When it comes to juicing, the first company we think of is Suja Juice. It goes to show that when it comes to social media, co-founder Annie Lawless definitely knows what she’s doing. Whether she’s promoting her cold-pressed juices or is promoting her latest blog post on BLAWNDE, there is something to learn from the ever-so talented Annie. Read her interview below!
Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, and I was diagnosed with Celiac disease as a child. I became very interested in nutrition and wellness as a result of my own health struggles. Throughout high school and college, I read every nutrition book I could get my hands on and fell in love with juicing. I graduated from Arizona State University with a B.A. in philosophy and moved to San Diego in August 2010 to begin law school at University of San Diego. I quickly realized law was not my passion, and became depressed for the first time in my life. I was spending all of my waking hours putting my time and energy into something I didn’t love. After several months of feeling that way, I decided to drop out and from that moment on I resolved to only do things that I love in my life. That resulted in creating my blog, BLAWNDE, and co-founding Suja Juice.
Have you always been interested in business? What about business intrigued you to start your own?
No! Our business started as a local home delivery service that I was running with my friend, Eric. We had no idea it would turn into something as big as it has become. We truly loved what we were doing and we are both extremely passionate about health and wellness. We were approached by two local investors with business backgrounds who were interested in partnering to turn it into something bigger. That was the turning point when things really began to grow.
Would you say social media helped you grow Suja Juice and your blog, BLAWNDE? In what ways?
Social media has definitely helped me grow my blog! It is such an important way to connect with your audience as a blogger. I actually created my blog because people were asking me so many health/food related questions on my Instagram photos that I decided to create a dedicated space to share more content with my audience. When I started my blog, I realized people wanted to know more about me as a person, my style, what beauty products I use, etc. I began posting a wider variety of content and using social media to announce new blog posts, share upcoming post topics to get people interested, and interact with brands.
Influencer marketing maximizes the effectiveness of a brand’s message by tapping into an influencer’s established digital and social presence.
What does it mean to be a social influencer?
A social influencer is someone whose voice and opinions carry more weight with their audience and social network than other individuals/brands/or companies. Social influencers can be a very powerful marketing tool for brands in promoting or selling their products, services, or ideas because an influencer’s audience trust them and looks to them for guidance. Influencer marketing maximizes the effectiveness of a brand’s message by tapping into an influencer’s established digital and social presence, as they tend to have the ability to affect the opinions and purchase patterns of their audience, while also exposing the brand to new prospective consumers.
When it comes to working with a PR agency, what are 3 things agencies look for in potential influencers?
It’s very important for an agency to see an influencer promote brands or products in a real and authentic way that their audience can relate to. Partnerships cannot feel forced or “sponsored,” they should appear natural and authentic. As an influencer, you can do this by using products in a different way that is unique to your needs and life, and styling things in a way that is true to you and your brand.
Beautiful imagery. When you are paid by a PR agency to rep something, it is your job to make that item/service look as great as it possibly can to your audience. Putting effort into creating beautiful photos and spotlighting the product in a way that makes it appealing and delicious to your audience is what will ultimately draw new customers in and benefit the brand.
Consistency and organization. These go hand in hand because PR agencies will work with you over and over again if you are consistently on time, quick with communication, and organized with delivery. There are often a few components to a brand partnership that include both blog posts, and various social media asks, so having each thing completed correctly, effectively, and on time per your contract makes you an ideal influencer to work with.
Is there anything difficult about being a social influencer?
It is a 24/7 job! The digital world is not a 9-5 job that you clock out of and set aside. There are always comments, e-mails, photos to edit, posts to write, Instagram/Snapchats/Tweets/Facebook updates to post. It can feel like a lot sometimes, so staying organized, preparing content in advance, and making sure to schedule time to step away so you don’t get sucked into working all day and night is very important in maintaining a healthy work/life balance.
Do you use any tools to help you manage your social platforms? If so, what are they?
In the past, I have used Hootsuite, but generally, no. Although it can feel tedious, I personally prefer to post things real time in each individual app.
What would you say has been your most successful marketing strategy to gaining followers?
Contributing content to other outlets! Anytime I am asked to do an interview or give a quote or write an article or content for a bigger article, I do it. It is extremely helpful to get your name out there to audience bases other than your own to help yours grow. You would be surprised how many people come find you if they read something you said that they liked.
You often say that authenticity is the key to keeping loyal followers. What does authenticity on social media look like?
It means not trying to fit into the “blogger” mold and have content like everyone else. There is a certain, perfected, sleek style that many bloggers have that is all starting to look the same. Don’t worry about adopting that same style or posting the same types of things other bloggers and influencers are. Post what makes your special and the things that people can only find from you because you are speaking with your own unique voice and viewpoint. In the long run, it will pay off big time!
Any advice to people who want to become a social influencer?
Just get started! It’s very easy to be deterred by what you don’t know or thinking you need a better site, a fancy photographer, tons of brand relationships, and blogger friends. You will develop all of that over months and years, but if you don’t start, you can’t build. There will never be a good time and you will never really feel like you know what you’re doing so just start somewhere and know it will all evolve, grow, and develop into something special as you find your voice and style.