Social media started in the early 2000s, and since then it has only continued to grow in popularity. With the rise of social media, many more individuals are jumping on the bandwagon of becoming a social media influencer.
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What is a social media influencer? In laymen terms, it’s basically individuals who have built knowledge or expertise on a specific topic, and are using social media channels to post about it. The ultimate goal of a social media influencer is to garner as many followers as they can and clinch lucrative marketing deals. Right now, there are more than 500,000 active influencers on Instagram which make up 39% of all Instagram accounts.
While it may seem that being a social media influencer means fame and fortune, there are several downsides to becoming an influencer.
You will get more emails and messages
Even without being an influencer, most of us are already spending a large amount of the workday both reading and answering emails. Unbeknownst to us, it takes some time to refocus on work again after checking an email. Hence, emails can be distractions that take up a huge chunk of time.
If you aren’t an influencer, the solution to these emails and messages are simple. All that needs to be done is turning off notifications, and scheduling time every hour to check emails. For influencers, however, this isn’t exactly a viable option since there’s a necessity to constantly be connected and respond within minutes. As an influencer, you’ll most likely be bombarded with a large number of emails and messages, and will need to figure out how to balance that with your everyday life.
Free vs Paid
Until you build up your following as an influencer, you’ll most likely be contacted for free promotions instead of paid ones. As a micro-influencer, you’ll likely have to accept these promotions as a way to build your following and improve your presence.
While you won’t be paid, most companies will compensate you in the form of a product instead. Perhaps you’ll get sent the product and will have to promote them in ways that fit their accounts, or in a way that will benefit your brand. Only by doing so, will you become much more widely recognized as an influential person. You’ll probably also need to do this for a while as it’s rare to become a macro influencer overnight.
People may try to steal your identity
Once you’ve become a relatively famous influencer, there’s a chance that individuals may try and steal your identity. This is a relatively widespread phenomenon and is hard to identify at first sight. By stealing identities, brands could be deceived and it could cost companies millions of dollars in investments.
With fake social media influencers, they’re great at building compelling profiles and appealing biographies while using high-quality visuals and hashtags. While there are fake influencers using your stolen identity, there’s also plenty of other things that can be done with compromised data. Financial accounts can be opened with your details, fake emails can be created, and sensitive data can be stolen for more sinister purposes.
It can be exhausting
Being a social media influencer isn’t all fun and games. As an influencer, there’s a responsibility to always have visually aesthetic images, respond to comments, and be on top of your game. With that, there’s also a chance that there may be shifts in your personality to keep up with this persona that you’ve created.
Insecurity is also a huge by-product of being a social media influencer as you’re painfully aware that a lot of your fame is due to the content that you’re producing on your social media accounts. Once the content stops, so does the fame. There’s also a lot of effort that goes into maintaining the content, and high-quality images can take a long time to produce.
There’s a lot more to becoming an influencer than embracing the glitz and glamor. Society tends to only showcase the benefits of being an influencer, and how you’ll be idolized by your followers, and earn a significant amount of money.
Behind all of this however, there’s a darker truth to becoming an influencer. From ensuring that your identity isn’t stolen, to time management, and balancing different aspects of your life, being an influencer may not be for everyone.