Everyone dreams of being powerful and having people listen to what they have to say and the social media influencer is someone who can make a living doing exactly that. But what are the advantages and disadvantages of being a social media influencer?
Summary: 4 Minutes read, Level: Entertainment
You might well be asking yourself right now: what is a social media influencer exactly? For older people it sounds like a made up and nonsensical job title, but for millennials it is a very realistic career option.
When the internet first became accessible to all, people didn’t realise its potential. And when social media began nobody recognised the power that would have or indeed what it was for – this is illustrated by the fact that most people’s first tweet was “I don’t really know what the point of this is.” Anyone who tells you they were there at the very start of social media and knew exactly how they could turn it to their advantage is quite frankly spinning a yarn and many who have done well for themselves as a result of using popular social media platforms probably had more than just a little bit of help from Lady Luck.
The term social media influencer is a fairly recent thing and it was born out of an ever-changing world. Many people began blogging at the start of the Millennium and among them were a few people who had very interesting things to say that a lot of people were very keen to read about. It turns out that experience can make a person an expert in the same way that schools or any other official avenue of learning can. People were blogging about interesting subjects and linking their blogs to popular social media accounts such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Suddenly self-proclaimed experts were attracting large volumes of followers. These people had influence and became known as social media influencers once the true potential was known.
The true potential of the social media influencer became apparent once businesses and companies latched on to the potential. They saw a new marketplace which they could tap into. It was a way to get your products or services recognised by more people at a fraction of the cost of ordinary advertising. Companies began approaching social media influencers about helping them to promote various items for financial remuneration. Who could turn that down?
So there is the first pro of being a social media influencer: payment. Payments are often in the form of free samples or money off vouchers, but some social media influencers are paid in hard cash to review a product or have it in a photograph on their social media feeds. An influencer with tens of thousands of followers could attract more interest from business and it could grow exponentially.
So you’ve got cash, free products and vouchers. What else can you expect as a social media influencer? Adulation from your fans, mostly. The respect of one’s peers is difficult to achieve, but a good social media influencer gets that in spades and let’s be honest, it’s a damn good feeling. Once you reach a certain level of success and are making a living from influencing you can count yourself as a small business owner and you will even be able to choose your own hours. Want to work early morning? No problem. Want to take two days off? Also no problem. You can schedule posts so they are visible at optimum times without having to sit by your computer at all hours. Not many jobs give you this level of freedom. And above all you get to work doing something you love which only a small percentage of the employed population will tell you that they do. Being a social media influencer can be incredibly rewarding in all of these ways.
Being a social media influencer isn’t without its pitfalls though. You won’t become a successful social media influencer overnight and you’ll have to put a lot of hours in to get the whole thing off the ground. Your chosen niche will need to be something you care a lot about and not just something you feel you can capitalise on. That being said you can work with something you know little about, but that will involve even more hours of research. In order to stay ahead of your fellow social media influencers you will already be doing a lot of that. In the beginning, like with many jobs involving a certain amount of creativity, a lot of people will expect you to work for peanuts or even for free. Sadly you’ll have to accept this while you make a name for yourself. One thing you will need to figure out as a social media influencer is how much content you need to post, how often and at what time. A lot of this will depend on your niche and your target audience. All of it can be done through trial and error, but again it’s a lot of hours.
Being a social media influencer might not last forever either. The bubble might burst or another social media influencer within your niche might overtake your popularity. Staying ahead of the game is a must if you want to avoid this happening to your social media influencer career.
As with any chosen career, being a social media influencer has good and bad sides. If this is something you’re thinking about doing we recommend that you make your own pros and cons list and include what you think to be important for you. A successful social media influencer will do his or her research before diving in. Do you know your target audience? Do you have a strategy? Are you aware of your own value? Is there space for you within your chosen niche? Once you are satisfied that it is the chosen path for you, give it a go. You could be the next big social media influencer everybody talks about!