Stacia Betley, MBA in Sustainability
Rachel Pohl is an artist, adventurer, humanitarian, and environmentalist. With almost 70k followers, the stories and photos she shares impact the community if she likes it or not. Not only does she share her art on Instagram, but she also uses Instagram as a platform to discuss being to herself whether that be knowing her limits in the outdoors or wearing makeup.
- What do you find most challenging as an influencer?
It is not an easy task putting yourself and your work out there to be judged by others. I think this is why people post pretty superficial stuff, to distance themselves from depth. It is also difficult to be constantly connected, respond to comments and sift through the nonsense to find those meaningful moments. An influencer does not take weekends. They don’t stop at 5:00 to take a break until 9 am the next morning. The most challenging part of being an influencer is to place boundaries so you keep being a person. I, for example, rarely respond to DMs from people I don’t follow. I probably have 6,000 unread ones, which I just can’t feel bad about. I’ve probably saved like 12,000 minutes of my life from being sucked into my phone.
- What motivates your transparency and willingness to share not only your highs, but also your lows?
My motivation is that we are all human, and so much of social media these days is about seeming invincible, perfect, always happy. I don’t think this is how we should show ourselves to others, it leads to unrealistically high standards for how to look, travel, and everything in between. I want people to realize that having a few or many thousand followers on IG does not mean anything about you as a person, and that life never stops being hard, no matter how high you climb up the social or social media ladder. We really are in this together, and I want to be known for doing good and inspiring people to love life and pursue their passions, not for having really cool outfits or having great hair in a pretty landscape.
- How can brands best approach influencers to build a relationship?
I think a gentle approach is best, one where the brand is offering something the influencer actually wants or needs. Brands have to realize that influencers get approached by so many people about collaborations and that it is not always flattering but rather exhausting to deal with at times. Brands need to actually do their research because it’s a strange thing to be approached by someone offering something that neither feels authentic or interests you.
- Have you ever wanted to delete all social media accounts. If so, what has motivated you to keep going?
Hahaha, absolutely yes! I sometimes think about throwing my phone out the window of my car while I drive and getting a flip phone again so I can still call my mom. I don’t really do Facebook at all anymore because I just don’t have the energy for it. I go on Facebook probably once a month and check my messages every few weeks but that’s it. I am on IG every day because at this point it’s how I get the news out there about my work- what paintings are finished, new products etc. When I have millions of email subscribers someday maybe it won’t feel so inevitable and necessary, but for now, I really do need Instagram for my work. I also keep my account because I really think I make a difference. People respond really positively to what I write and paint, and I truly believe I can make a positive impact. I have been told innumerable times that my words have been shared with students, children, friends- and that makes it all worth it for me.
- What trends are you seeing in social media behavior?
I have noticed A LOT of trends in social media behavior, all of which have been accelerating in the last month. I have heard of so many influencers mentioning exhaustion, disenchantment, and bombardment. I have a friend who didn’t post for a few weeks over Christmas and people were literally hitting ME up, asking if she was ok. It was so weird like people rely on her for inspiration and happiness. Right after that, the friend made a post about stepping away from her phone more and finding the freedom they Instagram about, which had been lost along the way. I have also noticed many influencers talking about self-doubt, low self-esteem and such, and how a lot of those feelings are tied to comments and people’s opinions on social media. I have witnessed many people taking unannounced breaks from social media because they are so sick of it. I have also seen more and more ads, which to me are a bit inauthentic, though being paid just to post would be pretty awesome it is something I have avoided so far. I think with the start of the new year, many (on Instagram especially) are taking life back into their own hands and out of the control of others on the platform. They are realizing that the rewards of likes, monetary compensation, and feeling appreciated are less important than interpersonal relationships and real life.
Website: Rachel Pohl Art
*feature photo is art by Rachel Pohl, taken from MOUNTAINFILM’s website