Nora Villalobos is a fitness influencer who also creates content for fashion and beauty brands. Throughout her six-year career, she has developed a significant following on Instagram and TikTok and has learned how to snag brand deals, pivot when necessary, and what to do when a promotion deal doesn’t go as planned.
When you are passionate about multiple things, it seems like it just makes sense to weave all of your passions into your work. That’s exactly what Nora Villalobos does. She is a fashion, fitness, and beauty influencer who mainly promotes products on Instagram and Tik Tok.
One may argue that fashion, fitness, and beauty all go hand in hand, which could be why Nora has found such success in working within all three spaces. “I started being fully fitness on my page,” she said, “but then I loved on to fitness, fashion, beauty – all three. I wanted to work with various brands not just fitness brands.”
The decision to open herself to working with other brands has helped make Nora more successful in the niche that she loves the most: fitness. “Right now, I work with one nutrition [brand], which has been helping me also get fitness clothing. I love fitness.”
The Beginning of Her Fitness Journey
Nora initially got into the fitness world because of her mother. “I started fitness because of my mom,” she said. “She loves working out, and she inspired me to work out.”
Nora exercised occasionally between the ages of 14 and 16, but it wasn’t until after she turned 16 that she really got serious about it. It was at that age that Nora discovered she has an issue with her thyroid, and that pushed her to put her physical health front and center. “I gained a bunch of weight out of nowhere,” she said. “I was upset about it, because none of my clothes would fit. That’s when my whole fitness journey started seriously.”
Nora’s fitness journey has taken her to great heights, and even allowed her to launch an entire career. At this point in time, Nora has been a social media influencer for about six-years and her dedication to her passion for fitness has helped her grow her platform considerably – she has over 150k followers on Instagram and 476k on TikTok.
Growing with Various Platforms and Brands
Although Instagram is the platform that allowed Nora to grow her passion into a business, that is not where her career began. In fact, she initially started to gain a following on Facebook. “It started with me being on Facebook,” Nora said, “and all of the sudden, my Facebook blew up!”
Unfortunately, not many brands that Nora was interested in working with were looking to connect with influencers via Facebook. “A lot of brands were not working with Facebook,” she said, “so I decided to move on to Instagram, grow my following on there. I had this other Instagram account that wasn’t really working as much, so I created a fitness one. I grew that one. Then, from there, started reaching out to brands.”
Now that Nora has amassed a significant platform, she has brands that will reach out to her, asking her to promote their products. “I’ll reach out to them, or they’ll reach out to me, but I’ve worked with a lot of brands throughout my whole content creation career,” she said.
One aspect that has really helped Nora turn her passion into a career is the fact that most brands will pay her to promote their products, not simply offer her products in exchange for a few social media posts. “I got unpaid in the past, but I do more paid stuff versus free now. I think that has been working out better, and I think – hopefully – in the future that I can do even more,” Nora said.”
Nora, like many other influencers, struggled with getting messages out to her audience when Instagram updated and changed their algorithm is recent years. “Instagram really killed the engagement themselves. I used to get 10,000, 6,000, 8,000 likes on a picture, and not that’s way lower. That’s because they changed their algorithm,” she said. “I don’t know what happened, and I don’t know why they did that. A lot of influencers were complaining about that.”
When Nora realized that she wasn’t getting as much traction on Instagram, she pivoted to the popular platform TikTok, where she now has over 476k followers. “I do have a TikTok, I get a lot of traffic from there. Because it’s hard, nowadays, to grow on Instagram just by itseld. So I’ve been using TikTok and I’ve moved a lot of my followers from TikTok to Instagram.”
That being said, Nora discovered a way to gain more followers on Instagram: “I think it was last month, I was posting every single day consistently. I was going live every day consistently. Every single day and posting on my stories. I gained over 20,000 [followers].”
Finding Partnerships That Work (and What to do When They Don’t)
Nora knew that she wanted to branch out to work with various brands, but still keep it all within the fitness industry, to an extent. So, she works with nutrition companies, fitness clothing companies, and other fashion companies. “I work with 1Up Nutrition, which has been helping he also get fitness clothing,” she said.
For the most part, brand deals have worked out. Nora does her best to stick with brands that she genuinely likes and tries to be honest with her audience about her opinion on the product, even when her opinion is not a positive one.
For example, there was one weight loss beverage that she agreed to promote. However, it started to make her sick after a few days of using it. “I did the first post, and then I was trying it. I started getting sick. My stomach was hurting so, so bad. I reached out to the brand, I was like, ‘There’s no way I’m going to promote this. It’s dangerous. I don’t want other people to feel like that.’”
Nora did not want to make more posts for this company that would possibly put someone else in harm’s way. They demanded that she continued posting, so she got honest with her audience. “I said, ‘Okay, to complete the terms, I’ll make the other two posts, because I’ll just talk about what happened to me.’”
Because of scenarios like this, Nora gives the following advice to influencers and aspiring influencers: “Don’t be afraid to say ‘No,’ even if you have the product already. If you don’t like it and you don’t think it would be good for your audience, I would say it’s better to not post it because it could be really bad.”
Influencers like Nora are changing the influencer game. It’s no longer about promoting brands or products for a paycheck; it’s about following your passions and being honest and genuine with your audience. Genuine relationships are the basis of every successful influencer’s career.