Why You Shouldn't Aim To Be An Influencer
I’ve been sitting on this draft for over a month, but I haven’t been willing to hit “publish.” Why?
Because, I guess, everyone wants to be an influencer. And who am I to tell them what not to do? I’m the type of person who does not do well when told what to do. I know better than to pretend I have any sway over how people live their lives. That’s because I’m emphatically NOT an influencer.
Are you an influencer?
When it comes down to it, though, we all have some form of influence. It just looks different than what we think. I don’t have affiliate links or discount codes, but that doesn’t meant that I don’t still “sell.” People may not ask me what nail polish I have on, but I do get asked about my eyelashes, or my shoes, or even about books. When I worked at an agency, I was asked about writing. I became an influencer in my own right, helping my coworkers write better emails so a client wouldn’t get mad, or crafting Instagram captions that were more charming and fun.
You Give Influence a Bad Name
Then why am I saying not to be an influencer? Well, because to me there’s a difference between trying to help and trying to sell. We all influence when we want to go out to eat to a certain place and have to convince our family that Thai really is the best option. But Influencers get a bad rap because they don’t seem to influence for good. How many people do you follow on Instagram who seem to never wear the same outfit twice? Who features collaborations more and more, but the products don’t seem like something they’d actually use? Whose captions just talk about finding good lighting? Or whose captions seem copied and pasted from a marketing agency’s requirements?
The truth is, I actually don’t mind if you’re making money from making suggestions. I’ve bought so many things I’ve heard about from people I only know online. And, because they introduced me to the product, I do believe they should benefit from that. But, it’s when you’re selling anything you can, that I can’t stand. And it’s so strange how quickly we pick up on an inauthentic suggestion. Though we don’t know these people, we know them well enough that they probably don’t really use that entire skincare line.
I’ve been culling my feed lately, and it’s a breath of fresh air. I don’t miss those gorgeous women selling me cheap swimsuits or teeth bleaching kits (though I do wonder if they really work). I’m trying to find more authentic influencers to follow. And because these people have a specific viewpoint, I actually care more about what they have to say.
At a certain point, you could be an amazing person in real life, but superficial for the ‘gram. And that’s not what I’m interested in.