Do you have what it takes to become an influencer?
The Information Age has created literally hundreds of jobs all over the world ranging from the most mind-bogglingly technical (think UX designers and network engineers) to more creative avenues, such as digital graphic designers and film-makers.
In order to enter into a career in one of these careers it’s still beneficial to have an appropriate degree, as most people will still need to gain sufficient work experience before ‘striking it out alone’, should they so wish. There’s one occupation, however, that requires no formal training and no formal qualifications. We now live in a world where individuals can make hundreds, even thousands of pounds, for simply taking a photograph and sharing it on Instagram.
The rise of the social media influencer has been gradual, but today it is considered a key component of marketing strategies for all kinds of enterprises around the world. The premise is simple enough: by harnessing the huge reach of social media networks such as Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat; brands and companies are able to make deals with influential users to either feature their product or mention their brand. Depending on the size of a user’s following, a brand could spend up to a few thousand pounds for a simple post or, conversely, simply send the influencer a free product.
So what does it take to become a social media influencer?
For many young people the notion of making a living out of social media is certainly alluring: you’re free to set your own schedule, your favourite brands send you free stuff and, best of all, you’re famous! Unfortunately, the reality of life as a successful influencer isn’t quite at simple as taking a few pictures and reaping the benefits. In order to achieve success as an influencer, an individual must be a charismatic personality, proficient photographer, a savvy marketer and a consummate personal assistant all in one – quite the tall order!
Let’s break down each one of these roles with some examples, so that you can understand what it takes to achieve in the world of influencer marketing:
Do you have a big personality?
In order to attract the attention of major brands or companies you will need to have a large social following, and in order to do that you’ll need a charming personality! Whilst this is certainly a subjective matter, it’s worth considering if you have the force of personality necessary to ‘come across’ in Instagram, this means having a sense of humour, appearing approachable and having the patience to be able to sit down each day and answer to comments from people that you don’t know!
Take a look at this Instagram post from @Jodie.Melissa, she takes time to reply to comments and describes her current status in a humorous, self-deprecating fashion:
Can you take good photographs?
The world of social media is one of ‘surface pleasures’, in order to succeed you will need engagement and ‘follows’, these will only come if you post attractive, ‘gramworthy’ content. Unfortunately, it’s not enough just to take ‘nice’ photos, you also need to stand out from the pack which means developing your own unique style. Brands will pay attention if you take clear, eye-catching photos – blurry or dark pictures won’t impress anyone.
This image from successful crafting blogger @abeautifulmess is a good example of a clean, attractive image:
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Can you market yourself?
Sometimes it’s not enough to simply take good photos and be a funny person, in order to get noticed will have to be a savvy marketer which involves constantly considering your end goal, your audience and how you’re planning on engaging with them. A problem many amateur influencers face is not having any kind of niche, or image. It’s important that you understand who your account will appeal to, what those people want and how you can attract more of them.
Bloggers Oliva and Alice are not only successful influencers, but they also sell fur pom pom bobble hats on their own website, their Instagram photos clearly mark them out as young fashionable people with an eye for what’s ‘on trend’:
Are you an organised person?
In order to achieve success as an influencer you’ll need to be an organised, punctual individual who is dedicated to their new profession. You will be responsible for every facet of your business, which means that you’ll need to ensure that you are planning and scheduling content, reaching out to brands, replying to comments and emails, researching your niche to stay on top of trends and also interacting with your community. It’s a full on occupation that can quickly turn into an ‘always-on’ existence – so be prepared to work hard!
Let us know if you’re just starting out as an influencer, or if you’re planning on starting a new career as one – we’d love to hear from you.