BUSINESS & INNOVATION

Southern Influencers Profit From Highlight Reels

Many Instagram users follow influencer accounts and buy products based on what they suggest. These are people who promote products and services through their social media accounts who usually have several thousand followers and a personality that can easily persuade viewers.

This is a modern way companies are marketing their products, especially smaller businesses that want to get their name out to larger audiences. Many companies will contact account owners with large followings who have a similar style and pay them to market their product to their followers through paid advertisements. But this isn’t the only reason why these influencers post. Often, they simply enjoy being creative and having a platform to promote positivity through social media and connect with people they otherwise wouldn’t know. 

Southerners Alden Caroline Easter, Sara Caroline Bridgers, and Hannah Huff all market products through Instagram accounts. Easter, or @aceatthebeach on Instagram, lives in  Seaside, Florida. “My brand is very beach-y and laid back,” she said. “I show a lot of my personal life, but keep a good bit hidden. My main goal is to show positivity and happy, good vibes. I love sharing creative content and promoting a healthy and fun lifestyle.”

Easter

Easter works with brands that reflect her lifestyle and passions – the beach and addressing problems, such as pollution, which is why she partners with Tervis Tumblers, a company that makes re-useable plastic containers for drinks. She also works with Yolo Board, Outdoor Voices, and L Space Swimwear that reflect her love for being in the outdoors, mainly near the ocean.

“To me social media is positive and negative,” she said. “I use social media for work and for a creative outlet. I avoid the comparison game that can come with social media and working within a ‘blogger world,’ but it can be hard to avoid the negative side of social media.”

Easter hopes to promote positivity and realness through the content on her page. She understands the issues that many people have with comparing their lives to lives they see people living on Instagram. “Social media is just a highlight reel,” she said. “If anything, I hope more and more people continue to realize everyone struggles with things even if it does not seem that way on social media.”

Sara Caroline Bridgers, or @sarcar on Instagram, is an Oxford, Mississippi native attending the University of Mississippi studying Integrated Marketing Communications. She has a big following on her personal Instagram account, but she also runs the Instagram account of her sorority.

Bridgers

She first noticed she had an Instagram following after creating a jewelry line her sophomore year of high school called Jewels by SarCar. Now, brands reach out to her to promote their products. This helped her grow her personal brand, but her favorite part is using her blog xosarcar.com to showcase her thoughts. “I like to share my life in the most honest way I can,” she said. “That is why I blog because I can share a bigger picture of myself on there.”

Bridgers enjoys the connections and friends that her social media page has given her, but she tries not to fall into the negative aspects that social media can bring. “I don’t really like to be looking at my phone 24/7,” she said. “I try to live in the now as much as possible. But, it can be hard sometimes.”

Nashville native Hannah Huff has been growing her following since she began posting on Instagram at age 15. She has gotten every job she’s had, except one, through Instagram, and she is thankful for her page for providing opportunities. She currently promotes Bumble, Fabletics, Princess Polly, and Beehive. She can pick and choose who she works with and enjoys promoting brands she truly believes in. “I won’t promote anything that I do not actually like, wear, or use,” she said. “I want to be as authentic as possible.”

Huff

Huff also sees the negative effects that too much social media use can have. She loves social media for the creativity, but also urges others not to fall into the trap that social media can present. “I love social media for the creative and expressive part, but I hate the the comparison/bullying and the fronts that people put on when really everyone is struggling with something,” she said. “People can easily make things seem much better than they really are on social media.”

Huff describes her profile as laid back, as she tries to include dry humor in her captions, keeping it light and fun. “I just urge people to enjoy life to it’s fullest, and please don’t take life so seriously. Have fun with it,” she said. 

With the rise of social media influencers on Instagram, many have complained about feeling sad or jealous that they are not getting to do the exciting things they people they follow are. However, these three social media influencers want people to know Instagram is simply a highlight reel. They urge people to not compare themselves to others through social media and to live more in the moment

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