When the Eiffel Tower starts to sparkle – interview with influencer @discoverparis_
Magdalena is an influencer on a mission to spark change in people who spend days fantasizing about their future, but face the daily struggle of turning it into reality. Together let’s find out what motivates her to pursue her dreams and how she can inspire you to do the same.
Question: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your account.
Answer: I’m originally from Poland, but I moved to Paris a year ago to get my Doctoral Degree in Cognitive Psychology. Living in Paris has always been a dream of mine, so when it finally came true, I decided to create a blog and an Instagram account to tell people all about it. I wanted to share this city’s true magic and reflect it’s character and charm in my pictures. Paris has an allure beyond other cities and I think it’s definitely worth sharing with the world.
Q: Did you create an Instagram for fun, or was it a conscious decision to become an influencer?
A: It was definitely for fun! I remember a time when my friends started to migrate from Facebook and gravitate more towards Instagram. I must admit, I felt very intrigued and excited about it, because I had no idea what Instagram was or all of its possibilities. So, I created my account out of curiosity and started to post spontaneously. When I moved to Paris, that’s when it all changed. It’s funny because I get asked a lot whether Instagram helped me to overcome my fears and insecurities to move to Paris. The truth is, moving to Paris allowed me to overcome my fears and insecurities to start a career as an influencer on Instagram.
Q: What does your job as an influencer look like on a daily basis?
A: Well, you may ask ‘What’s so difficult about taking pictures and posting it on Instagram?’ but there’s a lot of time and energy involved in building your account. You need to create a strategy, plan your content ahead and define your style. Every time you want to post a picture, you need to think of how to present the story behind it so that the message you want to send is clear. You also need to think of how to make it consistent with your feed. Then you must also remember to do your best in creating an intriguing, inspiring and interesting caption that will encourage your audience to be active and engage with you through likes, comments and DMs.
Q: What are the most difficult aspects of being an influencer?
A: To me, it’s being online all the time. You can’t allow yourself to take a longer break because there’s a risk that part of your audience will disconnect from you. In August, when I was travelling a lot and had a limited Internet access, I wasn’t that active and I was shocked when my statistics started to go down. If you don’t work full-time, it’s really difficult to maintain your position in this industry.
I think planning and organizing is also quite challenging. There are so many things I want to accomplish and sometimes I get a little overwhelmed with arranging all of my tasks. In moments like that I just motivate myself to sit down and think of the ways to manage my time more efficiently. I need to plan the content ahead, do research about the locations, consider all the collaboration proposals and find a time to engage with my audience. I need to fit all of this into my schedule so that the content I produce will be delivered to my audience regularly.
Thanks to collaborations and campaign proposals, my account has gained credibility. If brands trust me enough in promoting their product, my followers are more likely to trust my judgement as well.
Q: How do you choose the scenery you show in your photos?
A: In Paris, it’s extremely easy to find beautiful spots to shoot. Seriously, take a turn on any street and you’ll always find a magical wonderland just around the corner. This city is so inspiring that most of the time when I see a location I really like, the frames instantly pop up in my head.
My favourite place to shoot is in the boulevards of Paris, and the beauty of the Seine is just unspeakable. As much as I’d like to describe it, you need to see and experience it’s beauty for yourself to get it. I like to shoot near the Eiffel Tower as well, but it’s very difficult to shoot there since it’s so crowded with tourists. I basically focus on visualizing how I can present this city to show my followers the awe of its beauty.
Q: What is most important for you when creating visuals?
A: To me the key to creating breathtaking shots is natural light and perspective. Very often my friend, who’s my photographer, listens to my instructions on how I’d like the photo to look and we work on getting that result together. If our visions don’t align, I take the camera and we change roles until he gets an idea of what I’d like the end product to look like (laughter).
After shooting and picking the right photo, I play around with Photoshop where I change lightning, exposure, contrast etc. Then I use Lightroom in which I’ve created my own, custom ‘milky’ preset – that way all of my pictures have the same vibe and tone. It took me a long time to figure out the style I want to go with, it was definitely by trial and error, but I’m very happy with the results now and I would recommend it to all influencers to create their own, to define their feed’s style!
Q: What is most important for you when creating the content?
A: There must be a story behind every picture. I created my blog and Instagram account to share how life in Paris truly looks, so I try my best to show that in my pictures and captions. Possibilities are endless here and I want to bring my audience closer to understanding everything that it has to offer.
I also write a lot about dreams. Moving to Paris was always my biggest dream and I did it even though it was the scariest thing in the world to me at the time… and I want to share that. I got tired of hearing “buts” when people talk about their hopes for the future: “…but I don’t have enough money…but I’m too old…but I’ll never be able to do that” – there’s always that “but” that stands between us and our ultimate success and happiness. We need to fight this epidemic! My main goal is to motivate people to follow their dreams and never give up hope because everyone can achieve what seems to be unachievable – and the best way to start is to simply start believing.
Q: What motivates you to grow your account?
A: My audience. If not them, running my account wouldn’t make much sense. And I’m talking about both my new followers and the ones who have been there with me from day one, whom I already have relationship with. They ask me a lot of questions, send me direct messages and comment on my photos – they motivate me everyday. My followers create that drive in me to do more, to want more and to grow as a content creator.
Most importantly, the brand must fit my account’s style and reflect my interests and the message I want to send to my followers.
Q: How would you describe your audience?
A: There are a lot of people who are just like me – they’re dreamers. They seek support, inspiration and advice from me and my community. I see my followers as my family and close friends, even though it’s a virtual relationship. We all know we can count on each other, I’m here for them and they’re here for me. Whenever I can, I try to answer all of their messages and keep in touch with them. I’m very interested in who they are, how they’re doing and I want to get to know them just like they get to know me. It’s definitely a motivational and nurturing relationship.
Q: What is the best way to deal with negative comments?
A: The best thing you can do is address the situation and tell the authors of those comments what you truly think of what they said and how it made you feel. Hiding and ignoring those comments won’t be of much use in the long run because there’s always a risk that other people will notice that you avoid confrontation and will write the same thing. If you tell them from the bottom of your heart what you think in a polite manner, people will see that you’re a sincere person. It’s not about getting into a dispute – it’s about explaining where you come from and why it’s not ok to write that kind of thing.
Q: You’ve grown so much as influencer. Did cooperating with brands help you to grow?
A: I think that people started to take me more seriously. Thanks to collaborations and campaign proposals, my account has gained credibility. If brands trust me enough in promoting their product, my followers are more likely to trust my judgement as well.
Q: What are your criteria when choosing to cooperate with brands?
A: Most importantly, the brand must fit my account’s style and reflect my interests and the message I want to send to my followers. I never choose random brands that don’t match my content, I don’t see any point in that. I usually have three of four photos scheduled upfront so when I get a new collaboration proposal I know straight away if it’s going to be in line with what I intend to post, and if not – I turn it down.
Accepting all collaborations draws your followers away from you because they see that as an influencer, you’re not creating content out of passion to influence and inspire them, but you do this only for the money. I never liked that approach because I understand that it can do you more harm than good. I care way more about building a relationship with my audience than about the money or a product.
partnering up with a brand allows us to learn how to conduct a business and develop meaningful and long-lasting business relations. I think it gives us a chance to self-develop and I have a very positive attitude about it.
Q: What is your idea of a dream collaboration with a brand?
A: Definitely when brands give influencers space for creative freedom. It’s all about setting the frame of action, but at the same time giving us an opportunity to create in accordance with our vision and aesthetic. Of course the campaign has its goal and determined theme, but it should be flexible enough for an influencer to be able to match the content to his/her audience’s expectations. Ultimately, we are the ones who know our followers best. We know what they like and how to promote a product to encourage them to try it and I think that giving us a chance to show that is vital for the collaboration to turn out successful.
Q: What are the benefits of cooperating with brands?
A: Most influencers are very young and inexperienced and taking on collaborations gives them an amazing opportunity to get to know the business and marketing world a little better. Most of us didn’t have any experience in that area so partnering up with a brand allows us to learn how to conduct a business and develop meaningful and long-lasting business relations. I think it gives us a chance to self-develop and as a influencer, I have a very positive attitude about it.
Q: Does being an influencer allow you to do anything which you couldn’t have done before?
A: In real life I’m a shy person, so I stepped into the blogosphere to open up a little and gain confidence. It definitely helped me tremendously to come out of my shell. It also helped me to grow both artistically and creatively.
Q: What are 3 pieces of advice you have for someone who is just starting out in this industry?
- Be yourself – don’t pretend to be someone else, because people want to get to know the real you!
- Engage with your audience – make this relationship work both sides: allow them to get to know you, but also make sure to get to know them, otherwise it will be more of a monologue. People like to feel needed and important, so ask them for advice as well!
- Be patient – don’t check statistics obsessively! Most importantly, care for your followers and the numbers will sooner or later appear.