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Life and Work with Marissa Herman

Today we’d like to introduce you to Marissa Herman.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Marissa. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I went to Emerson College for writing and editing and got a job in book publishing right out of college. I was working in the legal department and after a few years, I started to yearn for something more creative. I’ve always had an interest in marketing so I thought that the best way to see if I would be good at it would be to try and market myself.

Food has always been a passion of mine, I’ve been a Yelp Elite for three years and love trying new restaurants. A food Instagram seemed natural to me so I thought, why not? Because this was something I wanted to help further my career, I put a lot of hours into my account to try and gain a following as quickly as possible. I was liking over 100 posts an hour, commenting, constantly taking pictures – I was basically glued to my phone. To my surprise, I got invited to my first event a couple months after I started and that’s when I realized the amazing world I had stumbled into. Meeting inspiring bloggers, trying delicious food, going to restaurant openings – it was all something I had accidentally discovered. Once I realized the magnitude of my outreach and the potential I had for helping restaurants, I started to think of this as a real business I could get into and focused more on my photo taking and writing. To this day, I haven’t slowed down much. I still try to like 100 posts an hour and am always looking for photo taking tips from fellow influencers. I’ve formed some great relationships with restaurants and PR companies and have had so much fun seeing where my account has and will take me. Oh and now, I work as a Marketing Writer, so to say this was all worth it would be an incredible understatement.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Something I’ve struggled with and still struggle with occasionally, is the illegitimacy people feel about Instagram as a marketing platform. I find myself calling myself a “food blogger” more than an “influencer,” even though I don’t write blog articles, because people seem to take that more seriously and it’s easier to explain. If they ask about my blog and I say I’m only on Instagram, I’m often met with quizzical looks and I feel like they think I’m just your run-of-the-mill girl with an Instagram and don’t respect the hard work and effort I put into my account. In the beginning, this reaction made me question my own legitimacy – I wondered if those people were right. After all, I didn’t have photography or marketing background – I was just a girl with an Instagram when I started. However, I’ve started to realize that that’s kind of the beauty of it. Influencer marketing only works because I’m a regular person, and people trust people more than brands. So I decided to just own my influencer status, and that’s when I really started to gain traction with my followers and posts, and I felt like my Instagram became a true business. Sure, sometimes it takes a little explaining, and I usually have to break out my phone to show my account, but education is always the best tool for people who doubt you. If you believe in yourself and what you’re doing, other people will follow suit. Confidence is contagious and if we want people to take us seriously, we have to take ourselves seriously first.

Please tell us about Boston Mouthful.
My focus is food photography, and I have a food Instagram. I believe that there’s two kinds of food influencers: people who are photographers first, foodies second, and the reverse. I’m definitely the latter: full-time eater, part-time influencer. I try to really showcase the food and how amazing it looks, usually with close ups instead of distant flat lays. Of course, excellent photography is important, but my main goal is to make you stop scrolling on your feed because that slice of pizza is making you drool, the artistic value comes second. That being said, I’m always trying to learn photography new styles, ask other influencers for help, and stay on top of the latest food trends. I also believe I’ve gained success because I try to be as relatable as possible. People like influencers because they feel like they know us – we’re their friends! I try to talk to my followers as I would my friend. I make jokes, have dorky, funny captions, and tell them about cool events I would be interested in myself. I give to my followers what I would honestly want in a feed because authenticity is so important, and your followers will see through anything else. I’m proud of myself for becoming someone people look to for food and being able to turn my passion into a legitimate business. I’m proud that I became so much more than the “run-of-the-mill girl with an Instagram” and blossomed into an actual authority. It feels so amazing to share my passion with such a wide audience and to see that people are really responding to what I’m doing. Just within the last few months, I’ve had people message me to tell me that they’ve gone to a restaurant directly because of a post I’ve made, which is so incredible to me. Of course, that’s the goal. But I never really stopped and thought about how someone has actually changed their life (albeit in a small way) around something I’ve done or said. It’s a really great feeling.

Do you think there are structural or other barriers impeding the emergence of more female leaders?
I just think it comes down to not being taken seriously. For whatever reason, there are still people out there that don’t believe women can be in a leadership role. Whether that be because they think we’re “too emotional” or think we need to focus on our families or aren’t smart enough or whatever, it’s painful to keep reminding our society that a woman can do the exact same job as any man. Stereotypes are an unfortunate reality for many different groups of people and although it may take a little bit more work than normal, I’m proud for all of the amazing women leaders I know that have broken through these barriers and give inspiration to the next generation of strong females.

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Image Credit:
Boston Mouthful

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