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Macro influencer Ella Kirby : “I always answer all my messages. Having the relationship with the community is really important, that's what you're doing it for.”

From the pressure to post and responding to every follower’s message, life as an influencer is far from easy. In this interview, @ellakirbyx (200K followers on Instagram) outlines her approach to the job, and how she hopes to evolve her accounts over the long term.

British influencer Ella Kirby (@ellakirbyx) was working as a receptionist in London when lockdown hit in 2020. Finding herself at home with time on her hands, she began posting fashion Reels to Instagram; since the first Reel featuring @Zara hit 1M views, Kirby has never looked back. Today, she has 200K followers on Instagram, 130K followers on TikTik, with both accounts steadily growing. In demand by High Street brands, Kirby’s content is a light, informative blend of fashion and lifestyle, with a touch of the personal thrown in. In this interview with Kolsquare, Ella Kirby talks about her approach to working with brands and engaging her community.   

How would you describe your niche? 

I do fashion/lifestyle. I incorporate a little bit of makeup, hair and stuff like that. My videos always have the same background. I did that on purpose, so people know that it's me. If they’ve seen my videos before, and they want to see it again, they know it's me with the same background. My niche is fashion and often the same shops: Zara, H&M, Mango. 

How did you build your community? 

I was quite lucky. I started when Instagram was really bigging up Reels because TikTok became popular. I started to post Reels and one of them got nearly 1 million views. That's when I started to gain more followers and I thought, okay, maybe my thing is Reels, videos and try-on hauls, so I started posting more of them. Whenever I post a Zara Reel it gets so much engagement. I don't know what it is. Everyone loves Zara. But I think it's because at the time I posted, Instagram really pushed it and that's why I got a lot of views. Before then, Instagram was mainly pictures, grid posts, and single pictures. I started posting pictures, but now it's more Reels. 

Do you differentiate your content for TikTok and Reels? 

No I don't. I started posting more on Instagram. TikTok I didn't really do until a bit later on, where I could literally just post my Reels onto TikTok, and I started getting followers from that. TikTok looks a bit more relaxed. I do more talking on TikTok. But the Reels I create for Instagram, I post on TikTok.

Do you feel pressure to post often? 

Definitely. For example, when I'm going on holiday, in my head I'm thinking, how many times am I going to post? I should film this week to post for next week. There is quite a bit of pressure to always keep posting because I feel if I don't post, my followers might decrease. I always want to keep it going, increasing the followers and making people engaged. I've got a schedule of when to post. It's definitely a full time job. I have a side job in TV that I work for three months, and then a few months off focusing on my Instagram full-time, and then back to that. When I'm doing the TV job, I've got to fit my Instagram in on the weekends. Right now I’m doing my Instagram full time, which is good because I’ve got more time.

How do you manage your relationships with brands? 

Keeping a relationship with the brand is very important because you want to keep the brands coming in. I have an agent and he sorts out all the collabs and the money side. He gets 20%, which is good, because I probably wouldn't get most of the collabs without him. 

Sometimes my agent sends me a brand, and when I've looked on their website, I don't like anything, it's not really my style. In that case, I have to say no, because I don't want to share anything that I wouldn't wear normally.

What kind of brand deals do you do most often? 

I always get to keep the clothes. Each company is different. Sometimes it’s one video, or one video and some stories, or just one TikTok. They send the brief with what I need to include, the hashtags or the apps they want me to mention in the post, and they have to approve it before it’s posted. There was one time my video got rejected because I had the dress on back to front.  

I always label #ad, just because I like to let people know that it's an ad. Most of the brands say to put it in but not all of them do. If they don't say it, I still put it in.

What’s your approach to engaging with your community? 

I always answer my messages. I feel like that's really important, just having that relationship with your audience. That's what you're doing it for.  I've messaged a few influencers before and I've had no reply. I know they probably get a lot of messages, but I just always like to keep up with them if people are asking me questions. If I'm making a video showing all these clothes and they're asking me what size, then I wouldn't not answer them because that's what I'm making the video for. 

It's definitely part of the job. I like to do a Q&A on my Instagram just to keep that relationship. Also replying back to each comment on my videos. I like to do that, I like to say thank you to all the comments. That does take a lot of time. I have to fit it in my schedule, just to reply back to comments and DMs.

Do you limit what kind of content you share with your community? 

I do share some private stuff. Things with my boyfriend and going out with friends. People want to know that side of me as well. They like my videos, but I want them to see me as a person, going out, having fun. I do post some family time stuff as well. I have a little nephew, so I always post him because he's funny and I get loads of comments about how cute he is. 

I don't share political comments or about things going on in the news. I've had a few comments saying, “oh, you've not spoken about this, but you need to speak up with your platform”. It can get a bit like they expect you to post about everything political, but I stay away from that.

Your account recently saw a spike of 10K followers, do you know why that was? 

I always speak to my agent about this to try to figure it out. One of my videos got 1.3 million views recently. So that makes people follow. It’s crazy. The potential for bots and fake followers is a big worry of mine because obviously I'm getting these followers, but I want them to be real. The bots do worry me. Sometimes I get a few messages from weird accounts. 

Do you see yourself working as an influencer in the long-term? 

I’m really happy with how my TV job and Instagram work together right now. I would like to do it completely full time. I know that I'm going to get older, hopefully start a family, so I would incorporate that as well, and my content might change a bit. That's why I like people seeing me as a person because I want to incorporate family life when I'm older. I don't think I'll share fashion forever. If I have kids, maybe I’ll incorporate them and fashion with them. 

What appeals to you most about the work?

I find it is really easy to incorporate. I like fashion anyway, so to do it as a job, I really enjoy it. What I like about it is people messaging me, sending me pictures of them in outfits that I've shown in my videos, and saying that I’ve helped them find an outfit. It’s really rewarding. 

And what do you like least about it? 

Probably keeping up with trends all the time. Trends are always changing. Just keeping up with the trends, and being a bit ahead of them. That side of it can be a bit of pressure. 

About Kolsquare

Kolsquare is Europe’s leading Influencer Marketing platform, a data-driven solution that allows brands to scale their KOL Marketing strategies and implement authentic partnerships with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). Kolsquare’s technology enables marketing professionals to easily identify the best Content Creators profiles by filtering their content and audience, and to build and manage their campaigns from A to Z, including measuring results and benchmarking performance against competitors. Kolsquare has built the largest community of influencer marketing experts in the world, and offers hundreds of customers (Coca-Cola, Netflix, Sony Music, Publicis, Sézane, Sephora, El Corte Inglés, Lacoste, …) the latest Big Data, AI and Machine Learning technologies to drive inspiring partnerships, tapping into an exhaustive network covering 100% of  KOLs with more than 5,000 followers in 180 countries on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. As a Benefit Company, Kolsquare has been pioneering Responsible Influence by championing transparency, ethical practices, and meaningful collaborations to inspire change.

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