What’s in a name? Am I a blogger or an influencer or… just Peggy?

Instagram is on full speed. Everybody talks about it, most people have it. But what does that mean for the blog world? I for one have noticed that my blog visitors have decreased, while my Instagram is growing every single day. Honestly, I’m very happy that my Instagram does well, as I put a lot of effort in it. Making sure I have nice pictures, thinking about the right caption to put with every image and interacting with my followers. It takes quite a lot of time and I’ve noticed that some days I spend an average of 2.5 hours on Instagram. When you come to think of it, that’s bananas. I don’t spend the same amount of time on Instagram every day of course, I have to work, sometimes I’m not in the mood but let’s calculate.

Let’s say 1.5 hours per day. We multiply by 7 which brings us to 10.5 hours per week. I can conclude that between less active and active IG days I spend an average of 1.5 work day per week on that little app. Isn’t that crazy? I used to spend those hours on blogging, but during the holidays I always blog less as there’s less response and I am often busy with other things or travel. Plus the fact that I’m focussing more on my Instagram has caused a less active blog as well. I wonder, is blogging slowly dying? What do you think?

I still like to take my time to discover new products, to try out a new nail polish, to test a new anti-aging cream for a month. I still love to review products and I totally love to inform people and give advice. But, do people still read the full story or review on a blog? Doesn’t that take too much of their precious time?

Instagram, influencer, Peggy Timmermans, makeup artist, This Is Peggy

A selection of my Instagram feed.

Instagram is quick. It’s a moment in time every day, and for some even two to three times a day. So many pictures, so many brands, so many stories, so many info…but also…so much bullshit. I have created my Instagram page in the very beginning, I think in the first half of 2011 and I was posting pictures like crazy. It’s to say, I was taking pictures via the IG app because of the filters. Those ‘beginning’ pictures have been deleted as they were blurry snapshots and lots of concert pics, which was all fine at the start of Instagram. At the time I didn’t even realise that you could put a caption, imagine! I couldn’t care less, I had like 44 followers. Over time, Instagram became more and more popular. I saw my followers growing and started to get comments and decided that my feed would not only be a great addition to my blog, and also for my work as a makeup artist. My pictures became better and better, it became clear that my feed was all about beauty. A few years ago it all changed. The term Instagram Influencer was born and in order to become one of those you had to have a lot of followers and engagement. Since Facebook has bought IG it became big business. Nowadays you can sponsor your posts -if you can call putting up a picture and a caption even that- and you can earn money with it. A bunch of lucky people make their full time living from Instagram, like the sweet Totally Two girls to name just a few.

Instagram, influencer, Peggy Timmermans, makeup artist, This Is Peggy

I just called them ‘the sweet’ Totally Two girls and you all know that I’m talking about Céline and Talisa. I can almost hear you saying ‘ah pff they are fake, ah pff, they have bought their followers,…’ I remember when they were featured in ‘Koppen’ and the big buzz that was created. ‘Are those girl for real?’ ‘How the hell can you earn money with drinking tea and posting a picture about it?’ Many more questions were asked and there was a huge topic on Facebook about the two girls from Limburg. I read the whole deal and once again I realized how bitchy girls and women can be when it comes to success of others. Jealousy? I’m pretty sure it’s a factor. Although a lot of young girls and women said that they would never expose their body like that -I want to point out loud and clear hear that that is perfectly fine and I respect that- a lot of them would do the same if it would mean they would become booming. I have met the two girls on various occasions and to me they have always been sweet and friendly and quite open about their business and I congratulate them on their success. The way they got to the IG top can be whatever it is, I don’t care, they worked hard and they did it. Honest Peggy is on a roll here, I will assure you, if IG would have existed when I was 25 I would have taken pictures in bathing suits and bikini all the time, I would try to get the most out of it and would show my pretty young face to the world. But that’s just me, you don’t have to agree with me. If you want to succeed, you have to work hard, never give up, and a dose of luck comes in very handy. ‘It’s not what you know but who you know’ is another great phrase when it comes to being successful but let’s not forget, in order to meet the right people you have to achieve something. I repeat, hard work and being persistent are necessary. So let’s not be jealous of those who are successful as an influencer, let’s applaud them and then work even harder. It might be your turn one day!

Am I never jealous? Oh God yes. When I see Francine’s IG feed –mylifeincolors-, I wish every single time that I looked like her, I had her body, her number of followers and especially her wardrobe. But does that make me say she’s fake or she bought her followers? Hell no, this lady works hard and even though I’ve never met her in real live, I think she’s amazing. I’m not jealous in a bad way, I’m jealous in a way that makes me work harder and continuously try to approve my own IG feed. Am I never jealous of other make-up artists? For sure. You can’t imagine how often I’ve thought ‘That job should have been mine’ or ‘I can do this too’ and ‘Why don’t I know more people in fashion?’ My job is a struggle and let’s face it, there are many, many make-up artists in little Belgium, and it’s a hard knock life. But I won’t give up. I can be proud of many things that I’ve done already and I will continue climbing to the top of the hill.

Instagram, influencer, blogger, Peggy Timmermans, This Is Peggy

Another fact is that I like to collab with other make-up artists, something that should be done so much more often, as it creates new opportunities. Jealousy will only kill the vibe. Jealous of Nanja Massy? Hell yes that happens! But not in the way you think! She’s a true sweetheart and I have worked with her on many occasions and we always click. So whenever I have a job I can’t take I will think of her, and she thinks of me too so we work together every now and then and I’m very grateful for that. That’s the way it should be.

So what’s the deal with this whole influencer marketing stuff? Basically it’s a new way of publicity for brands. Advertising in magazines, tv or cinema theatre is above expensive. Brands will still follow these advertising paths but people -influencers- who have a lot of followers on their blog or Instagram have become very important. If they have a good engagement it’s even better. If you can reach 100.000 people with a picture of yourself or a certain product and a brand has to pay 500 Euros for you to make that picture, post it and tag the brand, that’s cheap publicity. Of course it’s a different kind of publicity and brands have to be clever. They shouldn’t send a high-end anti-ageing serum to an 18 year old with a huge young girls following, it just doesn’t make any sense and the brand won’t reach their (potential) customers. You can’t imagine the number of times I’ve been asked to promote gin, baby stuff or some product from Australia…to me it’s a sign that the brand didn’t really research. I won’t post a picture in trade of a bottle of gin although I don’t have anything against gin, I’m a rum lady.

Instagram, influencer, Peggy Timmermans, makeup artist, This Is Peggy

Recently lovely lady Elfi De Bruyn has posted a topic about the influencer vs Tomorrowland, for her it was just to give an example and I quite follow her in it. On the other side I won’t lie. I’m a freelancer which means I never know if I will have earned enough money by the end of the month to pay all the bills and getting some Influencer jobs gives me some extra breathing space. If  the product or brand fits me and fits my feed and ideas, I will accept. Let me make something very clear, I don’t earn 500 Euros per post, damn I wish, but my reach is not big enough to get that amount of money, however I see myself as very engaged and I will make sure to do my best and deliver. Besides, I’m a very enthusiastic person and I still get super happy when brand send me new products and I’m already grabbing my phone before I’ve even opened the box! InstaStories has become kind of a hobby to me and no, I don’t get paid to show you those products. I just like to do that. I get very happy when brands contact me to propose a campaign and want to pay me for my effort and work and I am not afraid to say that.

I would even go further. If a wedding gown brand would contact me to make a few posts about a certain dress and they are willing to pay me let’s say 1500 Euros to do that, I would organize a photoshoot, do makeup and hair and create beautiful images. But, I’m not married and have no plans. Is that selling my soul to the devil? My God no, I do bridal makeup professionally, it would be an add to my portfolio, it still fits me.

Do I deserve more credibility and fame? Of course I do! At least I’d like to think so. So if I want to succeed I need to work harder and become noticed. I never said professional life wasn’t a struggle!

I know this influencer thing has become big business. I also know that there are many out there that promote healthy tea one day and a burger the next day to go to quinoa the following. Is that stupid? Is that not real? You might think it is but if that certain influencer thinks it’s ok, who am I to judge? A week later we have forgotten anyway…

Don’t think that all of those Influencers cash big. If you get 100 Euro to make an Insta picture, to write a Tweet and a blog post you will have 52 Euros -in case you are a full time independent in Belgium- in your pocket by the time you’re done. From that 52 Euros you have to deduct your time, and the materials that you might have bought to take the picture to another level. It will take you a lot of pictures to pay the bills. Obviously I’m not talking about the big influencers out there, who get between 500-1500 Euros per picture or even more, the celebrities and models who cash into the thousands of dollars, the lucky few I like to call them.

I will continue doing what I want to do, what I think is good for me, I will take on campaigns that I believe in and I will make it as much Peggy as I can. Do whatever makes you happy. I will stay true to myself but I won’t say no to paid campaigns or posts, as long as I can have peace with it. Oh and btw… if Crocs would offer me 10.000 Euros to promote their shoes, bring it on. I will funk those things up and use them to store my makeup brushes. That is Peggy.

How do you feel?

If you got curious to see my Instagram feed, feel free to hop over and make my day!

Live and let live,

Peggy Timmermans
Written by Peggy Timmermans