In today’s social media age, influencers are a dime a dozen. So many are attracted to the influencer life, perhaps because of the potential wealth that may come with it. Some are drawn to the “high-profile” celebrity life of top YouTubers, Instagrammers, and TikTokers, while others witness the power and influence they wield.
Others see it as an easy way out of the traditionally tedious climb to the top of the corporate ladder. After all, it can seem like such a no-brainer, with many content creators looking like they’re living their best lives with a little bit of hard work. But before you invest your precious time and energy, wisen up by reading this article. You may discover that the challenges of becoming an influencer may not exactly be for you.
What is an influencer?
An influencer is someone prolific and active on social media who has developed a significant following. They possess the credibility to influence the thoughts and behaviors of their fanbase. This enables them to partner with brands to drive awareness or promote their products or services. An influencer may be a celebrity or an authority in his field. They can be any content creator, such as a blogger or vlogger with a wide reach and a relationship with their followers.
Characteristics of an influencer
Is it hard to be an influencer? If you’re wondering if you have what it takes to be one, then it may be a good idea to learn the typical traits that influencers have, which include the following:
1. They are creative.
Influencers need to stand out among the zillions of aspiring creators who want to rise to the top of the game. Thus, they have to think out of the box, consistently providing unique content that will draw the attention of netizens and make them want to interact with or follow the influencer.
2. They are trustworthy.
Without credibility, influencers stand the chance of a snowball in hell to compete with other industry players. Their trustworthiness makes their followers believe what they say and encourages them to accept their influencer’s recommendations, be it a product, a lifestyle, or a way of thinking.
3. They are skilled and disciplined.
Being an influencer doesn’t require a degree in data science. However, they must be sufficiently knowledgeable about navigating (or hiring individuals to do just that!) the different social media platforms and maximizing their various features in content creation. They also have to hone various hard skills (if they don’t have these yet), including writing and taking high-quality photos.
4. They are sociable.
Being an influencer involves managing your relationship with your followers. This entails a level of authenticity, regularly interacting with their followers online, answering questions, or even replying to DMs. If you think doing these will be a chore, you may not be cut out for the influencer life.
5. They are passionate about excellence.
One of the challenges of becoming an influencer is to keep informed about the hottest trends in the industry to ensure their content stays relevant to their audience. This takes researching, strategizing, and planning, even marketing. Thus, the influencer must love their influencer dream enough to invest all the sweat and tears.
10 Challenges Of Becoming An Influencer
So, is being a social media influencer worth it? Below are top ten challenges of becoming an influencer that may make you think twice, even thrice, about being an influencer. If you don’t think you can deal with any of these, it’s possible that you’re not cut out for the job.
1. You may experience trolls or bashers.
If you’re onion-skinned, being an influencer may not be the best thing for your psychological and mental health. As a public personality who shares their life stories with every Tom, Dick, and Jane who logs onto their computers, they are easy targets for rude, despicable individuals who delight in criticizing others. Even your followers can turn on you if you say or do anything that displeases them.
2. You may lose your privacy.
Being an influencer means you have a public figure status. This means that people may recognize you wherever you go, whether on a date or doing your daily errands. Of course, some may look past you, but some may approach you and ask for a picture or autograph. While this can be an exciting prospect, over time, this can wear you out, especially when you’re not in the mood to be convivial.
At the same time, your life can also become fodder for the rumor mill, something that can become quite uncomfortable and depressing, especially when you’re going through an unpleasant experience like a divorce. As a result, some top influencers warn against making your content revolve around your personal life.
3. You can quickly lose popularity faster than you’ve gained it.
Actors are said to be only as good as their last film. One can apply this saying to influencers who can quickly lose relevance among their fans when the next “it” internet personality comes along. Thus, they must ensure that they maintain the relevance of their posts and keep their content exciting and captivating.
4. You will need lots of patience.
Most influencers didn’t get to where they are overnight. It takes time to build a significant and loyal following. Some influencers even took many years to attain the status where a single post of theirs can easily go viral. So if a couple of months is the equivalent of forever to you, you may be looking in the wrong direction.
5. You won’t earn immediately.
The typical influencer usually starts at the bottom (unless you’re a Kardashian). At this level, small, unknown brands may show interest in you. And when you do land a partnership with them, expect to receive freebies and ex-deals instead of cash. It may take a while before you can see your efforts pay off in actual monetary payments (and in substantial ones at that). So, keep your day job in the meantime as you work on your influencer hustle.
6. You can’t just wing it.
Many think that being an influencer just requires a bit of creativity, confidence, and charm. While those things come in handy, they won’t be worth a thing if they don’t come with preparation, perseverance, strategic thinking, and the willingness to work hard with all your heart, mind, and body. Otherwise, how can you outpace and outwit the throngs keen on overcoming the challenges of becoming an influencer and coming out on top?
7. You might not want the pressure.
When you finally become successful, another one of the challenges of becoming an influencer is staying in the game. Thus, you’ll need to face the pressure of constantly uploading quality content, sometimes multiple times a day. There’s also the challenge of maintaining and increasing your number of followers and chasing after more subscriptions and likes. Being an influencer can easily involve experiencing burnout at some point if you don’t take care of your mental health.
8. Stalkers may find you.
Since you’re all over social media, it’s easy for your followers to be aware of your every move. And this should be good, right? Not necessarily. You may receive unwanted attention from undesirable individuals, such as stalkers. They can have a range of motives, from inflicting sexual abuse or violence to wanting an intimate relationship. Unfortunately, digital technology makes stalking an easy sport nowadays.
9. Scammers can target you.
Like stalkers, scammers can easily find influencers to target online. Unfortunately, even if you don’t fall prey to their evil schemes, people you know may not be as lucky. These scammers deceive people into thinking they’re you and can appear very convincing. The usual scam is to borrow money from your friends, family, or followers, who lose a pretty penny. Other influencers get conned through phishing scams where they receive emails warning of copyright infringement or offering profile verification. Once they obtain the necessary info, the cybercriminals can hack into the influencer’s social media accounts and hijack or ask for a ransom in exchange for returning them.
10. You may experience loneliness.
You have to remember that a huge part of an influencer’s life takes place online. And this is no substitute for physical human interaction. Thus, it can be a lonely life for creators who are constantly in front of their computers producing newer and more content.
Qualities of a good influencer
If you didn’t get intimidated by the challenges of becoming an influencer mentioned above, then read on and find out if you’ve got what it takes to become a good influencer.
1. They’re consistent.
A good influencer keeps a regular posting schedule to stay visible and maintain the interest of her followers. Their content is also focused. For instance, a consistent influencer who creates posts about natural healthy living won’t randomly post a pic of fatty ships and sugary drinks.
2. They’re innovative.
They’re not afraid to try something new if it means better, more interesting, relevant content that their followers can appreciate or learn from.
3. They’re knowledgeable.
They know the ins and outs of the industry, so they’re on the constant lookout for trends and updates in the field of influencer marketing. They also conduct their fair share of research to ensure that their facts are always correct.
4. They’re interactive.
Successful influencers have a high level of engagement with their followers, consistently interacting with them and finding more about their needs and wants. This helps them tailor their content to satisfy their followers.
5. They’re strategic.
They plan to stay long in the game. Thus, they’re likely to be more interested in long-term partnerships that can give them more value for their time and effort compared to one-shot deals.
Frequently asked questions
1. What are the cons of being a social media influencer?
One of the disadvantages of being an influencer is that success doesn’t come overnight. You may have to invest considerable resources to become one. Social media influencers are also not for the faint of heart; you must brave criticism, even undeserved ones. Another downside is that virtual life can be lonely, so you’ll need to protect your mental health.
2. Why do people quit being an influencer?
Some people quit their dreams of being an influencer because they have bills to pay but are not earning substantially. Others experience cyberbullying, which makes them decide that being an influencer is not worth their psychological well-being. And still, some forget their ambition of being an influencer because they don’t have the patience and perseverance to follow through.
3. How much does it cost to be an influencer?
Being an influencer involves spending on tools such as these one-time investments:
- A smartphone (doesn’t have to be the fanciest in the market; $300-$500 for flagship phones)
- A DSLR camera (if you intend to do ad campaigns; $400)
- Vlog camera (if you’re a YouTuber; $800 to $6,000)
- Studio setup (ring light, tripods, etc.; You can choose from free to budget to professional)
Monthly investments include:
- Photoshop app ($20.99 as a standalone app)
- Influencer marketing tools (from $12.75 to $8,000)
- Accounting software (free from Freshbooks, or you can get the premium version at $50/ month)
You may also opt to hire the services of these professionals so you can focus on content creation:
- Photographer (depends on frequency and nature of shoot)
- Video editor (depends on the complexity of the project)
- Graphic designer (depends on the complexity of the project)
- Web developer ($299/month)
- SEO (From $99 a month)
As you can see, there’s no one computation to ascertain the cost of becoming an influencer. It depends on what tools you already have, your skills (perhaps you only have to hire one or two professional services if you’re already skilled in other areas), and what you need and want to do. It can be as inexpensive as just investing in second-hand gadgets and maximizing skills you already possess or as costly as hiring a truckload of professionals as you focus solely on creating content.
4. What are some examples of unethical influencer marketing?
Examples of unethical influencer marketing examples are the following:
- Click baiting – Influencers create exaggerated titles that do not reflect the actual content.
- Non-disclosure – Influencers may not disclose negative things about the products they endorse (such as side effects of supplements, etc.)
- Giving reviews without actually experiencing the product or service
- Spreading fake news
- Immoral messages that can bring harm to others
Being an influencer is not the walk in the park that many imagine it to be. In fact, the typical road to being an influencer is fraught with struggles. After reading about the challenges of becoming an influencer, has your determination to become an influencer waned, or has it become all fired up? In either case, do your due diligence to ensure you’re moving in the right direction.