At one point or another, we’ve all fantasized about landing the perfect dream job. And while my version of that job will vary from yours and the next person, there are some common career or lifestyle qualities that so many of us wouldn’t mind getting lost in when daydreaming. For most aspiring social media influencers, a dream job will likely consist of being their own boss, having control of their own time, partnering with brands they love, traveling and developing some level of fame. That’s almost impossible to nail down, especially in a successful way, but there is one influencer who’s achieved all of that and more.
Meet Diana Marks. The Belarus-born, LA-based social media influencer has accumulated over 1.5 million followers on Facebook and Instagram, plus thousands more on TikTok, Twitter and elsewhere. Her content uniquely combines her passion in cars, travel, outdoors and fashion, but that was no accident. Back in 2015, Diana recollects, she needed a way to stand out. “Every girl was posting about fashion, and I wanted to be different. I also love cars, so I decided to combine the two elements together in a category called ‘cars + fashion’ on my blog.”
Whereas so many fashion-focused accounts on Instagram look and feel all too similar, Diana’s created an entire niche just for herself. She’s been able to turn her dream into a reality, which is evident when she describes her favorite part of being an influencer: “The amazing people you connect with, freedom to have your own schedule and mind-blowing partnerships.” She added, “I partnered with any type of company you can imagine, from airlines to legendary luxury car brands to even countries.” Lucid Motors, Lexus, Maserati, and McLaren are just some of the high-end auto brands Diana’s worked with.
If she stopped here, that would’ve been enough for us to describe a nice little gig Diana’s got going on for her, but she’s way more than an individual influencer. In fact, she’s in the business of influencing influencers. In 2019, Diana switched gears and launched Lux Digital Media, a full-service social media marketing agency that supports businesses and personalities with branding themselves on Instagram. Some of those services include content creation, management, and growth (she also has a free webinar about landing brand partnerships). It’s one thing to be a successful influencer on Instagram, but a whole other ballgame to be able to spin those skills into a successful business outside of the social media platform.
Reaching this level of success didn’t come overnight. Diana shared some of her learnings with us. When asked what the key to success is, she told us you can’t slam the breaks, “Persistence and professionalism… Social media is a competitive market with its own rules (the algorithm), and if you don’t bring value in any way and don’t play by the rules (create regular content), you will fail.”
In regard to producing good content, there is no fast lane. She said you need to put in “10,000 hours of practice.” But, she added, if you don’t have that much time, then focus on “great lighting, angles (experiment with many options) and observing others you admire (don’t copy them blindly, watch what they do and add your own twist to it).”
Diana also shared insights on the direction she sees the industry going: “I see diversification of platforms, increase of quality of content and a lot more video. With TikTok and Clubhouse coming in play, people are getting tired of mindless Instagram photos, so there will have to be more value on Instagram as well.” Lastly, she said, “Personal connection (including personal branding) is going to be the biggest thing in 2021.”
When asked what mistakes she’s made and learned from, Diana said it “was not trusting myself, wasting too much time, not being proactive.” Regarding wasting time, she explained that she launched her agency a long two years after she hashed out the idea. And as for pivoting towards being more cars-focused, she only seriously pursued that angle three years after first introducing it on her blog. “. Losing years on something I knew was the right direction for me is my biggest regret,” Diana told us.
Luckily for her, she was still able to drive her career into a dream-job situation with the right strategy and persistence.