Sometimes it takes financial hardships to realize you can make a decent living following your passion.
Here is Tonya’s story.
Me: What inspired you to start participating in social media?
Tonya: My motive was purely financial. My husband had lost his job, we were faced with extreme financial hardship and I had read article after article of bloggers who were turning their passions into profit. I jumped into the world of blogging and social media, with the misconception that money would come rolling in simply for sharing my love of travel. That was 8 years ago. Through trial and error, I’ve learned that it is possible to make an income from social media, but it’s not for the faint of heart. It takes a lot of work, determination, and passion.
Me: What is the best opportunity that you have received since you started participating in social media?
Tonya: Where do I begin? It’s pretty hard to top the first opportunity I had as a result of social media. I was invited to a Star Tours Tweet-up at Disney World in Florida. I took my oldest son as a guest. Disney bussed us into a back-lot of Disney’s Hollywood Studios and we exited the bus and walked the red carpet as Star Wars characters flanked the sides. We rode the newly reopened Star Tours ride before the general public, had numerous photo ops with characters and met the illustrators of the ride. I’ve had many equally amazing opportunities since, but that first trip is hard to top.
Me: What is the biggest challenge of having a voice on social media and how do you handle it?
Tonya: As an influencer in the travel sphere, it’s hard for me to get away with my family and truly disconnect. I want to post photos to Instagram (my favorite social media channel) and share updates on Facebook or Twitter each time I find a destination or attraction that I know will resonate with my readers and followers.
Last summer, my husband and I drove from our home in Ohio to the Oregon Coast. I limited my social media presence by scheduling posts prior to our trip and posting live to Instagram only. It was an incredible struggle but influencers need a vacation too.
Me: Any suggestions about what tech or social trends we need to be watching?
Our society is increasingly visual and attention spans are getting shorter. People want useful information in bite-size pieces as quickly as possible. I think Instagram will continue to grow in popularity and offers a great platform for influencers to share amazing photos and tips- especially in the travel realm. I also believe video is more important than ever. Not only does YouTube continue to be a front runner in social media, but Periscope and Blab are also networks that today’s influencer should not ignore.
Tonya is the driving force behind The Traveling Praters. She’s a travel writer, influencer and new empty nester, who dreams of living a nomadic life in a vintage camper. For now, she’ll settle for frequent road trips throughout the U.S. and North America.
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