The year 2020 has been something else and more than ever I’m seeing all kinds of assumptions being made about influencers at this time. I’ve even gotten a few questions about it from followers, viewers and subscribers of my social media platforms. So I’m here to be the voice of what’s fact and what’s fiction. This post is all in good fun and of course I don’t represent all influencers in the world. I can only answer these assumptions from my own perspective. I’m not sure when the word influencer became such a word people use with distain but in some form or another we’ve all influenced in our lives. Whether that’s buying something and a friend loving it and asking where we got it, to sharing our Yelp reviews with the world on our favorite or least favorite restaurants, we’ve all influenced and we’ve all been influenced. I was a blogger before I was ever an influencer (this term didn’t exist in 2010) and influence just something that comes with having people who trust your opinions and your recommendations. In any case, I get asked the most about being an influencer, my exact procedures for content creation and exactly how I make a living from it. I’ve written a number of Ebooks on the subject that you can check out here on my Etsy Shop and more recently I launched my Teachable School: The Business of Blogging, where I teach entrepreneurs to level up in the world of social media with video courses. My first course just dropped and it’s How to Clone Yourself in Photos with 1 App (no photoshop needed). This one skill helped me gain over 5K followers on Instagram and helped me negotiate a higher rate for 2 brand campaigns that specifically asked for cloned photos on Instagram for our collaborations. Make sure to enroll in my school to stay up with all the new courses I’ll be dropping monthly. Now lets get to the 5 assumptions about influencers in 2020
INFLUENCERS ARE BELOVED AND EVERYONE WANTS TO BE ONE
For those who aren’t really in this content creation and influencer world you probably don’t have a clue how influencers are perceived by the rest of the world. The general consensus is that influencers are horrible self-obsessed human beings that will promote anything to get a check. Just head to BOF instagram and check out the comments on any article they post featuring the word Influencer. Y’all people are BIG mad with influencers and I’m 100% sure it’s because we are getting paid to do/post the same things lots of people post for free. People who don’t create content don’t really understand the work that goes into it. It’s looks like a glamorous life and it certainly can be but that doesn’t mean it isn’t hard work. Influencers are keenly aware of the perception about us. We just don’t care what people think and aren’t going to let that stop us from A. Living our dreams and B. Securing the bag. Lot’s of people who share a collective distain for influencers thought that a global pandemic would be the end to influencers….but it actually had the totally opposite effect. Which brings me to my next assumption…
INFLUENCERS ARE GOING TO DISAPPEAR
Sorry, no. We aren’t going anywhere and why would you want us to? As a fashion focused content creator, I’m grateful for influencers, bloggers and content creators. Why you ask?…because fashion is slowly becoming more inclusive! There was a time when only the people who went to a fashion show would know what would be hitting the streets 6 months later. And most of those people were white. Bloggers fought their way into the shows to bring that fashion to their audiences. Now all the shows are streamed for everyone to see, not just the fashion elite. For me it’s about being seen in places/spaces and working with brands that you don’t typically see people who look like me working with. No it’s not curing cancer but it’s a start when it comes to diversity and inclusion. In addition to that the standardized way of marketing has died, especially during this pandemic. If you don’t have some form or digital marketing your business is most definitely suffering right now. Using influencer marketing has become mainstream and most larger brands and established companies have allotted budgets for it. Even more so now that traditional marketing doesn’t work because of regulations against large groups (for shooting campaigns and marketing meetings) and because everyone who isn’t essential is at home. Like it or not influencers aren’t going anywhere. So if you are one of those people who hate all influencers remember it’s the same as watching a commercial on TV or looking at an ad in a magazine and you don’t complain about that…so…get on board.
FULL TIME INFLUENCERS DON’T ACTUALLY MAKE ANY MONEY
This is probably the biggest assumptions I’ve seen. I think I went full-time when I had under 30K followers and even before that with just blogging and influencing on the side 15-20 hours a week I was making an extra 30-40K a year. In my first year of full time content creating I made 50K more than I did as a Senior Doctor of Physical Therapy who was the Director of 2 private practices. Influencers are replacing the traditional method of marketing because we do it all. We do the hair, the makeup, we scout the location, we shoot the content, edit the content and post the content. We then promote the content and drive traffic to brands or provide exposure for brands. We are a whole marketing team wrapped up in one person who brands can pay a lot less to do all that work they’d traditionally pay their marketing team. And I mean hundreds of thousands of dollars less. Many people laughed when this pandemic happened saying influencers would die out and have no work opportunities. This is completely false. If anything, I’ve noticed that I’ve almost tripled my income during this time. Marketing is one of the places where some businesses can afford to spend money being that other nonessential expenses have been cut. Almost every person I know in this industry has seen a surge of increased brand campaigns and increased pay especially amongst Black influencers. I also don’t personally know any full time influencers who make less than 100K a year. I was definitely nervous that I wouldn’t have work but I’m blessed things worked out in my favor. It’s tough being a freelancer in this kind of economy.
FASHION INFLUENCERS MAKE THE MOST MONEY
It seems that when it comes to bloggers and influencers, everyone covets the fashion blogger but it’s actually the niche of blogging and influencing that pays the least. There’s hardly any money in fashion when it comes to brand campaigns. Thus the best influencer is one who is well rounded. The lifestyle blogger is now what every influencer aims for because that encompasses everything including fashion, beauty, health, food, hair and more. Basically all of the influencer niches fall under lifestyle. Currently the most well paid influencers are those in beauty specifically makeup and hair. Makeup and hair brands have huge budgets when it comes to influencer marketing. Next up is lifestyle brands from spirits and wines to home goods and the like. The mommy bloggers and mommy influencers fall heavily into this category. Fashion is some where close to last on the list. Thus in order for a fashion influencer to do it full time it’s almost a necessity to be well rounded instead of being extremely niche. This is also why influencers often have multiple sources of income ranging from brand campaigns, to affiliate sales (if you don’t know what this means check out this eBook), to creating their own physical products to sell like magazines, accessories or eBooks and more. If one stream of income is lacking hopefully another stream will take up the slack. During a time like this, the more streams of income the better for more security.
INFLUENCERS WITH MORE FOLLOWERS MAKE MORE MONEY
Yes and no. I know a few influencers with a lot more followers than me who aren’t making as much money. There are different types of influencers as well. Not all of them are trying to sell something. Some are simply just showing their life and people enjoy seeing it or aspiring to that lifestyle. Some do it purely as a money making stream, most of which have businesses where they are either teaching you to become an influencer or selling a product they have created. Some are just in it for fun and then there’s influencers like me who do a little bit of all of the above. This is why brands are looking more at engagement now instead of follower count when it comes to getting people interested in their brand or product. I’m pretty sure I can out sell anyone with triple my following. It all comes down to your audience. But I can say that when brands come to influencers with larger followers they definitely start higher with their offers because they assume they will get that return on their investment.
FAME IS THE END GAME FOR INFLUENCERS
I’m sure a lot of people get into influencing for the fame or the free stuff. There is a market for stunting on the gram and not actually caring about the people who invest in you or your content. But I’ve found that for 95% of influencers this is not the case. Most of us have been creating content since before influencing was a thing. For many of us it’s a passion or a hobby we loved that just kind of morphed into actually being able to be a full time job and career. People ask me all the time what my end game is as if just doing what I’m doing now isn’t enough because being an influencing still isn’t considered a viable career by most people. I’m here to tell you all, I am currently living the end game. I’m not doing this to try to eventually be a magazine editor or to eventually start my own business. I am already an editor and I am my own brand and business. I am my own boss and this is the end game. Fame is most definitely not something I actually want, it just comes with the territory and that’s fine but I also know that the more I put myself out there the more cautious I have to be and the more things I need to hold close to my chest. Everyone isn’t out to support my every endeavor and every human is not intrinsically good. I’ve actually found that I’m having more conversations with my fellow influencers on how to maintain some sense of privacy and boundaries as your social media following grows. I’d rather be wealthy than famous any day of the week. Oh and the free stuff is nice, but if I don’t actually want it or need it, I turn down gifts every day.
GET THE LOOK
If it’s your dream to start a blog, a YouTube or to become a content creator or influencer, the time is now. Take advantage of the fact that everyone is online and brands are spending more for influencer marketing than they ever have previously. Check out this post for Everything You Need to Know Before Starting a YouTube Channel in 2020 along with this blog post on my 3 Tips for Growing Your Instagram Even In Isolation. Don’t forget to check out my Etsy shop for eBooks on How to Pitch To Brands, How To Figure Out What To Charge for Campaigns, How to Make Money with RewardStyle and more. Then head on over and enroll in my teachable school: The Business of Blogging for all my online video courses that teach you everything to level up your presence on social media. For more blog posts about blogging, balancing blogging and a full time job and more check out the Blogging Category here on my blog for over 20 blog posts!