The Life of a Social Media Influencer

        As social media continues to grow, many of us know people that are trying to become or have successfully started to be influencers. Social media is on the rise with platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube allowing people to create content of their own choice to share with people all over the world. The limits of what you can post online aren’t necessarily limited in terms of creativity and many people are finding their homes in certain niches on these platforms. From beauty influencers, to daily vloggers, there truly is a niche for anything and everything within the social media community

        Within the walls of our very own Florida International University, there are many students who are blossoming on some of these platforms, and so, I sat down and talked with Jessica Menendez (@JessKidding_). We talked about her inspirations, tips and tricks, and things that go on behind the scenes of all the beautiful photos/videos you see.

Social media seems very easy until you learn about all the work that truly goes into all of the content that gets posted online. This is what Jess had to say...

What inspired you to start growing on Social Media?

       “You know, these questions always stump me because it wasn’t something I ever really set goals towards. I just always loved taking photos. Photography is something I’ve always been very passionate about and I just ended up really loving social media through the creative outlet of photography. When I started college, that was when I really started going to Disney so often. I started posting pictures, and people started following. I never really worked towards it until last year when I really took my shot and fell in love. I found my niche within the Disney community of Instagram, and what I really like to do”

How did you manage to get good grades while maintaining a social life, your relationship, friendships, and your social media accounts?

         “It’s really about prioritizing. Since my hobbies include Social Media, I enjoy what I do so I simply make time for it. I either plan my posts/videos in advance, but if I can’t do that then I just reflect what’s really going on in my life at the moment. I also try to get Alfred involved in what I do; whether that’s in photos, stories, or videos. After realizing how much I really enjoyed doing this, I set time aside to also engage with people on Instagram, and then finally created my blog and YouTube because it was my creative outlet. Set aside time for everything, studying, dates, friends, and social media. I prioritize all of that and force myself to wake up early to have enough time in the day to get everything I need to get done, done.

Is it hard?

          “Honestly, it’s frustrating at times and it’s a lot of work. I’m not always picture-perfect. Sometimes I have photoshoots and end up crying because not everything went according to plan. My Instagram feed also frustrates me sometimes, especially when a photo doesn’t look like what I want it to. My Instagram is a reflection of my work, who I am; this is my brand. It’s hard to juggle school and work, yet still put out quality content. Though it’s not hard for me to stay true to myself because I’m firm in my beliefs, I find myself comparing my work to everyone else. When you’re not happy with the content, it brings you down and then comparing yourself makes it even worse. Seeing everyone attending all these events or going to Disney 24/7 when I can’t go because of school or time, you realize all these people are constantly growing faster while you’re still stuck in the same space. Though I’m not someone who typically loves going to events, it’s hard to always have to miss out on them. That’s when I take a step back and re-evaluate why I’m doing it and continue engaging with my followers and the community.”

What are some of your favorite apps to use?

           “I love Lightroom for editing photos. It’s free on the phone but costs money for editing on a desktop. I love using Unfold for stories and Story Luxe for story templates. UNUM is really good for planning your feed too!”


What advice/tips do you have for college students wanting to start growing their accounts?

            “It’s 2/3rds good content. Don’t always make it about posting a pretty picture, produce content that’s a reflection of who you are and has meaning. Use your captions to your advantage, tell a story that's meaningful to you and who you are. Be real with your audience and show them who you are behing the pretty photos. I go on without makeup and talk about life on my stories and people love when you do that. You're genuine, real. Talk about tips/tricks/new things, let your followers get something out of following you. Engage with people, ask questions and get to know your audience. Who’s following you and why? Comment on photos and their content in general. Learn to network! Making friends through social media, it might just help you learn something new or gain a whole new set of followers. Finally, do something that you're passionate about. Wake up and be excited to do it every day. Life is short, it’s too short to do something you don’t love, so fullfil your life. Don’t give up on your dreams, even if you fail a few times. Work hard and put that energy out into the world. It will reward you."

As an Influencer, what do you look for when you follow an account?

          “I look for feeds that catch my attention and captions that show people have something to say other than just an emoji. I look for real people, who will talk about their failures and successes without hesitation and show you their true self. People who talk about their lives and are genuinely authentic. I followed a girl who, yes, had a beautiful feed and photos, but I followed her because she posted stories of her dancing and ranting about her life. I thought to myself, 'wow, this is a real person.'”

          With social media becoming more and more popular, and even becoming a tool to help you get jobs and internships, there’s more to it than meets the eye. Jess gives a look into her life as both a student and influencer, and there are still so many locals doing the same that you can learn a thing or two from! 

                                                                                                    *All Photos used belong to Jessica Menendez*