Influencer Laura Whaley talks about building a brand on social media, small businesses and more


Between Instagram and TikTok, Laura Whaley has over 5 million followers.

Canada-based Whaley has made a name for herself with what she described to me as “relatable work content” in an interview earlier this week. Whaley launched her TikTok during the nadir of the pandemic, when the virus demanded that everyone shut-ins and, as a result, began working remotely. Whaley, like so many, soon felt isolated after the virus disrupted human interaction. Naturally, she turned to technology to at least partially fill that gap and focused her energies on sharing her experiences of working from home with other people.

What was born of desperation has become a source of pride and has made Whaley an achiever. A notable achievement, as Whaley says she “had no intention of growing her following, much less essentially becoming a celebrity.”

“I just started posting content of things I experienced working from home because I thought no one would see,” Whaley said of her influencer origin story. “The community I’ve built online is really made up of people who say, ‘I relate to this.’ i thought i was alone [in] experience that [lonesomeness].”

Whaley likes to think of her social media channels as a “relatable, safe place” for people to come and connect with like-minded people who may be experiencing feelings of loneliness related to the work-from-home struggle. Over time, Whaley’s focus has expanded from the traditional 9-to-5 corporate lifestyle to enable more people to “share work experiences, stories and professional sketches,” according to Whaley. The majority of Whaley’s audience are Gen Z women; Her overarching goal is to help women succeed by empowering themselves to excel in the (virtual) workplace.

One of Whaley’s most popular series is what she calls As they say professionally, which she explained helps translate corporate language into everyday language. In addition, Whaley performs sketches on various topics, e.g. B. How to set boundaries at work. “I have a different set of characters who do their own skits,” she said.

Although her audience is mostly Generation Zer, Whaley didn’t intentionally target her content to a specific group of people. Your content should be truly egalitarian. Whoever finds her work on social media, Whaley’s goal is to make sure she’s “continuously connected to the people who follow me and understand their experiences.”

“For me, it’s creating for my community that I already have, rather than focusing on the people who aren’t following me, if that makes sense,” Whaley said of her creative ethos. “It’s about brainstorming a lot of ideas, staying connected to the community and just creating for them. It’s evolving, which is nice. I would say my focus is just on creating for the jobs that are already following me online.”

She added: “I have a following all over the world, which to me is so amazing because it’s not about one particular narrative and group of people. It speaks to how many shared experiences we all have in our working lives, no matter where you live or what age you are. I try not to focus too much on one particular demographic because I’ve learned over time that my content can relate to people from different demographics.”

Whaley’s mantra of wanting to create relatable work that is accessible to everyone speaks well for the disability community. As has been emphasized several times in this space, the whole work-from-home dynamic is hardly new to the pandemic. It’s just that able people – society at large – were suddenly forced to confront it because of a global public health emergency that broke out. So Whaley’s work can prove invaluable to someone struggling with isolation and socialization due to their immobility. Regardless of how many people snidely complain about social media’s penchant for disinformation and blandness, the truth is that for many disabled people, social media is a godsend for precisely this reason: sociability. Pandemic or not, there are many in the disabled community who cannot (or should not) leave their homes for health and/or logistical reasons. In this context, the Whaley community has the potential to be more impactful than teaching people mere job skills, important as they may be in and of themselves. The group can be something bigger – it can be a community of friends.

As today is International Women’s Day, Whaley was keen to share details about her collaboration with Amazon Canada. The partnership is meaningful to Whaley as she works with Amazon to help spread the word about women-owned small businesses. As a small business owner, Whaleys knows firsthand how difficult it is to keep going. She wants others in similar boats to know they are not alone at sea. “I think a big part of the reason I was so interested in partnering is that when we support women-owned businesses, when we support small businesses across Canada, it has such a massive impact on these people,” she said of her collaboration with Amazonas. “I know the hard work that goes into everything they do on a daily basis. I’m very fortunate to be in the position of being a partner. Many of my followers are also excited to support businesses they haven’t heard of — especially small businesses and people who are working really hard to start something new and beautiful.”

On International Women’s Day at large, Whaley said the occasion was a poignant reminder that women everywhere need to be uplifted and recognized – they deserve it. People can support each other while supporting themselves. “I think International Women’s Day is a perfect example of supporting one another and helping each other succeed and cheering each other on,” she said. “I’m so excited to see all the women that Amazon Canada is bringing to the fore and their businesses and giving them more exposure.”

For Whaley, she attributes her small business’s massive growth spurt to “posting at a really opportune time.” At the time she started there wasn’t much about how she wanted to help people; This hole in the market combined with her creativity helped her get to where she is now. “I’m often asked, ‘How do you always come up with so many ideas?’ and I say, ‘Well, welcome to my brain, ’cause it never ends.’ she said of her creative juices. “I would say that my creativity and storytelling ability has really allowed me to post all the time and never really keep posting [run] no more ideas.”

Whaley sees herself primarily as a “businesswoman”.

“I am fascinated by various industries, whether small companies [or] if they’re big companies,” she said. “Learning the whole business behind social media was absolutely fascinating for me. I would say those are some things that have helped me succeed in the space I’m in.”

Your achievements aren’t defined by sheer numbers, but Whaleys makes an impression.

“If I really sit down and think I have over 5 million followers [social media] My brain doesn’t even extrapolate platforms that much,” she said. “I just always think if I went into a stadium with 5 million people, how overwhelming it would be. It’s extremely overwhelming and hard to grasp, but my everyday life hasn’t really changed. It’s strange to sit here and think about it. I’m very grateful for that and I would say it really hits me how many followers I have when I’m out in public and getting recognized and people coming up to me and talking about the content. When I’m able to interact face-to-face, it really kicks in. Like, ‘Oh wow, there are real people out there watching my videos.’”

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