I’ve been called many things over the years, in fact I’ve called myself lots of different things too. I started with a blog therefore I was a blogger. I then got an Instagram account, did that make me an Instagram-mer? Finally a YouTube channel adding YouTuber to the list of titles. The term ‘Creator’ can also be used as an umbrella term for someone who creates content online (or anything for that matter). But it’s always a struggle when people ask me what I do for a living and I always stumble ranting through the credentials above. So today I wanted to talk about a word that I’ve been hearing for a while now. ‘Influencer’.
To start things off I personally would never call myself an influencer, It seems like a very big burden to take upon ones self and can mean so many different things to so many different people. I think influencer means someone who is influential, but influential in what respect?
It’s Brands that call people like me an ‘influencer’ quite regularly and it makes me feel really uncomfortable. The word Influencer has been slowly creeping in over the past few years, it stems from the whole marketing side of things. ‘Influencer Marketing’ to be exact. The word Influencer has been used to coin anyone with a social media following, no matter what scale really (although the term ‘micro influencer’ can be used too, but who can define what micro is?!) It’s extremely vague and it puts everyone in one big pond which isn’t really fair as each and every creator is so different as should be treated as such.
Lets take Instagram for example, You can’t really place a reality tv star with 1million followers next to a blogger with 50k followers as they’re just completely different entities. In fact it might surprise you that the blogger with 50k followers might have more influence than the Reality TV star, with Instagrams ever changing algorithm and dwindling engagement rates it’s really anyones guess at this point.
A few in the mix at the moment are….
Reality TV Celebrities
and then each of those categories splits down into so many more little brackets too.
When someone has on their instagram bio something along the lines of ‘DJ, MODEL, INFLUENCER’ it really puts a lump in my throat. Yes you might be a DJ, you might also be a model but How can you personally say that you yourself are an influencer? Ego boost much? Your work should speak for itself and people should recognise the power of your influence by themselves without you having to call yourself an ‘influencer.’ I think anyway. I believe that there is no real way that you can guarantee influence on anyone.
Even on dating apps (lol me always talking about dating) I’ve been told ‘ oh so you’re an influencer ;)’ – and in my head I’m like nope. nope. nope. please stop. this is not what I signed up for, not in the job description. I think that People and brands believe that people with a lot of followings can instantly sell out a product, encourage others to visit a certain place/event or even change their daily life because of them. I for one know that’s just not how it works – You might have millions of followers and not one of them might give two hoots about your new ‘Daniel Wellington Watch’.
I think brands sometimes treat ‘influencers’ like billboards and think that if they stick their product on an instagram feed then that will equal lots and lots of sales and money. Which is wrong. It might give the brand some exposure to a certain group of people (definitely more people than a magazine can guarantee these days but that’s for a different article) but it definitely doesn’t guarantee sales. Brands then believe that influencer marketing ‘doesn’t work’ but it’s because they’re doing it oh so wrong. Long term serious marketing plans should be about building a base of strong committed loyal customers, not just trying to turn a quick buck.
I’m veering off into marketing a little but I’ll get back on track I swear, what I mean is that Marketing gave birth to the term influencer, we now we have kids who want to grow up to become an ‘influencer’ and that’s not really ok. Influencers existed before instagram , before youtube etc. In fact genuine influencers might not even have any social media yet still manage to start trends.
I think the term influencer is quite dangerous as it’s being seen as a ‘dream job’ that many see as this amazing glamorous career, where you jet around the world wearing your favourite clothes, working with brands and going to all the cool places. I guess It’s relatable because like I always say, anyone can do it but not everyone can. Everyones in different places in their lives, you don’t know how hard someone worked to get to where they are or if they simply cheated their way to the top.
It’s a really interesting and excited bubble that we’ve created for ourselves but it’s also quite dark and twisted. I think it’s important to remember that an ‘influencers’ job might seem like the best thing in the world but it’s someones manufactured highlights, giving you a filtered perception of their life. I myself have created a world in which ‘gallucks’ exists which is full of new clothes, trips and adventures where I’m always having the best time but to be really honest with you it’s not like that at all. There are bad days and good days just like everyone else.
I’m not really sure what I was trying to say with this article, I guess just that the word influencer makes me feel uncomfortable.
Until Next time,