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Influence Peddler: Brooke Burnett

Thanks to her willingness to share all aspects of her life — good and bad — microinfluencer Brooke Burnett, aka One Small Blonde, has amassed one of the most engaged audiences online.

There is a groundswell of interest, especially in the beauty space, to engage with microinfluencers — considered to be those with fewer than 100,000 followers. The thinking is these social networkers are viewed as more authentic and net a higher engagement with fans.

That rings true for Brooke Burnett (@onesmallblonde) who, with almost 72,000 followers on Instagram, feels very connected to her audience.

“Engagement is more important than your number of followers because as long as your engagement grows with your following, then the authenticity of your brand won’t be jeopardized,” said Burnett. “Also, I find when I share more personal experiences, I get more engagement from my readers and they have expressed their appreciation that I’m ‘real life.’”

While many influencers linked to beauty use Instagram to experiment with bold cosmetics, Burnett prefers to focus on hair. “The number-one question I usually get from followers is about my hair routine and how I curl my hair. I take a lot of pride in my hair so I like to use the best quality products out there.” Among the hair brands she’s worked with are Oribe, Frédéric Fekkai, Oui, Davines, Drybar and BLNDN. Her curl tutorial is one of her most popular.

The 30-year-old Texas-based blogger got her start after working for a magazine and creating her own digital marketing agency where she helped clients craft strategies. She also has a Blogger Workshop where she helps train future bloggers. Burnett started One Small Blonde as a way to have her own creative outlet.

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In addition to beauty, she frequently posts about fashion, cooking, lifestyle, shopping and travel with a segment called Travel Tuesday. Before she jaunted off to Sedona for a girl’s weekend, she shared her social media habits with WWD — including the fact she’s trying to “shut down” sometimes.

WWD: What are your platforms of choice and why?

Brooke Burnett: Instagram is my number one because it’s the first place my followers go to get style and outfit inspiration. Also, with Instagram stories, it’s an easier way to interact with my followers and show them the real “behind-the scenes” me. I’m still a big fan of Facebook because my mom’s friends like to use Facebook more than Instagram. Personally, I use Facebook to keep up with all of my best friends and I prefer Instagram to follow influencers.

WWD: What is the first thing you check in the morning and the last in the evening?

B.B.: In all honesty, I’ve been trying to change this habit.…I typically check my e-mail first thing in the morning because my mind starts creating mental “to-do” lists as soon as I’m up. I’m trying to wait 30 minutes before looking at my phone in the morning to have my own quiet time, and not stress over everything. In the evening, the last thing I almost always look at is Instagram because I’m usually posting late at night after procrastinating too long. Again, trying to put my phone away 30 minutes before bed so I can let my mind wind down and get better, less stressed sleep.

WWD: What kinds of posts elicit the most engagement?  What gets people going?

B.B.: I’m still trying to figure this one out! With Instagram changing their algorithm so much lately, it’s been a challenge. Most of the time when I don’t love a photo it does fantastic. I think it’s because it’s more “real life” and relatable to readers. For example, my mirror photos in my living room seem to always do great. I have noticed people tend to like photos where I’m smiling more than others…I’ll take that as a compliment.

WWD: Who do you follow and why?

B.B.: I mainly follow other influencers and brands on Instagram for inspiration. I’ll be the first to admit sometimes my creative juices run low so why not look to the influencers I admire for inspiration?

WWD: What up-and-coming platform holds the most potential and why?

B.B.: I think it will be interesting to see how Instagram Stories takes it to the next level. Being able to shop directly within the Instagram app will change the game for influencers and affiliate marketing. Also, with video growing so rapidly, an app that streams your stories or live video content to all platforms would be amazing.

WWD: What’s the most challenging aspect of creating content?

B.B.: Writing is the biggest challenge for me. I typically write my posts in the morning while I’m having my coffee, but I’m way more creative and chatty after a glass of wine…Guess I should change up my routine!

WWD: In terms of beauty — where do you fall on the “maintenance” scale? What are the products you can’t live without?

B.B.: I’m very minimal when it comes to beauty. I really don’t love wearing makeup, but I have become obsessed over the last few years with my skin-care routine. There are three beauty products I seriously cannot live without: Retin-A (prescription), a charcoal mask and La Mer moisturizer.

WWD: What is your favorite beauty — services, products, etc. (massage, weekly blowouts) — or fashion indulgence?

B.B.: If someone could do my hair every other day I’d be in heaven. Ever since I was a little girl, I remember always asking my grandma to brush my hair because it put me in this serene trance. Even to this day, when I get my hair styled or highlighted it’s the most relaxed I feel…ever.

WWD: Is style innate or learned?

B.B.: Both! I’ve loved fashion and clothes since I can remember going to Limited Too to pick out my first day of school outfit. However, my style has evolved quite a bit as I’ve gotten older. Especially over the last two years, and now that I’m 30 years old my style is evolving even more. I classify my style as “simple, sophisticated and chic” which I don’t ever see changing.

WWD: When it comes to social media, how do you decide what to share and what to keep private? How much is too much?

B.B.: Since I run my own digital marketing company I want to maintain a respectful and professional outlook to my clients, but show my fun side, too. When I launched the blog, this became a bit more complicated because my readers like seeing the more “real life” side of me. I’m not afraid to tell it like it is whenever things aren’t going so great. As an influencer, I’ve realized there are probably a lot of other people who have been through the same life challenges so why not share — a little — and possibly help someone else through a rough time? I’m not saying share every little detail, but you never know [whom] you could impact.