#INSTAFAMOUS

As brands spend more money on nontraditional advertising, young adults are building careers on blogging.

University of Minnesota student and local photographer Kailey Erdahl photographs fashion blogger Courtney Steeves in her home on Monday, April 4.

Joe Sulik

University of Minnesota student and local photographer Kailey Erdahl photographs fashion blogger Courtney Steeves in her home on Monday, April 4.

Yena Lee

Posing in a sun-lit, white brick studio space, Sami Huerta illustrated how to create a “geo-inspired silhouette” for a post on her blog. 
 
 
The University of Minnesota apparel design junior initially started the project as a way to meet new people after transferring to the school. But the hobby soon evolved into a part-time job.  
 
 
The social media aficionado has more than 8,000 followers on Instagram. Brands across the country contact her to collaborate, which could mean modeling clothes or using their products in her photos and blog posts. 
 
 
Huerta is one of dozens of bloggers in the Twin Cities looking to brand themselves online. Once they attain a distinctive persona and large following, they may garner sponsorships from brands. 
 
 
With the expansion of social media, a growing number of brands are spending less on traditional advertising and more on other types of online advertising.
 
 
Word-of-mouth advertising, which draws companies like Duluth Pack to reach out to bloggers to promote their brand, is 10 times as effective as traditional advertising, University of Pennsylvania-Wharton professor Jonah Berger said. 
 
 
“The beauty of working with bloggers and influencers is that it is real people enjoying and styling the products the way they want to,” said Andrea Sega, Duluth Pack’s public relations and social media analyst, in an email interview. “It’s also a fun opportunity to not only work together on shots, but grow a relationship, to [have] giveaway possibilities, and other ways of engaging the audiences.” 
 
 
College students and older professionals alike look to become influencers — the industry term for a blogger with a perceived impact on potential consumers — for a variety of reasons, from earning an extra paycheck to expressing themselves in a creative way. 
 
See the rest of this project here.