I guess I’ve had social media for about a decade. I was probably 13 at the time when I was using Facebook, and Instagram had just come out. It was interesting because my co-star, Madison Pettis on ‘Life with Boys’ was already pretty famous on Twitter, and she was the one who inspired me to start a twitter account. When I look back, I was starting two TV shows around the same time that social media was coming to fruition, so I believe I was really lucky in that sense.
After this, I began to share different tidbits of my life. At this point, it was more behind the scenes on set, but I didn’t start taking it seriously in terms of it being a profitable monetizable job until university, and that was also sort of a happy accident. I was maybe 17 or 18 at the time and I was in my first semester of University at Ryerson. I was in a creative Industries Business program and Scotiabank reached out to me saying “we’d love to partner with you to promote our new affiliation with scene cards, and here’s our budget etc.” I remember being so shocked because I knew it existed but at the same time, it was the very early stages of influencing. Of course I accepted the offer, and it began to snowball from there. I realized that I was really good at client management, negotiation and people skills.
Social media was a part-time job all through my University career. I never had to have a separate job and then when I graduated two years ago, I kind of knew it was time to step away and really go full throttle. I left my PR team who at the time were kind of helping me manage all my partnerships and now I manage everything on my own.
Yes. Hmm. I mean again, it sounds so bad because it was like a different time but it definitely was a happy accident. It’s not like today where people can sit around and strategize and say “I want to be a content creator. How do I turn this into a full-time job for me?” It was kind of falling into this industry that didn’t have standards yet, which was both good and bad because in Canada, it really allowed me to be at the forefront of what this industry looks like.
Part of my job, even today as I work in house and I educate brands on best practices when it comes to influencer marketing. I was really lucky because I’ve been able to experience so many different angles of it because I have been in it for six years and it is a really long time to have been creating content for brands. So anyways with that being said, yes, it was slightly an accident, but that didn’t mean that there weren’t a lot of hours and skills put into it to make it all come to life.
I think a lot of what people don’t see in this industry is the negotiation and the relationship building which is a huge part of what we do in this world because it usually is either brand to influencer or its PR agency to influencer and managing what those expectations are on both sides is so important. Ultimately, I would say the biggest thing was putting myself out there.
When I first started connecting with different PR agencies (four or five years ago), I would try to go to every single event and shake their hand to make sure they knew who I was and obviously now at this stage, I don’t do that and I am way more selective.
Like I mentioned, I had the app for all of high school, but I obviously didn’t monetize any of my content during this time, but at that point I was barely in school because I was the lead of a Nickelodeon show.
I’ve been working full time in the industry since I was 13 or 14 years old. So for me, it was definitely a little bit different but by the time I turned my social media platform into a business, I was in first-year University and then I kind of rode that out for five years. So luckily, and again with the support of my parents and all the work I did as an actor – I was able to support myself but it can be really tough. By this I mean, I know a lot of people manage their full-time job and do this on the side as they try to build it up. Everyone has a personal story, so it’s not to discredit any of that. My experience was just a little bit unique.
Hmm. I have a very positive relationship with social media. I think there’s such a thing as burn out for sure and it can be hard to be sharing your life 24/7. I totally get that but I am sort of an open book and again love human connection. So I’ve never viewed sharing online as bad. I am also not someone that wears my heart on my sleeve in business. I’m very cut and dry when it comes to my personal life and when it comes to my business. I know a lot of influencers kind of live in the gray area, where they don’t really have those clear defined lines and I think that’s where trouble can begin. So I’ve been very conscious throughout my career to keep my personal life separate from my business life. Of course, there’s personal touches to my business because it’s me and I am my brand but keeping that differentiation has been really important for me and great for my mental health as well.
I believe the biggest misconception about social media is that creating content is not a job. I think it’s so time-consuming. And if you’re creating great content, it’s even more time consuming whether that’s long format video or an IGTV. I just think people don’t give enough credit where credit is due and that’s been my perception in the industry that people think, “Oh, it’s so easy to do what you do,” but it’s all the behind-the-scenes hours that we put into the content.
Tell us something about yourself that your followers don’t know
My followers don’t know that I work in house at an agency in Toronto for client education and best practices when it comes to influencer marketing, so I’ll work on different brand pitches all the time.
This is something I don’t actively promote on my channel for a few reasons. For one, it’s not overly important to anyone except for me and two, a lot of the information is enclosed by NDA’s. With that being said, it’s probably interesting for people to know and to see that you can do more than just create content. You can always turn it into a consultant role.
I think one negative assumption might be that I didn’t work for the experiences and the things that I get today. I think there might be a misconception that because I was an actor in the media world, that things were just handed to me but that’s just not true. The thing is people don’t always realize the back end and hustle behind the scenes. For example, my years of training for auditions, or my four years of schooling at Ryerson University so, as much as I had an unconventional path, I also had a very traditional path in the sense that I stuck to such as unpaid internships or my undergrad that necessarily aren’t tied to the influencer world.
Question: Do you think you would share more of that on your Instagram because of that feedback or are you kind of content with knowing what you did and not needing to prove that to anybody?
I feel like people should set up their own strategy and drive and I feel like it’s okay for me not to always press my hustle on other people because if everyone was hustling like me, then I would never stand out. You almost need to keep your cards a little bit close because if you’re trying to build out your career and be at the top, you need to recognize that fine line. I doubt Kim Kardashian is sharing her strategy with everyone. In summary, you want to share and inspire but keep in mind, your strategy is yours.
Hmm. Yeah, it’s funny. When I first started getting gifted influencer media packages. It was super exciting. It continues to be exciting, it never goes away. Everyone comes to my house and says, it feels like Christmas morning every day because when I do get the packages, it’s fun for everyone. With that being said, it is a lot of management of goods in the sense that you know, there’s a lot of garbage and recycling that comes along with that and a few different bloggers in this world have advocated and pushed for brands to reduce packaging and only send media packages if it’s completely necessary or if they’ve gotten our prior consent.
Overall, I would say the best part of it is the experiences. I’ve gone to so many different concerts over the years, as well as trips. This never gets old. It’s always fun. It’s always exciting.
A brand that I already do work with just because I really cherish our relationship is Nike. I ran the half marathon with them last year. Their team is so supportive and they really just always put their money where their mouth is. They always support community groups and women trying new things in sport and I really appreciate their partnership.
My advice would be to pitch everyone – cold email people, cold email PR firms, send your media to everyone you can think of. Go to events at the beginning when you’re trying to meet different people and network (when COVID allows). It’s so important to make that face-to-face connection like whether or not you’ve met via email, it’s so important to have that moment with someone, to shake their hand and tell your story.
Also, focus on your content and not others. With everything being so saturated, it’s easy to look at other blogger’s pages and misconstrue your own vision. Stay in your lane, stay true to your brand because I truly believe there’s room for everyone in this industry. There are so many opportunities to go around for everyone, so put the phone down and do the work.
Where can you expect to see Torri in the next 10 years?
I asked Torri the big question, where do you see yourself in 10 years? A question that everyone seems to have trouble answering. I was blown away by her answer. She said, I always go back to something Diane Von Furstenberg shared in her novel, which I really loved and she said, “I don’t know exactly what I want to do, but I know the woman I want to be” and I feel that’s been very fitting for me because I’ve always been very sure about who I am in the creative industries. I’m very sure that that’s the world I need to live in but because of our ever-changing landscape in the way that the digital world has changed so fast, it’s really hard to speak to what that’ll actually look like in 10 years. I know my foundation is in business, the digital world, and performing, so the medium might change, it may not be Instagram anymore. Regardless, I am confident I will be connecting with people, clients, or potentially managing different brand partnerships but it may just be in a different way.
My takeaway BTG Fam? Figure out what your foundation is and remember it whenever your environment or landscape seems to change. Use it as an anchor to remember your passions and use this as a force to keep driving you forward.
To follow along with Torri’s journey, click here.
Who are some of Torri’s biggest inspirations?