Way back in 2011 I created my social media name called Gracie Opulanza. In 2012 I created MenStyleFashion and SportStyleFashion. I would not ever imagine that my three brands combined in 2016, now target an audience of nearly one million followers. I could never imagine that in 2016 I would be presenting in Spain in front of 250 women about my social media influence.

Getting Contacts

I met Juanjo Villalobos in Bali in 2015 when I was touring through South East Asia. The moment he said he was from Barcelona, I knew we were destined to meet. Juanjo is the CEO of a business called Getting Contacts. On a regular basis’s Juanjo hosts conferences both in Madrid and Barcelona. Over the last 20 years, he has networked in creating a unique business model where he strategically sets up one to one meetings with people who can find new clients for their business. There is no time wasted at these meetings at all. When you sign up, you know that the people that he has teamed you with are relevant to your business. On a regular, he asks entrepreneurs and guests speakers who are relevant to his audience to share their business stories. On this occasion, this conference was about inspiring existing women in business to keep following their dreams. I was going to talk about the power of Social Media and for the whole week between my conferences in Madrid and Barcelona, I included big brands and hotels on my Twitter feed.

Your Social Media Influence Matters

Social Media Marketing is not as advanced in Spain as it is in the UK or USA. This is expected as Spain is very traditional when it comes to marketing businesses. It also still adapting to buying and selling products on-line. Therefore for me, it was important for these women to hear about how I have grown my online business. I also wanted them to know that social media in 2016, is about people being the brand themselves. That people with a Social Media Influence can sell your products or brands online. I wanted them to know that you don’t have to be famous let alone be a huge fashion blogger to be able to be a brand in your own social media right. For me, my conference was all about encouraging and inspiring women that when you put an image on Twitter let alone Instagram that the person wearing it is just as important as the product itself. I also talked about how I began the idea of finding my niche as a female voice within men’s fashion. Therefore, my Social Media Influence in 2016, is that I am the female voice for menswear.

Famous Fashion Bloggers & Celebrities No Longer Dominate Social Media Marketing

In my conference I also talked about that in 2016 a Social Media Influencer does not have to be famous let alone be a beautifully looking fashion blogger anymore. It is exciting to note that now in Social Media brands are wanting to use people that get engagement and have a certain personality to represent their brands, it is not just about good looks alone.  That being beautiful in the eyes of a fashion blogger is not the only way to become a Social Media Influencer. I certainly do not promote current fashion trends and I don’t look like Kate Moss.

I am not famous and I certainly do not represent the typical female fashion blogger. Yes OMG, I am far from being under the age of 25. It was great to be sponsored in by one of my favourite Spanish shoe companies called Sendra, its handmade cowboy boots are just divine. On this occasion, my boots did all the talking.

In this conference is was important to note that the audience understood the power of Social Media Influencers such as myself.  My conference was about Social Media Marketing and how to identify finding unique people who are powerful on-line, to represent brands let alone services. For me I am a living example of this and proud to say if I can do it, then you can do it too. I talked about key tools in my own trial and error on how to choose people that get a lot of engagement through their social media platforms. I wanted to inspire these women to look for Social Media Influencers within their own country and own community, to work alongside people that would help grow their online exposure. I talked about two software platforms that one must use to identify a Social Media Influencer. 

No Pain No Gain

This saying is so cliche but in my case, it got me through the toughest weeks of my life regarding my physical state. I love skiing and three days before I was to make a journey to Madrid I had an accident in where I was told I dislocated my shoulder. The pain after ten days was still unbelievable.  I have just found out 4weeks later I actually fractured my shoulder blade. I could barely move and decided that I had to push through this pain and make the 9-hour journey by bus and car to Madrid. That I could not possibly cancel and there were too many people depending on me. Physically it was hard and that wardrobe, I had in mind was no longer available. I had to be creative in what I wore as all my clothes were too tight and I could not even put on a t-shirt on let alone a bra. The journey down was hard for me physically, I felt exhausted when I got to Madrid. But the Getting Contacts team were so amazing, how could I not keep pushing through this pain. For me, I am so glad I did this, and want to inspire people that sometimes when everything is trying to stop you, it is important to recognise this and push through.  The response from the audience both in Madrid and Barcelona was inspiring to me. I honestly did not think my story was worth listening too. But in business, I want to inspire you that there are times that you have to push through no matter what the pain is. That also includes mental pain. Imagine if I did not attend and decided to stay home in bed instead, the thought horrifies me.

Social Media Engagement & Influencers

Against popular belief, influencers are not just celebrities! For me building my own personal brand is tough. The more organic engagement I get the better for my Klout score, the more my influence grows. For me not only did I inspire women at my conference, but I was also excited to see that on my Twitter feed people were getting inspired too. These are just a few comments that were happening during and after my conference. You see, don’t worry, being famous and beautiful does not count in the world of Social Media Marketing. That is why you should team up with other people that can help grow your influence too. An influencer can also be a creative such as a make-up artist, a photographer or a stylist, influencers can also be a journalist, like a magazine editor or columnist, industry professional or a blogger, or even a niche Instagrammer. When working with influencers, credibility will be lost if marketers dictate the narrative. If influencers are allowed to use their creativity, their niche, their knowledge, or whatever it is that has got them to where they are today the story remains authentic and credible.

International Women’s Day

This week I combined my Social Media influence with my conference and hotel reviews. I decided to experiment with the two. That with me been noticed in Spain and also presenting in the two top cities when it comes to football, it made perfect sense I pushed through my pain. I did not know it was International Women’s Day, that the week in where I was inspiring 250 women to follow their dream and never give up. This was the perfect week to showcase who I am as a woman in business.

I also did not know, that in 2016 us women still get paid so much less in comparison to men. Now being a female voice for menswear, I giggled at this because. Did you know that male models are paid so much less than female models? That the fashion industry for women is the only market place in where women are paid so much more than men. Did you know, that because I am the very few women in the world who represent menswear? That just maybe with my social media influence, I can be the woman that makes a small difference with those statics for men. After all, you are the creator of your own destiny.