StudentNews_ChirstyHarkins

Fashion Branding student is climbing the ‘Influencer Marketing’ career ladder

Thu, 17 Jun 2021 17:12:00 BST
(Pictured above) Images from Chirsty's Instagram profile
(Pictured above) Images from Chirsty's Instagram profile

A GCU student has been building an Instagram profile that’s paved the way to paid posts and a future career in social media marketing.

Social media apps have become a new means of advertising and third year International Fashion Branding student Chirsty Harkins is making the most the opportunities it can provide.

Chirsty was first offered to attend a venue for a complimentary night out last year in March when Missoula in Glasgow got in touch with her to offer free food, drinks and a pamper package to Chirsty and her friends. She said;

“They invited me along to a charity event they were hosting so we got to get our nails done, we got a cocktail masterclass and some free drinks so that was really cool.

I was sitting at uni the day and I got the notification from them inviting me and I was so happy because I used to always go there!

They actually invited me again a couple of weeks ago to try out their new menu for free and I remember getting there and it just felt so weird asking for this and that and not having to pay for it.

I kind of felt bad but they’ve been so nice to me”

Chirsty explained the first time she received a free product to try and share her reviews of on her Instagram page. She said;
“My first gifted collaboration product was a small business based in Renfrewshire.

It was a sweetie company and I have such a sweet tooth so this really suited me!

They sent me out this big bag of sweets and I think that’s when I realised that I could really do something with this – and I could take it further and work with other brands.

I really enjoy going out for food and sharing photos of it and many times people have messaged me and asked where I was.
I’d see them going to that place a week later and I thought I could be doing something with this.”

Studying in the branding field, it couldn’t be a better time for Chirsty to soak up every opportunity to build an online profile that could help open new doors when it comes to building a long-term career.

Chirsty explained; “I’m always so undecided about what I want to do when I finish uni - I feel like everyone is.

But I would like to have my own business, so I feel like growing followers on Instagram is giving me that platform so that if one day I was to put out a business I would have all these followers that tap into it.

She added; “Also since I’m learning how to promote for other brands, that gives me the experience in promoting for my own brand and how to collaborate with other influencers if I was on the other end.

It’s given me that insight of how I would go about sending packages and things out to people to promote my own business.”

Aside the perks of freebies and a bit of extra cash whilst still being a student, Chirsty talked about how she’s met new people whilst embarking in this new world of work. She said;

“It’s allowed me to make friends as well because you get to know people that will support you and you’ll support them back – and they’ve got the same mindset as you.

I know some people have quite negative views on social media but I think it’s a great way to connect with people all over the world”.

The role of a ‘social media influencer’ has had its fair share of criticism since social networking has evolved over the years, but Chirsty discussed the huge positives of using this type of media to reach consumers of a more personal level. She said;

“Since everyone is doing it, there can be negativity around brands not paying you for promotion - because they know if you won’t do it for free, someone else will.

But, I think it is good because everyone is always on their phones, we’re moving away from TV and magazines so it is the best way for brands to get their name out there – and also seeing a real person promote a product rather than a fake advert.

She added; “I do understand the criticism because sometimes it can seem people are just getting paid to say that something is good, but I do think this type of marketing works and it’s the way forward!”

 

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