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The Daily Tar Heel

The life of a UNC student Instagram influencer

Instagram Influencer
Tyla Gomez, UNC junior and Morehead-Cain Scholar, makes money off sharing products on her personal instagram @_tylagomez.

Skincare routines, clothing hauls, lifestyle advice – social media influencers are all over your feed, and they’re here at UNC too. 

Tyla Gomez (@_tylagomez), Maddi Lane (@maddislane) and Haleigh Somberg (@haleighsom) are three Instagram influencers who are balancing their growing accounts with the demands of being a UNC student. 

“Since I got Instagram, I always wanted to post nice pictures,” Gomez said. “When I realized that if I posted even nicer pictures, I could potentially make money, that was the ultimate incentive.” 

Gomez has been building her Instagram since high school and now has 3,726 followers. Her account’s focus is on beauty, fashion and general positivity, which she achieves through posting inspirational quotes with her pictures. 

Besides offering inspiration to her followers, Gomez was contracted to do advertisements with My Clarins, a skincare product company, and she has worked as a brand ambassador for L2 Brands in the UNC Student Stores. Gomez wants to grow her following and partnerships, so she can use her account as a side job while she pursues a career in acting. Gomez said her time commitment to her account varies each week because most of her content is taken in advance, especially during vacations. 

Lane, like Gomez, also began her Instagram account in high school. Inspired by Instagram and YouTube influencers who were using social media to market their brands, Lane agreed to get involved as an influencer when she was contacted a month ago by a friend. Lane wants to be a blogger who promotes a healthy lifestyle to her 3,228 followers, using her brand slogan “Stay in Your Lane.” 

“If you are posting content that people like and are getting followers, then I feel like there shouldn’t be any shame in that, as long as you’re using it in an authentic way and you’re enjoying it and you’re providing something that’s unique and helpful,” Lane said. 

To help manage her business inquiries, Lane collaborated with Greensleeve, a Chapel Hill marketing agency. Through a media production company called Triad Studios, Greensleeve helps Lane take her photos. Lane said she is currently trying to work with local brands, increase her exposure and expand to bigger brands such as Adidas.

Greensleeve also helps to market Haleigh Somberg by answering messages from companies, monitoring analytics and negotiating her contracts and compensations. Somberg, whose account is followed by more than 8,570 people, aims to provide her following with interesting and helpful content. 

“The goal that I am moving towards is just encouraging a healthy, happy lifestyle,” Somberg said. “I feel like social media is just negative in general, and I don’t want to perpetuate that.” 

Leading an active lifestyle has assisted Somberg in coping with the stresses of college, which she hopes to convey to her audience. After having a friend who struggled with depression in college, Somberg recognized the prevalence of depression on college campuses and the role her account could play in helping others. The most rewarding aspect of being an Instagram influencer has been all of the people who have reached out to her to say "thank you" or to ask for advice, Somberg said. 

“You never know when a positive post could change somebody’s day and make them reevaluate a poor situation in their life,” Somberg said.

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