By Rachael Gerron
Web Content Contributor
Digital content creator and recent Texas State University graduate, Summer Rachel Warren, spoke to current Mass Communication students last week about her experience as an influencer and entrepreneur. Warren has nearly 250 thousand Tik-Tok followers and over 90 thousand followers on Instagram.
On these social media platforms, Warren partners with clothing brands such as; Nasty Gal, Boo Hoo and Princess Polly to post fashion and lifestyle content. These companies send her clothes in exchange for her social media promotion.
While many people in this position would be tempted to accept every offer they received, Warren expresses her hesitation in doing so. As an influencer, she thinks it’s important to be genuine with her followers and only promote brands she wants to work with.
“I have to really love the clothes. I look at it and say, ‘If I would actually buy this with my own money today; then yes I will work with you.’ Because I have to be genuine… They’ll know right away, ‘Summer doesn’t actually like this, she is doing this for a check,’” said Warren.
In her most famous Tik-Tok, with 2.6 million views, Warren shows off a cute, neutral fall look.
As far as creating content to post, Warren says she gets her inspiration from life experiences. She has lived in places all over the world, such as South Korea and Germany, and these places have inspired her content and creativity.
“If you have an eye for something and it’s special to you…people who love it will follow you,” said Warren. “Everything around me inspires me, and I just put it online.”
When asked about her number one piece of advice for anyone wanting to become a social media influencer, Warren says, “Consistency is key.” She says that she has been posting on Instagram two to three times a day for a year so far, and plans to continue to do so.
She admits that at the beginning it was hard. She was afraid of annoying people with multiple posts a day, but once she got over the fear, her Instagram took off.
“Treat it like your audience is a million people… Someone is bound to listen,” said Warren.
Although every day is different in this field, a typical day for Summer consists of opening packages from brands, filming try on hauls for YouTube, videos for Tik-Tok and posting on Instagram a few times a day. She also spends a lot of time editing and perfecting all of this content. Warren says that when she has a break in the day, she still works; posts an Instagram story, or talks to her followers.
Warren jokingly said, “Somehow I manage to eat one meal a day.”
This hard work has clearly paid off.
Warren explains that in this career, it can be hard to measure success because unlike normal nine to five jobs, influencers get paid different amounts for the same work based on a number of different things. Warren admits that there is a lack of transparency about how much influencers get paid for brand deals or at what rate their following should be increasing. Because of this, she sets goals for herself and measures her success by her accomplishments.
“As long as I’m growing consistently–that’s all I really care about,” said Warren.
Last summer, Warren set a goal of gaining 10 thousand followers per month, which she remarkably surpassed. Her current reach is 1.3 million people.
Warren partially attributes this success to a company she had an internship with over the summer, and she recommends applying for as many internships as you can during time off.
“I didn’t want to just sit around that summer and go hang out at the square and chill at Chimy’s every day,” said Warren. “I wanted more out of life.”
Out of the 80 internships she applied for, Warren ended up working for the Mayfair Group; a company that manages fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands. Warren worked for the social media sector during her internship.
Aside from work experience, network expansion is another important factor for influencers. Warren credits her sorority at Texas State (Zeta Tau Alpha) with helping her do this.
“It increased my network by at least a thousand,” says Warren.
Girls in college (especially girls in sororities) have an advantage when it comes to marketing in this industry. Girls commonly share new clothing brands with each other and naturally promote, so collaborating with an influencer in this demographic is extremely helpful to brands.
“The combination of dressing up, and wearing a new outfit everywhere I went, and documenting it made brands kind of notice me,” said Warren.
“I guess I never stopped playing dress up,” said Warren.
As far as future plans; Warren is starting her own clothing brand, which should be launching in early 2021. You can keep up with the launch of Summer’s clothing brand and her fashion and lifestyle content by following her Instagram, Tik-Tok and YouTube!
Watch Summer Warren’s full interview below.
Featured taken by Rene Reyes, Edited by Rachael Gerron.