collage of influencer photos

They’re everywhere. They always seem to look flawless, even if they insist that there’s #nofilter or FaceTune. They’re on the beach at a very chic resort-on-stilts in Polynesia, getting paid to be on vacation. They walk down trendy streets while narrating and photographing their day to day activities—from the seemingly banal to the extravagant to the absurd—in live vlogs (that’s “video logs” to you). Pretty soon, there will need to be a No Vlogging And Walking law; I’m telling you! It’s unsafe!

These are Influencers. They are not like us.

For those who aren’t on social media, an influencer is a person who has the power to affect purchase decisions of potential consumers because of their authority or unique relationship to their audience. This person usually has a particular following or niche market that could be lucrative to a brand or company partner. They leverage their relationships on social media rather than through old school marketing tactics, speaking directly to their audience, and often in dialogue. Think Kim Kardashian, the Original Influencer, who has leveraged her social media audience of nearly 150 million people to launch all kinds of consumer products—from makeup to perfume to shapewear.

“it’s fun to show your influence sometimes”

Now not every influencer is as mighty as the Kardashian sisters, but they have real credibility in their relative spaces.

Influencer marketing works because audiences sincerely trust the influencers. Even if these people are getting paid to promote certain products through sponsorships and brand partnerships or ambassador programs, the vulnerability they’ve given us through their makeup-free selfies makes us feel like they’re our close friend. And if a close friend, who has earned your trust, recommends you buy something….chances are that you at least want to buy it.

Is becoming an Influencer as fun and easy as it looks? Or is it too good to be true?

Phones eat first

Some cons to the job are that it really is 24/7/365. In order to keep up with the Kardashians, or at least to try, you really have to be dedicated to the sport. Constant content is required to maintain the attention of an audience, and to cut through the noise. That all-expense-paid vacation, though it looks glamorous, involves a lot of working hours: multiple photoshoots, content production, blogs, vlogs, and close contact with all sponsors throughout the experience. Once I pull back the curtain, it feels a lot more like…work.

And yet, the concept of the Influencer is far from a new idea. While only a select few are Influencers with a capital I, I believe we are all always wearing the hats of “influencer” and “the influenced.” When you bring awareness into how you are influencing others and being influenced by others all day long, both on and offline, it’s truly fascinating. Who in your life do you trust when it comes to making a purchasing decision, large or small? Who do you look to speak to what’s on-trend, or for who to hire? And why them?

So the next time you’re scrolling through your feed or going through your day, notice who lives in your sphere of influence. And likewise, who you affect in turn. While we all don’t want or need to be vloggers, it’s fun to show your influence sometimes.

Julie Talenfeld
President
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