Every time you open up a social app, there’s always someone sharing their current skincare obsessions or the latest fashion pieces. Within moments of being posted, these images get thousands of likes and comments. Influencers are everywhere, and it’s no wonder that they are on the top of our minds. They seem to have it all put together with us coveting their lives, but everything isn’t exactly how it seems. Here are five things you probably don’t know about being an influencer.
Some People like Being Called an Influencer
The term influencer has a negative connotation in the beauty and fashion industry. Many influencers argue that no matter what the intent of the word, it feels like they are a piece of a monopoly. The stigma behind the word can be too great and many would prefer to be called a ‘content creator’ or simply a blogger. But, this is not the case for others who do the exact same work.
Matt Woodcox of @dirtyboysgetclean, an account dedicated to skincare and self-love, said that he never really liked the term. The idea of creating to get people to spend their money never sat well with him. He started his account to inspire others to feel more confident in their skin, no matter how it looks. This angle helped Matt jump to the top of the influencer world. In an attempt to reverse the stigma of pushing products onto others, Matt embraced the name. He mentioned that if he can “…influence people to practice self-care, support others in their same field, be creative, and feel better about themselves then I am glad to label myself an ‘influencer.’” When you are able to help others, the word influencer no longer has a negative connotation.
Finding a Niche Is Hard
The current market for influencers is so saturated that finding what to blog about and what audience to write for can be difficult. To be an influencer is to stand out and promote brands, so how do you step away from the pack? You have to find something you are passionate about and those who feel the same will come to you. An audience can tell right away when your heart isn’t in something. Or if you’re promoting something for the wrong reasons. You not only will lose followers, but you will also lose your credibility as an influencer.
That being said, it can be so difficult remaining true to yourself and give your followers what they expect of you. Everyone gets stuck from time to time, leaving you questioning what to do next. Take a break and get outside of your everyday life. When you are exposed to the same things consistently, you cannot be expected to come up with fresh ideas. Go for a walk, scroll through Instagram or Pinterest, or grab some friends and go on a road trip. Anything you can do to get a new perspective will keep your newfound audience happy, while still allowing you to maintain your passion.
It’s More Work Than You Think
Most people assume that influencers have the easiest jobs on the planet. When they’re not getting sent free products or grabbing drinks at the best coffee shops, they are on press trips or just relaxing at home. In actuality, this is far from true. Marissa Fuchs of @FashionAmbitionist will be the first to tell you her life is not easy. She works a full-time job as Goop’s Director of Brand Partnerships, runs her blog, and maintains quite the personal life. She said, “being an influencer is an always-on approach. No day is the same. I can work on my blog anywhere from one hour a day to five plus hours. I am constantly reading messages on IG and checking emails. The more I grow, the more time is needed to focus on my blog…”
Her blog is dedicated to woman’s style and changing the status quo of work wear. Those amazing outfits you see her post daily are what she actually has on!
I am considered a micro-influencer and create content on three platforms. I also have an internship, go to school full-time, and have a part-time job. Balancing this is hard, but getting to work with brands is even harder. When you are smaller, it is mostly you reaching out to brands to work together. For every single email I get with a brand that wants to collaborate, there are about ten rejections. Most of the time payment is the product and the experience. The trick is to never stop hustling and creating content. Sure, it may take me five or so hours to work on a YouTube video or write, shoot, and edit a blog post, but in the end, it helps me get opportunities.
They Are Not Afraid to Network
Networking, like the term influencer, has such a bad reputation. To partake in such exchanges can be seen as too eager or selfish, yet a true influencer knows it’s the key to success. I recently went to the grand opening of The Detox Market’s flagship store in New York City on my own accord. As an affiliate with the site and by no means required to attend, I reached out to the supervisor and was told it was an open event. When I arrived I met the founder of several major brands along with the creator of The Detox Market. I have done similar things with events through College Fashionista and cold emails.
One of Clique’s founders, Hillary Kerr, talks about networking all of the time on MyDomaine’s Second Life Podcast. You can’t attempt to spread your name in the beauty or fashion industry without having some sort of tie to another. It gives powerful people and brands a credible source and makes them more likely to work with you.
On a smaller scale, networking can be cultivating friendships and support from fellow online influencers. Simply by commenting on posts, starting conversations via DMs, or talking about their content can do wonders for your own confidence as an influencer. When influencers support influencers, social media becomes welcoming and creative. Networking keeps you from feeling isolated in more ways than one.
It Can Take a Mental Toll
The idea of creating content that is fresh and inspiring can be a daunting task. At the same time, comparing yourself to others while trying to do something new can really knock your self-esteem. You see influencers around you doing better than yourself and instantly feel inadequate. Even the best of us experience it and it results in internal pressure to be the best. Marissa, Matt, and I can all agree that we are the ones who create our own stress and strive for this unattainable perfection. Our audiences are encouraging and supportive, but we end up being our biggest critics.
Having a really good support team inside the influencer world and outside of it is so important. It reminds you that you are human and doing the best you can. Taking care of yourself is the only way you are able to give to other people, so if you compare yourself all of the time, it’s not just your content that suffers.
Who are some of your favorite Influencers? Let us know in the comments below!
Opening Image by Lauren Jackson.