How To Build An Authentic Influencer Persona: 5 Tips We Learned From Brittany Hennessy


Recently, Thought Bakery had the opportunity to attend a fireside chat with Brittany Hennessy, author of Influencer: Building Your Personal Brand in the Age of Social Media and co-founder of CARBON, a technology company building solutions for influencers. Hosted by The Presley Group at The Assemblage in NYC, the chat explored the key requirements necessary to become a successful thought leader in what is already an overcrowded space, as well as provided an insightful look at the current state of digital influence and entrepreneurship.

So what did we learn?

01. Know Your Worth

Diversity in the realm of influencer marketing is scarce. If you are a person of color, leverage your unique talent and perspective to negotiate brand partnerships. Often times, influencers are afraid to negotiate in fear that they will lose the opportunity to work with a brand if they advocate for fair or deserved proposals. This is not necessarily true! If a brand asks you to justify your proposal, never doubt your worth or attempt to then haggle down your fee. Provide the advertiser with an evidentiary based cost plan with sample costs including setting up a photo shoot, video equipment, editing hours, etc. The power of diversity helps to promote unique points of view with engaged audiences looking to build community with one another — use that to your advantage.

02. Build A Community

No one likes talking to themselves. Brands favor influencers who heavily engage and interact with their followers. They’re zooming in on an influencer’s ability to acknowledge and communicate with their audience, and in turn, see that these audiences respond with continued loyalty and interest. Engage and connect with your following in a meaningful and authentic way. After all, it’s called social media for a reason.

03. Be Human

Often times, we’re scrolling through an influencer’s profile on Instagram only to see countless photos of the same individual promoting themselves in each post. You may start to wonder “hey does this person enjoy life with anyone else?” Brands certainly think this way! Stand out from the crowd and humanize your content by featuring your family, friends, or peers. Have your friends tag you in their posts as well. You never know where a brand might discover you and showing a glimpse into your real life, just might be the preview they need to see, before knowing you’d be a great fit for their product or service.

04. Produce Quality Content

Influencer marketing is an oversaturated marketplace. So how does one stand out from the crowd? While there are several ways to do so, capturing content with a point and shoot camera is a great start. While using your smartphone camera can provide a quality portfolio for spur of the moment shots, not all situations are best suited for smartphones, such as shooting in low-light or macro mode. Know what your phone is capable of capturing and think about the types of photography you want to shoot before determining which SLR or advanced camera tech is the best for you.

05. Men! Tell Your Story.

To any male influencers who might be reading this: start a blog, ASAP! There's a big misconception that male audiences don’t read blogs. Additionally, according to Sysomos, the difference between genders in the blogosphere is balanced with women making up 50.9% and males 49.1% of bloggers. This suggests the Internet is a gender-neutral environment and according to Brittany, male bloggers are more likely to be noticed and featured by brands!

To learn more about building your personal brand effectively, we recommend reading Brittany’s book, Influencer: Building Your Personal Brand in the Age of Social Media. It covers the essentials, how-tos, and so much more. Be sure to let us know some of the tips which stood out to you and you reach out to Brittany via her twitter handle @2Legit2Britt.

Happy reading!