About James

Awarded one of the “Top 15 Best Canadian Parenting Blogs of 2019”, James is tackling parenting one day at a time with his blog Social Dad. From parenting advice to in-depth guides on social media, you’ll find everything you need with James Smith.

Social Connections:

How did you start?

I’ve always been a blogger, a writer, a photographer, and podcaster, even before Facebook and Twitter existed. Now blogging and social content creation has become a valid industry and I love it. It’s an exciting journey to be on.

Where do you find inspiration?

It doesn’t take much. For the photos I share, they’re usually of either my daughter or spending time outside. When I write on SocialDad.ca, I’m usually just sharing whatever I’m excited about, or talking about a topic that’s worth diving into.

What do you post about?

Life as a Dad or how I’m pretending to be a functional adult. It turns out that grown-ups don’t know what they’re doing either.

What does your audience relate most to?

Being a busy parent mostly.

What has been your favorite experience as an Influencer:

I truly love working with the brands that I’ve shopped with or loved for a long time. I simply don’t work with any brands or products that I don’t use or admire. One of my favourite partnerships was with Fisher-Price, where they gave my daughter a food truck play set. She plays in it every single day and that was over a year ago!

What 3 things does anyone starting as an Influencer need to know?

1) You have to be completely honest with your audience. Write about what you know and genuinely care about.
2) Put in the work. My blog and social channels have taken years to build up and there was a long time where it was just a passion project. I work for about two hours most evenings, after my daughter is in bed to write, research, or read about a subject I’m going to take photos of or spend time writing about.
3) You need to provide value. Nobody is just going to give you something or pay you to do something if they’re not getting anything back. Your photos have to be better than someone else’s, or your words have to drive their sales. Your review or a few ‘impressions’ isn’t going to make much difference.
4) A bonus one, is always over-deliver. If you’re contracted to do an Instagram post, make some extra IG stories, or if you’re doing a YouTube video, write a blog too. Give them more than they asked for and they’ll come back to you.

What is the best thing about being an influencer?

Getting to work with brands that I love and share what I’m really excited about with my friends and audience.

What’s the largest challenge you face as an influencer? How do you overcome it?

Oh it’s definitely ‘Imposter Syndrome’. I spend too much time worrying that I’m going to get found out and that I can’t possibly have any kind of audience. Who am I to talk with any sort of significance?
When I figure out how to overcome it, I’ll let you know. 

Tell us about your proudest moment as an influencer?

Probably when I gave my daughter her first toy to ‘review’. It was amazing to be put in the position where a brand was giving me the opportunity to put something fun into her little hands. 

If you could start all over again, what would you do differently?

I’d take my photography more seriously. Oh, and I would have picked my blog name as my social handles, but I think they’ve all been snapped up before it even occurred to me. 

What factors do you take into account for what you charge with a post?

How long it will take me, how much effort and research is needed for creating the content, and if I have to take time away from my other work to get it done. 

What is the best practice for Brands looking to work with Influencers?

Build a relationship with your creators or ‘influencers’. Be prompt with payments and emails, and don’t ask to approve content before they post it. It quickly becomes less genuine when we have to go through edits and design-by-committee. 

How do you choose which campaigns you will and will not participate in?

I only work with brands I like and products I’d actually use. I always check out their profiles in the news too, so if they’ve been doing anything questionable or support causes that I don’t believe in, I’ll pass. These are my channels and my words. I don’t want anyone else’s voice coming through my mouth! 

What do you do to encourage authentic engagements on your sponsored posts?

I reply to everyone! I think it’s super important to have genuine engagement and real conversations. Otherwise, what’s the point?