Insights on Instagram by an Influencer: Chandana Munipalle


What led you to start your page on Instagram and what is it about?
I was blogging way before Instagram existed. Those were days when there was a very small blogger community in India. Instagram was just an extension of my personal blog. Another social media platform where I could promote my blog, showcase my work, and follow others in the same field. With time, Instagram went from being just another social media platform to being THE platform for content creators, artists, photographers, influencers, and brands & businesses too. Today my Instagram feed is like a mini version of my blog where I share about my personal style, travels, and snippets from my life. I still continue to blog on my website and run it full-time

How would you distinguish the term blogger from an influencer?
There is a vast difference, yet that line of distinction can sometimes get blurry. The term “blogger” was first used for people who used to create specific content through blog posts and have their own websites. Social media didn’t exist in a huge way then. Any blogger/vlogger/content creator can become an influencer once their work/content reaches a point where it is being viewed by a lot of people, helping a lot of people, and is actually ‘influencing’ the viewers’ opinions and/or buying decisions. You don’t start off by deciding “I want to be an influencer”. It’s something that happens along the way, it’s a part of the journey, once you and your work get enough recognition. 
“Influencer” is a term that has been coined very recently, and more so for platforms like Instagram, Vine,  TikTok, and such. So I really have an issue when people send me messages asking “How can I become an influencer?”. The fact is you cannot become that on Day1! You create content about something that you know, and you are passionate about, and if it resonates with people and they follow you, they get influenced by you, then you are an influencer as well. 

Is it financially sustainable to be an influencer today?
Yes, it is possible. Like I said, for someone to become an influencer, you need to be a content creator first. And creating good content consistently is tough. There is also a lot of competition out there with many people doing similar work. So your work, your opinions really need to stand out and be distinct for people to take notice

What do you think influences consumer behavior?
Honesty and being relatable. One of the reasons why influencer marketing and working with content creators work so well for brands, is that people are able to relate to someone just like them much better than they can relate to a celebrity in a tv commercial. Content creators have their own platforms where there is no censorship, no director, and they are in control. So it’s easier to create content specially catered to their audience that is raw and honest with genuine reviews about products and brands.

Your opinion on Instagram contemplating removing likes option for posts.
I think it’s a great move. There is a lot of unnecessary focus on the number of followers, likes, and views which take away from the actual content of the post, and the effort that goes behind it. Maybe this way everyone will focus more on being their creative best, and putting out content that makes them happy and proud, and not do it just for the pressure of getting “likes”.

What is your idea of success or your mantra in life?
I think it keeps changing depending on which phase of life I am in. I was a lot more driven when I was younger and ruthless when it came to working. Now I’ve mellowed down a bit. I’m still driven and ambitious, but my peace of mind is just as important to me now. 
So my mantra would be to keep evolving, exploring, and embracing new things in life - be it personal or professional!

I did my engineering and MBA and worked in the IT industry for 3 years. All through that, I was blogging on the side. It started off with my love for writing and then evolved into a personal style, lifestyle, and travel blog that it is today. I have always had a creative bent of mind, and this seemed like the perfect platform to explore that side of me. And it soon turned into a full-time profession.

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