Influencer. I remember the first time I heard this word. I scratched my head a bit and tried to figure out what it was. I kept seeing it pop up in the bios of bloggers on Instagram.
It didn’t take me long to figure out that it was a person who had social media presence. I toyed around with that word in my bio in the beginning of my social media career; but I couldn’t get comfortable with it. Ultimately I discarded that word and decided I wasn’t really fond of it.
What is an “influencer”?
An influencer usually refers to a person with social media presence who has an active audience and typically a large audience. They’re viewed as “taste makers” who have the power to influence their following; usually with buying products.
There are also “micro influencers”. These are those who have a following of 1k to less than 100k. While they have a smaller audience than a larger influencer; they’re engagement can be just as valuable.
An influencer can be anybody honestly. Bloggers can often fall under the category of an influencer if they have a social media presence.
The Good Thing About Influencers
I am not fond of the term influencer simply because it’s my belief that EVERYONE has influence. So it seems redundant to title one’s self that. However, that’s my humble opinion,
Influencers are awesome because they have the ability to impact people in a positive way. Social media has really paved a lane for people to work directly with brands without having to be a celebrity. Influencers are more tangible than actors or singers. They’re people just like you and me and that makes them more relatable.
Influencers are diverse and can be found in almost any industry or niche. This provides abundant opportunities for people who may not have had these opportunities otherwise.
The Bad Thing About Influencers
Anyone can CALL themselves an influencer. And I mean, literally calling themselves social media influencers. The danger in this is people who engage in nonsense and build platform on said nonsense and get brand deals in the process.
Sometimes people who engage in racist, sexist, trolling behavior grow an audience. As a result of simply having large numbers, they get sponsored content. Personally I think this is irresponsible of brands. But I think it speaks to the brands desire to have reach at a cheaper rate than they would paying for traditional marketing.
Because being an influencer doesn’t require a stringent background check or require any sort of integrity; anything goes. The ability to be an influencer is a double edge sword.
The Ugly Thing About Influencers
There are a lot of great influencers out here. There are many being positive while securing the bag. However, there’s just as many out here creating a trash reputation for influencers.
There is a sense of entitlement that a lot of influencers develop. The idea is that because they’re so popular they should receive free things. The issue with this, is they usually take this approach with small businesses.
It’s one thing to secure sponsored gifts and promotional items from big box brands. They have the overhead and budget for that. And even then, a lot of the larger brands are starting to use a lot more discretion in that area.
However, writing small brands with the pitch that free things should be received in exchange for exposure is simply foolish.
Exposure doesn’t pay bills for small businesses. Most influencers feel the same way about their own services when big brands reach out wanting to only pay in gifted product. If as an influencer you want your coins; how much more so would a small business?
It’s not as if the small business is reaching out to YOU; you’re reaching out to them! This wanton approach to a small business reflects poorly on you as an influencer. Unfortunately, this behavior is found to be the norm among influencers and really leaves a bad taste in people’s mouth.
There’s a Right & A Wrong Way to be an Influencer
There are many who would disagree with this sentiment; but who cares this is my blog. Being an influencer is a balancing act because you want to do things to make money but you should also be worried about your integrity.
As an influencer, it’s your right to have a rate card and service fees. However, keep that in mind when you approach small businesses for collaborations. They have fees too.
If you are an influencer, be humble, be kind and be gracious.
People buy followers and likes ALL the time; so never rest your value on those things.
Being an “influencer” doesn’t have to be a bad thing. If it’s what you call yourself or what you decide to do; be a decent human first.
The simplest thing to remember? Treat others as you want to be treated.
Until Next Time,