Karen Friend, 46, a mum of two, changed her life after she decided to document the renovation of her newly bought house in Folkestone, Kent, a year ago.
Karen who has almost 50k followers on Instagram realized how this could help her boost her business, Emporium Parties, a girls’ makeover and pamper team situated in Kent, which she started back in 1999. Her Instagram popularity also helped her increase her sales for BDI Furniture, a business she and her husband run together.
Talking to Kent Live Mrs. Friend said: “I got to know a lot of people through Instagram, I have two friends that come and stay with me who I met on the platform. I have learnt lots about how it works and how it knows whose posts to show.”
“I saw people had lots of followers and thought ‘I want loads of followers’ but I never knew anything about Instagram influencing.”
Since her account exploded on Instagram she has been contacted by huge household brands, Proctor and Gamble, Zoflora, Oak Furniture Land and Dunelm, asking her to review their products.
The businesswoman added: “I now work with a number of different businesses. Everything I am gifted, if I don’t like it I won’t promote it. I wouldn’t be happy to promote something I wouldn’t use myself.”
“I’m not just out to get free items – but it is nice to work with other businesses. But I don’t want to be a large account, I just about able to keep on top of replying to people and posts. If someone has taken the time to comment it is only fair to do that back to them.”
One of the most expensive items Karen has been gifted, in return for posts, was a £1,600 sofa.
Brands have started looking for more affordable influencers targeting specific locations, and while most people think being an influencer is all about freebies, Karen believes people fail to understand the time and hard work it takes to become a successful influencer.
“There is a lot of stigma about social media influencing, people think it is just about free items you get given. But you end up styling, staging and you can spend hours trying to get the right video or picture for that company.”
“You’d need to spend the time on it. You can post one picture, and that can get you either five or 500 followers – it is so hit and miss.”
When asked how her family feels about her social media venture, she said her husband and sons were on board with it.
“They find it quite good, my husband used to say about me being on my phone a lot, but then when he realised I was working for our house, his attitude changed,” she said.