28 Oct 2018

What does it actually mean to be a Social Media Influencer?


Influencer

[in-floo-uh n-ser]

‘An influencer is an individual who has the power to affect purchase decisions of others because of his/her authority, knowledge, position or relationship with his/her audience.’

#LoveLilyLulu 

I want to start this blog post by saying everyone can technically be an influencer. Even if you have 300 followers, and 1 person buys a product through your recommendation – you’ve influenced their purchase decision. In fact, you don’t even need to have a social media profile to do this. Think how many times you’ve gone and purchased something through a word of mouth recommendation, I know I have. I wrote my dissertation at University on the role social media has in the beauty industry and it’s actually what’s led me to the career I’m in now. Before the social media influencer, many people would buy products due to reference groups (word of mouth marketing) whether that be through friendships, family, tv ads or celebrities. Let’s be honest, how many of you reach for that certain moisturiser or shampoo just because your mum has used throughout your childhood. I was the same with Olay actually – my mum religiously uses it and swears by it, but now due to the influence of social media and blogger recommendations, I branch out to try newer products. Social influencers are a new breed of ‘reference group’ and shake up the way we’re used to buying. 

The rise of the Social Media Influencer also means the rise of (mostly negative) opinions about what it means to be one. ‘You spend too much time on social media’ or ‘Lol, you think you’re a blogger’. If people choose to share their lives on the internet then let them - or simply click the unfollow button and move on. Yes, I agree that there is a line that should be drawn on some things, but there is a difference between a Facebook post telling everyone how much of a d*ick your ex is, compared to letting everyone know where your bag is from.


There is also simply more to the job of an influencer than just posting a couple of outfit selfies and getting a free teeth whitening kit - a good influencer is an an SEO whiz, creative writer, photographer, personal accountant and marketing expert - brands do it on a daily basis, and have done for centuries, so why can’t people do the same for themselves? 

An example of the misinterpretation on what it means to be an ‘influencer’ is from a past relationship. My other half told me loved my ambition, loved that I had my sh*t together and loved that I had a career that I worked hard for. But as my Instagram grew due to this ambition and the more opportunities arose he told me he didn’t ‘want an Instagram girlfriend’... lolz

I guess what he meant was he didn’t want me to gain loads of followers and have loads of random men sliding into my DM’s (which doesn't really happen anyway as my audience is 62% women), but that was an insecurity on his behalf not mine and if you love someone you should support them on anything. I love to create content, share my purchases with my followers and work with brands, because I ENJOY it. It’s my full time job to build other brands’ social and digital communities, so why can’t I build my own. I like to inspire people, and it’s not just about the freebies, or the gratification from strangers liking my photos.


However, unfortunately with this industry comes the people who don’t actually care about creating content and are simply faking it. We’ve all been reading about the elusive ‘blogger fraud’, buying followers and using bots to boost engagement, but where does it end? These people actually have 0 influence on anyone, but outsiders and brands will believe that they do, which means both parties are simply wasting their time. Victoria from InTheFrow wrote a blog post about this and I totes recommend giving it a read. It's certainly time that brands are more savvy smart about who they take on to campaigns as many are baffled by numbers and there is WAY more to a successful campaign than the amount of followers the influencer has and how many likes a photo gets.

It's not all bad though, being part of this industry has allowed me to meet new people, discover and work with some amazing brands,  learn new skills and generally just do something that I enjoy. I love nothing more than styling outfits, writing blog posts, discovering new makeup and skincare and letting people #KeepUpWithKirby. 

P.s if anyone out there want's to be my 'Instagram husband' - slide into my DMs. 
Love, 

Em x 

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