The Importance of Balancing Networking and Authenticity

Everyone knows that a network is essential for success in nearly everything, but to become an Instagram influencer, an enormous network of people is a prerequisite for the job. Yet with a large network, people also run the risk of diluting their personal brand or worse, becoming a diluted “people-pleaser” who lacks authenticity. Successful influencers manage to balance mass network appeal with a strong sense of self, but the market pressures and fickle attitudes of the Internet mean this is a complex process.

Jack Harris, a seasoned investor and an up-and-coming influencer who boasts nearly 45,000 followers, has established a powerful network without losing the sense of his identity. How? Harris says, “I built my brand by surrounding myself and networking with the top people in the industry.” Since an influencer is essentially an ad platform, he has kept both his mind and his eyes open about potential partnerships. Harris likens the emerging influencer market to the television commercial market, and its heavy reliance on well-known people to endorse products.

Jack always wanted a different path in life, which is why he felt drawn to entrepreneurship at an early age. Eschewing normal teenage life, Harris began investing at an early age. He enjoyed the adrenaline rush that came with the ups and downs of the markets and longed for the opportunity to travel as part of his job. “Having a…following on social media gives you a lot of opportunities to go places. There are always new products and products always need ads. This is how I am able to go and promote things all over the world and it is why I don’t see the influencer going away anytime soon,” he says. Harris has truly harnessed opportunities for independence and forging his own path as part of a strategy to earn. His Instagram shows a lifestyle to aspire to, full of exciting images. The consistent aesthetic (outdoors, action, a recurring use of light blue as a central color palette) reinforces his personal brand. This strategy helps to retain his identity, rather than allowing him to be a blank canvas on which advertisers can project what they need. The result? Authentic images and relationships with brands that do not immediately set off the “ad radar” of sophisticated audiences.

As for upcoming trends in the industry, Harris believes that the future holds increased growth in “commission-based management or campaign management.” For businesses looking to partner with influencers, this is essential information. The influencer market is not going anywhere, either: “There are always new products and products always need ads,” he stated in our interview. For companies looking to advertise on social media, authentic and strategic influencers like Jack Harris represent the gold standard. Indeed, the influencer market is anything but oversaturated; it will only continue to grow. It represents the culmination of networks, advertising platforms, and authenticity in a new way to influence purchases.

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