Influencer Spotlight: Tash Haynes at Wisdom & Courage
For today’s Influencer Spotlight, we’re chatting with Tash Haynes of Wisdom & Courage. In addition to writing about travel, motherhood and life as an influencer on her blog, Tash also runs a wedding and portrait photography business with her husband and teaches others how to kickstart their own small businesses.
Check out her interview to get a deeper look into the voice behind Wisdom & Courage and see why Tash believes authenticity and trust lead to more success down the line.
What inspired you to become an influencer?
I actually never set out to be an influencer. I was really OVER social media and wanted to get off. When I get into places like that, when I am frustrated by what I see, I am usually challenged to make it better versus running. I wanted to see a more authentic representation of motherhood but not just motherhood. I wanted to see the working mother.
As time went on and social justice issues came to the forefront, I found myself really resonating with the timing of it all, sharing more and just showing up and giving more by sharing my truths. Influencing/blogging was a natural transition into that.
What overall message are you trying to communicate to your audience?
That you can live the life of your dreams but not without sacrifice. So much of this is about what you are willing to give up to get where you're going. Sleep, time with your family, security? There is no perfect life and I don't believe balance exists, but I think we can all make a really good and satisfying life for ourselves if we believe in ourselves, stop looking at other people's papers and carve out a truth that works for us and the ones we love.
If you could only post on one social platform for the rest of your life, what would you choose and why?
I would choose Instagram. I really enjoy the community I've built there with my followers, the people I follow and the brands. It's a really fun brand, and I enjoy being on it. I feel like Instagram is all of the apps combined into one with posts, stories, reels, IGTV, IG LIVE, shops and all of the ways they continue to update and add to it.
What do you consider a successful partnership between a content creator and brand?
A successful partnership between a content creator and a brand is when there is complete freedom to be creative, to bring that creativity and storytelling to life in the content AND when a brand trusts you to do that. When they trust you to steward their product to your audience in a way that resonates for your followers and converts. That complete freedom and trust usually leads to a bigger, better and longer-term collaboration.
Many of the brands/agencies I work with that have given me autonomy in my content creation, I still support and talk about their products because the experience was so memorable and I have become a believer in what they are doing.
What should brands keep in mind when collaborating on influencer content?
I think when brands are collaborating with influencers for content, they should be very clear on the ask, the vision and the timeline. It can be incredibly frustrating to work with a brand that lacks clear ideas about what they want from creators and then doesn't give ample time to turn those creative ideas around. I would love to see brands that are clearer on their deliverables moving forward in 2021 so that I don't have to guess as a creator.
How do you combine your unique style to the brand's needs/guidelines?
I try really hard to have integrity in every decision I make around influencing/blogging. I will not contract or accept a brand deal if it's not a product or campaign that aligns with my values or if it is not something I would use or buy for full price (if it's a gift).
I want to stand behind every product I bring to my audience because they trust and believe what I am saying to them. That being said, when you operate honestly and with integrity, you don't have to do anything different because you're moving out of your reality. It just fits. I don't generally have to adjust in any way when working with brands because I keep my messaging very consistent. I want a brand, when contacting me, to know what they are going to get by checking out my website, my social media and my press kit. I want it to be so polished that there's no confusion about what I am going to offer. That is my responsibility to those I work with.
What advice would you give advertisers looking to connect with their audience?
I think we have learned this year that there's a huge oversight in representation of Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC). Advertisers who are looking to connect with their audiences need to make sure their marketing materials speak to the audience they currently serve and the one they hope to attract. There were a lot of purchases that I moved away from simply because I didn't feel the product was meant for me because there was no representation. I think advertisers need to really take a step back, assess the messages they are sending with their current approach to marketing and pivot where necessary.