Misconceptions of Influencers

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There are so many articles circling around about influencers, some that are quite true and some that are just plain ridiculous. Understandably, influencer marketing is still quite a new area, as more people are turning their attention to influencers and away from the traditional forms of marketing and celebrity endorsements. Brands are catching onto this and are intrigued with how they can use it to their advertising advantages. Although influencers are becoming vital for social media marketing and are currently in the spotlight, it is still quite a blurred subject area.

I’ve been in the influencer industry for over a year now (even though I’ve had my Instagram and blog for years as a hobby) and I’ve learnt so much along the way whilst being a micro-influencer in the world of Instagram. I’ve definitely got a feel for how this industry works now, so let’s get to it and clear up some of these misunderstandings right here:

We do it for the freebies

No, it’s not all about the free products. Whilst it is a privilege to be able to receive products in exchange for social media coverage, a lot of thought and planning actually goes into our brand collaborations, from doing our research on the brand/product and weighing up whether they are a good fit for us, to all the photography, editing and scheduling we do – all whilst maintaining the authenticity of the message we’re trying to convey. For me, I would only consider working with a brand if I genuinely like their product and would buy it myself, and it aligns with my brand and values. So it’s not as simple as just receiving freebies and posting a picture of it. It’s a fine line we walk between getting the approval of brands and being true and respectful of our audience.

Ill-researched articles claiming that you only need as little as 1000 followers to make a living out of Instagram

I mean, if it were that simple, wouldn’t we all be doing it by now? It really undermines the amount of work and effort that we do to maintain our online platforms. Most influencers on Instagram would have started with a normal account like everyone else and managed to build their following over several years due to the content that they create. Many successful bloggers work for free for years, just doing it out of their love for blogging, before they could make it into a full-time career. I’d say you’d need at least 10k followers to even begin considering making a living out of it, but it really varies between person to person and your niche.

We get paid for every collaboration

In actual fact, unless you’re a large influencer with a million followers, the majority of collaborations we do are for free, usually in exchange for products. Free products do not pay the bills. So why do we do it? We do it out of our passion for blogging/photography, not because of any monetary incentive. I only got my first ‘big’ pay-out of £95 for a post when I hit 12k followers on Instagram, and that was a rare occasion. It is possible to get some paid collabs around £20-50 per post if you have around 2-5k followers, but only if you’re lucky as there are few opportunities like that around, and competition is high. Here is an article that outlines roughly what influencers charge on Instagram depending on their size, engagement rate and many other factors.

Some influencers are fake

Yes, that is sadly true. As the influencer industry continues to grow, it is becoming clear that many of us can make a living out of just being an influencer and see it as a dream job. But some will take the shady route and buy followers just to look influential and attract brands, which won’t last for very long as Instagram is cracking down on fake followers and engagement. Brands are also becoming more aware of how to spot fake influencers and there are now ways to analyse the activity of individuals on the platform to see if their activity looks genuine. This will hopefully help to clear the fog and bring some trust back into the industry.

We are a bunch of uneducated young people who just happen to use social media a lot

You’re very much mistaken. Many influencers are well educated, have studied a degree, and may have been a lawyer/banker/accountant/doctor/graphic designer before they saw the opportunity that being an influencer brings. So please don’t generalize and put us into a stereotype when you don’t know the full story. I was pleasantly surprised when I met a fellow Instagrammer at an event who revealed that she was a UCL graduate and ex-banker, as it just shows that anyone from any background or field can go into this. I could relate so much as it feels like we were given a new career opportunity through social media.

There are probably a lot more misconceptions out there about influencers, but I’ve just highlighted a few that came to mind! Let me know what you think and anything you’ve been dying to know about the influencer industry and I’ll try my best to address them! It is still a growing industry and I don’t have the answers to everything as I’m also constantly learning about it myself, but it is an exciting time to be in this new evolving industry!

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