years ago, can you credit some of your success with timing? Do you think it would be harder to break into the industry now?
Yes and No. Like I said, I didn’t pay so much attention to Instagram early on. I was so focused on my blog and Pinterest, although I have a Pinterest following of over 100K, brands don’t value it as much. Brands really prefer the instant gratification of “how many views will it get today”, and that’s really Instagram. So, in hindsight, I feel like I would have paid attention to Instagram better, but hindsight is 20/20.
The “OG’ bloggers that have an established website with an ad revenue stream coming in, there is a lot of strength in that because we own that. But, there are also those that hit Instagram hard when it came out and they are racking it in. There are pros and cons to both.
Have you worked with brands on Pinterest?
Yes, in the format that I link to blog posts on Pinterest. On occasion, I’ve created a board for a brand, but rarely.
What is the process like when you collaborate? Do they come to you or do you reach out?
In the beginning, I would reach out more, but now I’m in a place they mainly come to me by email. In the last few years, I have been working with PR companies, and that has much greater pay for me than using a third party. I still do both, but mostly they contact me.
Have you ever had a brand reach out to you and thought “this doesn’t align with me”?
It doesn’t happen all the time, because brands are pretty good at taking a look at my brand and understanding what I represent. One of the partners I’ve been working within the last couple of years is Disney. You could look at me and basically align it with Disney to understand if it is my brand. I’ve been reached out to by alcohol and sex toys, and that’s just not my thing. But, those are really the only type of companies I’ve encountered that really don’t fit.
Do you have a negotiation price you go through?
I have baseline rates in my mind. But, I typically don’t come right out with them. It’s really whoever speaks first. I wouldn’t say I’m not open to negotiation, especially if there is an added benefit of link juice or they will promote me on social. It’s a back and forth process and understanding time and content execution.
I do have long-term partners that understand my rates and my yes range. I was approached by someone to represent me as an agent, and I would consider that. I do feel comfortable negotiating but I think someone else could do it better. And, honestly, influencers can be taken advantage of.
That’s true. Also, many people underestimate the time that goes into a campaign. How long do you typically work on your partnerships?
I have a photographer, she is actually coming over in about 45-min, and we do 1-hour campaign shoots together. But, I try and get a lot of content out of that 1-hour just so I’m utilizing my time strategically. That’s been huge for my business because it saves me time, but it raises my output of what I’m putting into a campaign since I’m paying the photographer. I have more outgoing costs than I used to now. So depending on if I’m making a video, and photo, and blog, and it’s an experience I’m writing about, it can be anywhere from an hour to six-hours. And, that’s not taking into account traveling to the location.
Are Instagram Stories part of the campaign process?
I try to keep Stories relevant. I actually did something yesterday and I can’t keep up with the responses. I really want to honor my time at home with my children, and it’s hard with a fast-paced platform like Instagram. I really avoided Instagram for so long because I never wanted to look at me and assume I think I’m perfect. There is something really fake about Instagram, everything is glossy and curated. When Storie came in, it made everything seem more relatable and real, and that’s when I really started to pay attention to Instagram. It was still a little too late, and I’m still playing catch up.
Being an influencer is a 24/7 job, and so is being a mom. How do you balance both responsibilities?
It’s hard. I try to focus on my brand before my kids wake up or when they are in preschool. Unfortunately, they don’t nap anymore. Sometimes I’m good at it, and sometimes I’m not. If I realize I’m not balancing my time well then I offer to do something fun with them. For the most part, my family understands what I’m doing. My 11-year-old son will even call me out and tell me I’ve been on the computer for too long. I love what I do, but it is tricky. You need to sit down with the need to and want to do what you’re doing.
I’m based in Utah and there are a lot of influencer meetups and in-person events. I get a lot of requests to make an appearance, and that is where my husband steps in and says is this a need or a want. It’s tricky, but it works.
What is the best feedback you’ve received from your audience that made everything worth it?
The most poignant moment I’ve had was when someone recognized me at a grocery store, which is so weird that people recognize me. There was a cute young mom who came to me and said, “You helped me so much have this baby.” And I thought, what? But, I did a YouTube series about natural birth, and she said it was because of those videos she felt brave enough to do that with her own birthing experience. She thanked me so much for putting that content out there, and I got to meet her family. It’s a really cool feeling to know that you’ve impacted someone.
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