Whether you love them or hate them, influencers are a part of your social media experience—and you can’t ignore it.
Some brands question the value of influencers, while others fully embrace these trust-building social butterflies. I spend a good deal of time curating and purging my Instagram feed. Through this process, I focus on who I can learn from, who inspires me, who helps me feel my best, and who challenges me.
While home styling and interior design have always been a passion of mine, in 2020, I became obsessive. Like much of the world not on the front lines, I spent all my time at home. I wanted to create a safe haven in an extremely tough time. Uninspired by my normal go-tos, I sought out to diversify my feed. It’s the best decision I have ever made on Instagram, and my house has never brought me so much joy and creativity.
Here’s the thing. Any chance I get to introduce someone to Shavonda Garder, I. Will. Take. It. Here’s why:
Now, as much as I would love for this just to be my podium to tell you about my fandom of Shavonda Gardner, there’s more here to discuss. The things I love about Shavonda as a content creator is something I’ve seen across the home interior space. You’ve got DIY bloggers like Cass Smith, who has crazy DIY skills and the ability to make you scoop up the power tools she’s using, the lipstick she’s wearing, and fashion your hair into cute buns, faster than I can say #Influenced. What I’ve noticed from these DIY home influencers is they make you believe in yourself. Why wouldn’t you purchase the same tools from the person that made you feel so confident? Isn’t that every brand’s dream partnership?
Ad breaks. We all know them. The commercial break on Hulu that gives you 60 precious seconds to run to the bathroom during your binge. But, now ad breaks have entered the influencer world. As you’re scrolling through your favorite influencer’s Instagram story, you’re hit with a frame that simply says “Ad Break”. Then, after a few frames of said advertisement, you see a conclusion of, “Thank you for your support.” Medina from Grillo Designs is credited with the concept and this format of sponsored content has swept across almost every home influencer I follow.
As an advertiser, you may be thinking, “But I want my content to fit naturally into the influencer’s lifestyle. Isn’t that the whole point of an influencer?” Yes and no. There are some brand partnerships that are just too obvious that it is a brand partnership. For example, both Shavonda and her bestie Carmeon Hamilton, were part of a Lincoln Corsair brand partnership. While the brand itself doesn’t feel forced, cars don’t naturally into their lifestyle content either. If they hadn’t used the “Ad Break” messaging, it would have felt forced, disingenuous, and possibly hurt their credibility on other brand partnerships. Transparency is one of the greatest things an influencer can offer both consumers AND brands. Those that aren’t eventually will be called out and consumers will stop trusting them, along with any brand they have represented.
Home interior content creators that I have welcomed into my feed are some of the best influencers I have seen. They practice honesty, transparency, and give genuine real reviews for the brands they represent. Their branded content fits beautifully alongside the content about their families and real lives. Haven’t these traits always been at the heart and soul of what makes a good influencer in the first place? The value and future success of influencer brand partnerships hinge on keeping consumers trust at the heart of the business relationship.