Being an influencer is very much a real job. Whilst the word itself ‘influencer’ can carry a lot of assumptions, the fact is that everyone is influenced in some way or another. If a friend has ever recommended a product, and you’ve bought it, they have influenced that purchase decision. The fact that influencers have been able to monetise on that by building an engaged relationship with their online ‘friends’ is not just smart and entrepreneurial, but ingenious. That being said, it’s a kind of marketing that’s been going on forever.
The age of celebrity
Since the rise of the glossy magazine, you’ll find ads with an often unobtainable lifestyle promoted to speak to the ‘aspirational’ feel of the brand. Normally, these ads featured celebrity faces, and the very fact that the product is endorsed by your favourite celebrity is a testament to why you should buy it. The beauty of the influencer is that the glamour of traditional advertising is pulled back, and followers get a glimpse into their lives, and they can relate to it. Another benefit for influencers, brands, and audiences it’s that this kind of marketing offers a two-way conversation. Creators can speak, and audiences can speak back, providing valuable information for brands, increasing engagement for influencers, and confirming loyalty and connection to audiences.
So what do influencers actually do?
You only have to watch the first ten minutes of ‘Emily In Paris’ to see why people you meet might not believe that working in social media is a ‘real job’. They imagine you swanning around, drinking coffee in cafes and spending a lot of time talking about yourself. In actual fact, an influencer often does the work of an entire marketing, creative and finance team themselves. From photographing content, and marketing themselves, to negotiating deals and scheduling content, all of this is done on top of what they are influencing. It’s done in addition to their ability to beautifully dress their home, style an outfit or create a beauty look.
So, being an influencer is certainly a career, but is it for everyone?
The magic of influencer marketing is that if you are dedicated, have a passion and a skill for content, you could also be an influencer. But success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of hard work, a wealth of content, and often, a ‘making moment’ where a piece of content is shared far and wide, resulting in a boost of new engagers. You need to fine-tune your own distinctive voice, remain authentic - your day one followers will drop off if you don’t - and be consistent in your output.
So next time someone says, “Is being an influencer really a job?” what should you say?
Well, it’s a fast-growing industry valued at over $13bn, wouldn’t you like a slice of that?