A few weeks ago I read a story about a couple who had a bad first date. Their date was later exploited on a local radio station. The girl was an influencer on a date with a guy she met through a dating app who was a contractor. After the first date, and an awkward text later, the guy never called the girl again. His explanation was he didn’t think she had a lucrative career because she was an influencer. A tad defensive after hearing this story since I am an influencer, I got to the bottom of it. I asked around to see what people, like this guy, perceived an influencers job to be. The majority were wrong by a long shot. So I want to clear up the misperception and tell you the truth about social media influencers from my experience.
Influencer marketing has been around for centuries. Celebrities have been working on influencer marketing campaigns for nearly two decades (longer if you factor in the generation of models). Social media influencers may be new to some of you as this profession only recently started rising in the last 2-3 years. However, with a growing demand of interest in everyday people like you and I creating inspiring and unique social media content brands took notice. These brands found ways to market products at a lesser cost. Social media influencers benefited from this.
Before social media it was nearly impossible to be seen by a large audience. Even more difficult to land a 1 in a million opportunity like acting, professional modeling, professional athlete or singer/songwriter. Creating your dream job working from home was not obtainable for the average person. Social media platforms paved the way for creative entrepreneurs to have a voice and be heard and create a channel to be seen and showcase their talent. The more money and fame people received the more companies recognized this as a profession.
With any job, it takes a team to build a business. Most of the time social media influencers don’t have a budget for a team so they start their company on their own. They do every job by themselves. Administration, accounting/finance, marketing and advertising and operations/sales. Social media influencers are their own boss. Working from home is a luxury but to be successful you must have time management skills and will power. This job is not for everyone.
As a social media influencer I work as an art director, model, photographer, videographer, editor, manager, writer, content creator, marketing manager, SEO specialist, web developer and so on every single day. That’s a lot of responsibility for someone who “doesn’t have a lucrative profession.” When you ask what my title is, I do it all! I’m a boss babe! I have several titles.
I am self-taught. I taught myself how to build a website and I don’t mean buy a template and plugin content. I taught myself effective SEO tactics to monetize my traffic to my blog. I write every article for my blog including all research and interviews conducted for www.monikafreeman.com. I take my own photos and videos. If that isn’t enough I also edit them. I have a vast knowledge of Final Cut Pro, Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Lightroom and After Effects... the list goes on.
I curate every post, art direct every photo and video shoot. After the creative process is complete then I take my work to brands and pitch them to hire me. Essentially marketing myself and my talent. I am continually selling my brand, my reputation and my talent to brands. If I don’t book work I don’t make money so it is up to me to manage myself properly.
Once I book a job I negotiate my contract and my rate. Then I search for inspiration to market the brands products in a way that represents the brand and my brand while being authentic to my followers.
It’s important that I only pitch brands and accept jobs that I stand behind to represent my brand accurately. This can be difficult sometimes because it is a business and like any business I have expenses and bills to pay. But it is my job to be authentic. My followers rely on my honesty and brands rely on my professionalism and creativity so it is my job to make sure the brand and the consumer are both happy. At the end of the day, I have full responsibility for creating each marketing campaign, pushing brand awareness and selling products, as well as, completing deadlines timely while giving consumers an honest reasons to invest in a product. Each step of the job is a process and requires knowledge and hard work. If I drop the ball I can loose that partnership for good. There is pressure to do a satisfactory job.
Being an influencer has many perks. I am grateful to have a career doing something that I love and I am passionate about. However, it is important to make people aware that partnerships and free products do not just fall into my lap. I am knocking on every door I want to partner with constantly challenging myself. It is a hustle to stay current, relevant and innovative with the changing social media algorithm and growing competition. It is also important to push myself to perform better results each campaign.
The next time you are quick to judge an influencer because they were paid to post a pretty photo remember how much effort went into that photo. They took time to grow a loyal following, land a business partnership, built trust with the brand and spent time curating and delivering their ideas for that campaign to educate you the consumer on the benefits that product has to offer you. Social media influencers are just like you. They are people with a job that manage a set of responsibilities.
I hope this post shed some light on social media influencers. Drop me a comment below and let me know what you think of influencers after reading this. Also what are your thoughts on these boss babe clothing picks below?!