Updated: Aug 13
The Reality of Being an Influencer ~ Part 1
This is an introductory article to a full series of articles discussing the ins and outs of being a Social Media Influencer. Social media Influencers are a hot topic right now; but who and what are they? A social media influencer is someone with a large following and engagement who can "influence" society in some way, whether it's through their product endorsements, educational programs, charity work, politics etc... They are present on any or all social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. The invention of social media through technology has opened up the world to the new generation and those who can successfully make a name for themselves through social media by getting brand endorsements can really make a great living. We have all seen those videos of Influencers in front of mansions and fancy cars posing for a cool picture but whats the reality?
Many kids want to become an Influencer because it appears to be a great way to be looked up to and to make some money doing what you love which is everyone’s dream. We all know those top Influencers that get paid to simply make videos traveling around the world and promoting brands but behind the scenes what is really going on?
1) Its A Real Job
You have to think of an Influencer as a full time employee. A lot of the time Influencers are waiting around for a perfect shot, behind a computer screen editing videos or traveling to somewhere that is not as exciting as you may think. It’s not like every Influencers has a private Lamborghini and personal editors that do everything for them. Most of the time Influencers are working and developing content which takes a lot more time than you think. You have to think of them like a TV production that has to get everything lined up to create content for their followers. The more followers you have, the more pressure there is to create better and better content. It’s a lot more work than people realize. I personally am putting in 12 - 15 hour days every day editing, researching, searching for material, traveling to a new venue to shoot new content etc.
2) The Money Is Ok
These Influencers are NOT ALL RICH! Some are, of course, but those are generally the 'big' ones with millions of followers who have a large team behind them, but the average Influencer with 100K - 500K is not exactly rolling around in money. Brands won’t pay as much as they use to for content and all fight over the top 1% of Influencers. The new companies that tend to have smaller budgets will try to give away product in return for being part of your social media campaign and will not simply pay you a couple hundred bucks for a post. It’s not that easy any more since everyone now wants to be an Influencer. You have to have a real business underlying your social media following or unless you make it HUGE you will get by and can look at it more like a part time job or hobby compared to a full salary.
3) Traveling Is Hard
Take it from me, a guy who has travelled to over 20 countries a year for the last 8 years. Traveling gets tiring once the ‘shock and awe’ has faded. Running from a rental car, to an airplane, to a train, to a hotel every week (or every few days in some cases) can drain your energy and is not great for getting a lot of work done. Living on the road can really slow down your business development and can wear you down. There is always something going wrong when you travel a lot. A misplaced passport or a missed flight means you have to replan the entire trip ASAP so you still get to the event or appearance. You need to be good with stress, adapting to situations quickly and very good at logistics planning, unless you have someone to do it for you! The client won’t wait for you to show up late so you are always time-stressed making sure that everything is going right with multiple alarms on everything you do in the day.
4) Having A Following Is Stressful
The more followers you have, the more you have to interact with them. Young kids expect you to engage with them on your posts and to keep up with the shear numbers of followers can really wear you down as well. You have to remember what you tell your followers and if you make a mistake they will make sure you know about it! If you tagged something wrong or even if they simply misunderstand what you were trying to say on a post, they will make sure you know. To point out mistakes is like a sport for some of your followers who want to bring you down to their level by finding anything they can to criticize. You have to have a tough skin to not worry about what people thin so if you are naturally a bit more reserved, being an Influencer is not for you.
5) You have To Love What You Do!
In this series I will cover many topics about being an Influencer but one thing to take away is that you have to truly love what you do on social media. If your thing is to take pictures of nature, you have to love it so much that you will get up at 3:00 am to travel to the beach a few hours away and set up your equipment to get that perfect sunrise shot. You have to be ready to do it several times because God knows that you will lose a memory card or your camera somewhere and will have to repeat that process until the shot is perfect and better than the other pictures from other photographers on social media. It takes a life-dedication. Pick something you truly see yourself doing full time.
This article is just an introduction to what it means to be an Influencer. I have an interview with Martial Arts and Tricking Influencer Dominique Lewis (aka "Uncle Dom") where we discuss some of these nuances that many young
Being an Influencer in many ways is more than a 'Full Time Job' because it requires you to structure your entire life around your following even when you want to take a break. In part 2 I discuss the upsides of being an Influencer before getting into the nitty-gritty reality.
I hope this introduction gives you an idea as to the reality of an Influencer. There is much more to cover so stay tuned each week for another insight in the rest of the series.
If you would like some personal advice on your Influencer career you can book a FREE 30 minute chat with me to brainstorm ways you can get your career started or how to help get your account to build followers. To chat go to https://www.trampolinecoaching.com/plans-pricing