Title: Influencer: Building your Personal Brand in the Age of Social Media

Author: Brittany Hennessy

Pages: 256

Publisher: Citadel Press

Publication Date: July 31st, 2018

Genre: Non-Fiction, Business and Investing

In the digital space, an influencer is a person with social currency with high levels of engagement and will propel his or her followers to act in a particular way; mostly to make purchases.

Although the label “influencer” has developed a negative connotation over the last couple of years, no one can dispute that it is a lucrative income stream.  Based on her experience as the first-ever Senior Director of Influencer Strategy and Talent Partnerships at Hearst Magazines Digital Media,  Brittany Hennessy provides a blueprint for building and maintaining an online career.

Social media marketing is a segment of communications that is commonly misunderstood. However, its power is quite undeniable with both positive and negatives. Less is spoken about the skills and effort required in pitching, planning and delivering on the perfect campaign for a brand. Hence, it is important to know how to navigate its murky waters. Just ask Kendall Jenner about the Pepsi commercial debacle.

Hennessy makes the case for knowing what kind of influencer you choose to be and how to wield your social currency. One does not necessarily need over a million followers on your chosen social media platforms to attract strong and profitable brands. Rather, one can still be regarded as a successful micro-influencer: one with small but dedicated number of followers. She guides readers on core influencer principles and how they can optimise the value of their social media channels to appeal to brands. At the same time, she emphasises the need for the influencer to remain anchored in his or her personal brand. She proposes a 70/30 ratio when accepting sponsorships i.e. 70 percent of your content should organic and 30 percent should be sponsored.

Influencer is a great tool for content creators because it feels as if Hennessy is holding your hand throughout the process. She provides communication scripts for various stages in the collaborations stage since communicating and negotiating with various brands tends to be the most difficult part for newbies.The book is very accessible because she goes to great lengths to break down industry lingo.  There are additional interesting features such as expert tips, influencer insights (illustrations for points made), influencer icons (interviews with successful influencers) and my personal favourite, “don’t be that girl” segment where she shares anecdotes where content creators have committed industry faux pas.

One of the highlights of this book is advice from Joy Cho of Oh Joy! She refutes the commonly held assumption that being a fulltime entrepreneur and working from home will rid of your “9-5” cage. She says:

Yes, you can have more flexibility because you are in control of your hours, but it’s not something to go into thinking you will have more time. The time is just dispersed differently…

…Yes, you can take vacations without asking your “boss” but on vacations, you are likely checking emails and doing some sort of maintenance since it’s hard to completely shut yourself off from work when you run your own business.

Influencer is for aspirational content creators who need to make a couple of tweaks in how they manage their online businesses from building their online communities, packaging their brand and monetizing their influence. For Kenyan readers and content creators, if you have watched Sharon Mundia’s (This is Ess) recent video on putting together a rate card, then you will definitely appreciate Influencer.

Note: This book was sourced from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review


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