Good Influence(r). You’re cute, but where do you stand on the issues?

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I’m not perfect. As a matter of fact, I’m far from it. However, I do spend a significant part of my days building the life I want through this platform, and I am deeply committed to making it stand for something. There are many great articles on how to be a “good influencer” from a business perspective, but this piece focuses on using your “influence for good.”

Influencer marketing has an undeniable stronghold on the consumer market. While the industry is rapidly evolving, the one constant in the #ad #sponsored madness is the power of influencers to influence everyday people, there is no escaping it. I found myself at the drugstore a few weeks ago buying cover girl lipsticks for the first time ever, for no reason other than the fact that Issa Rae and her best friends slayed the commercial. Also, @museummammy and @notoriouslydapper make me want to “meet them at the gap” to see if anything has changed since I last went into a GAP store, maybe 8 or 9 years ago? Point is, the power is with the people and some brands know it. 

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But aren’t we all influencers to some degree? Don’t we all have a responsibility to engage in discourse and stand for the truth that opposes the wrong in our society? Whether you’re a blogger, musician, actress, writer, teacher, athlete, word leader, or just another functioning member of society, you have influence, and what you do with it is crucial to shaping the world. I believe strongly in the power of people. We can do good or bad, we can heal or kill, but I believe our most important power is the ability to change mindsets, to shape culture.  

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But back on influencer marketing, I’ve always wondered why many influencers make the decision to insulate their blogs and social media platforms from discussions on politics, race relations, women’s rights, poverty, etc. I find that this happens for a variety of reasons including 1) you are privileged 2) you are completely indifferent to the struggles of others 3) you fear that opportunities will be lost if you speak out, even when the issues affect you 4) you fear that you’ll piss off the followers that disagree with your point of view 5) you care but you don’t want to mess up your feed. I’ve heard it all.

Ultimately, it is each person’s decision to use their voice how they please, but it is also my decision to challenge you to use it for good. In a time such as this, what do you have to add? The impact we make is so important, because when we’re all gone from this earth, it’s all we leave behind. If you speak out, remember this:

1. You are not alone. There are communities that will support you and that need you.
2. Do your research. Be loud, proud, and right. 
3. You don’t have to be an expert. It’s important to be knowledgeable, but expertise is not required to tell the truth. Speak from the heart and learn along the way.
4. Be Honest.
5. You are on the right side. Remember to have conviction in your words, because when you speak out against injustice, you are on the right side of history. You are telling the truth.
6. Don’t be afraid. The benefit of your silence will never outweigh freedom.
7. Look for hope, it is the guiding light to freedom. 
8. People come to your platform for your unique voice. Many bloggers and celebrities sell the same lipsticks, bags, etc., but I don’t follow or subscribe to all of them. I follow or subscribe to the people whose perspectives I value. 
9. You are more than the products you sell. 
10.You will lose people, but don't worry, they are all working their way back to the right side. It takes some longer than others.

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