By Je’Don Holloway Talley
For the Birmingham Times
They are known to impart knowledge, views, and perspective over carefully cultivated niches within their respective realms of industry. Known as social media influencers, these individuals leverage creative content for paying contracts with businesses big and small that want to gain access to their audiences and curated platforms. Their organic reach and authenticity can garner interest and paid sponsorships, ambassadorships, and income for high-profile content creators. These social media mavens understand the game: algorithms, reach, consistency, quality, and, most importantly, how to grab your attention and keep it.
The Magic City is home to several social media influencers, and the Birmingham Times recently sat with a few.
Kameron Buckner, an attorney by day and social media maven by night, created a niche in the sphere of black hair, fashion, lifestyle, and law. She identifies as a digital content creator and shares her passions on three platforms: a blog space, Instagram, and YouTube.
Buckner, 26, started her career as an aspiring YouTube influencer in 2014 at the age of 21 but cultivated a niche in 2016 when she started attending Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law and started giving tips on “getting to and through law school,” she said. “I actually started a separate Instagram page for more law school-related topics called @legalteabykameron.”
Her “Legal Tea” Instagram page and YouTube channel both cater to aspiring and current law school students, providing instructional tips on preparing for law school and studying for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and bar exam, as well as offering advice about effective networking, professional social behavior, productivity planning, time management, how to finance law school education, and more. Fashion and beauty play a key role, too.
“I am always giving tips on how to slay an affordable wig and how to dress for professional occasions,” she said. “In one of my last semesters in law school, one of my professors threw an outdoor networking event at their home and the first thing I thought was, ‘What the heck am I going to wear?’”
This makes perfect sense, considering Buckner’s roots in the digital creative market. The platform originally started with the social media handle @itswithakay, a play on the spelling of her name, and is now known as @KameronMonet. She currently has more than 11,000 Instagram followers and more than 54K YouTube subscribers, all of whom look to her daily tips about for black hair care, wigs, and affordable fashion, as well as ideas for cultivating the lifestyle of your dreams.
Some of Buckner’s notable partnerships: Subway, Toms, SHEIN, Teddy Blake New York, Samsbeauty, Outre, Better Length Hair, Irresistible Me Hair, Tampax, CORT Furniture Rental, and Dermatology and Laser of Alabama.
“I changed my [brand] to my first and middle names, so my platforms could grow with [my identity],” said Flint, Mich., native, Buckner, adding that “being an influencer means being a role model. There are hundreds of thousands of people constantly online daily consuming information. As an influencer, I always want to make sure that everyone who comes across my content is inspired, motivated, and instantly put in a positive mood.”
Asked what she’s best known for in the social media world, she said, “Depending on the viewer, what I’m known for will vary. I’d say I’m known for being the down-to-earth attorney that slays any hairstyle on the market.”
For Buckner, being a social media maven is contingent upon a few factors: reach, engagement, and the ability to make a difference.
“I don’t think I’ve hit social media maven status yet, but I do have a great platform and a good amount of followers and subscribers,” she said. “I think once I hit more than 100,000 subscribers on YouTube and more than 50,000 followers on Instagram, I’ll feel like, ‘OK, I’m close to reaching maven status.’”
With a combined viewership of 69K followers, Buckner is definitely a maven to many.
“Being a social media maven means having a large platform that can make a substantial change in different areas on and off the internet,” she said. “Can a smaller platform do that? Absolutely! I believe I do this in some ways. But having, let’s say, 1 million subscribers, you can definitely get a brand’s attention to work on an issue.”
Was it difficult to grow her following? “Short answer, yes,” Buckner said.
The social media influencer market is saturated, and as the years go by, “even more [people are] becoming influencers and digital content creators,” she said.
“I’m at the point, however, where I’d rather have a loyal, kind, and real audience than focus too much on reaching a certain number. … I want my audience to like to comment, to DM [direct message] me and actually have a relationship. That’s why I call them my Internet Family.”
The Birmingham resident said hashtags (#) are the name of the game.
“Use hashtags,” Buckner said. “I know that seems obvious, but so many people do not use them or don’t understand why they should. Essentially, hashtags allow you to expand your reach to other people because people are constantly looking up hashtags to find outfit inspirations, makeup inspirations, and other influencers to follow.”
Some of Buckner’s hashtags: #bhambloggers, #bhaminfluencer, #ladylawyer, #lawyerlife, #9to5life.
Keys to reaching her status? Consistency, quality, patience, and a real love for what you do.
Buckner’s advice for others interested in establishing a social media brand, “Create because you love it, even if the numbers never go how you want.” Also, create good quality content:
“Brands work with creators with followings of all sizes because of the quality of their content. … Interact with other influencers and creators in your niches or niches you’d like to be part of. The comment section [under Instagram and YouTube posts] is a great place for viewers to find you, but always be authentic and do not just say ‘Follow me’ or ‘Subscribe to me.’”
“Have patience,” she also encouraged. “Some people are overnight celebrities, but most of us have been doing it for years. Trends are forever changing and what people like to consume changes, too. I always tell people to just play the long game, success is a marathon, not sprint.”
Instagram: @KameronMonet, Facebook: KameronMonet, Website: www.kameronmonet.com.
To read more stories about influencers, click one of the links below.