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Social media influencers are a part of the daily media diet of swiping, scrolling and double-tapping for many teens and adults. Some see them as modern role models and entrepreneurs who have the potential to play an important role in identity for their many viewers, followers, fans and subscribers.
The digital world works as a window into the lives of others and even places that were once unknown and cut off from the average person’s experience and knowledge. But in the age of hashtags, these content creators may also be found in the same city and with more diverse backgrounds.
In our “Identifying Influencers” series, we take a behind-the-Instagram look at the lives of some of South Florida’s most popular social media mavens, how they got started, how it’s going and what the future holds.
Ana Elvir and Teddy of Teddy + Ana | Tour Guides
Instagram: @tourwithteddy, 15,000+ followers
TikTok: tourwithteddy, 661 followers
“It all started with just my friends telling me to make an Instagram page,” said Ana Elvir. “I never thought that I was going to create content or be an influencer. Giving people a guide of all the things you can do in South Florida has opened up opportunities for me and other people.”
Depending on who someone asks, pet-specific social media accounts can receive laughs or the occasional eye rolls. But social-savvy pet owners can make legitimate business with their famous furry friends such as Teddy, Elvir’s 1-year-old Maltese puppy.
With over 15,000 Instagram followers, 39-year-old pup parent Elvir has gone beyond the typical “furry critters category.” For over a year, she has been a lifestyle blogger and influencer traveling throughout South Florida. The duo explores pet-friendly locations such as hotels, restaurants, beaches and small businesses.
“It just started as an Instagram page to show my friends my new puppy,” Elvir said.
Working in hospitality before she was furloughed, Elvir got Teddy on Mother’s Day. Even though she was temporarily out of work during the pandemic, she still pursued wanting to help her friends in hospitality.
After contacting them, she decided to do local tours with Teddy and provide pet-friendly advice and knowledge on hotels, especially for people who didn’t feel comfortable flying during the peak of COVID-19 and were looking for a staycation.
This led to Elvir writing about these places for her blog, posting it on social media, and in June of 2020, celebrity and entertainment reporter, Perez Hilton, gave Teddy a shout-out as the newest “it” pup. Teddy’s popularity rose and Elvir and Teddy’s tours became a full-time job.
“I wanted to help the hospitality industry,” Elvir said. “Now we get contacted to do hotel jobs and list pet-friendly areas, review products…and got contacts from other states now.”
As a social media specialist, Elvir said she believes engagement with followers is crucial and she thinks eight- to 10-second videos like TikTok are shaping the future beyond photos.
With the help of Elvir, Teddy now works as a product ambassador, host of the Tour with Teddy series, and even a model for W Fort Lauderdale wearing Louis Vuitton- and Gucci-inspired outfits. Even though it just started as something for fun, Elvir and Teddy lend a helping hand and paw to help people and animals in need.
Chelsea Magnusen of Halo Glow Beauty
Instagram: @blondebomb_chel, 46,000+ followers
TikTok: blondebomb_chel, 365 followers
Being a lifestyle blogger is one of the most competitive blogging niches around. They are in constant competition to gain a large following.
Chelsea Magnusen always enjoyed writing, and even when she worked in a corporate setting, the 29-year-old was thinking about blogging and content creating.
“I want to work for myself and wanted the independence that comes with it,” she said.
Once she moved from Pittsburgh to Broward County, she wanted to share topics she was passionate about such as skincare routines, fitness, fashion, and everyday relatable yet inspirational tips and topics.
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Magnusen used her blog and Instagram pages to network with brands daily to work as an influencer.
“It takes a lot of time creating content that is worth posting for the brand and enticing brands to want to work with you,” she said.
Lifestyle bloggers often promote products, brands and services. So the person behind the blog must be well-versed in the specific topics.
“People think it’s all sunshine and rainbows,” Magnusen said, “but it’s a big-time commitment because if these brands are paying you they expect an amount of turnaround from the content you’re creating for them.”
Through posting Instagram photos, editing videos, engagement and blog posts, Magnusen came across a third-party company that reached out to her and she works with Amazon.
“People think because it’s social media and Instagram it has to be all about you,” she said. “It’s about making content that’s relatable and they want to see things through your eyes and the content that truly connects us.”