What does Strictly’s Joe Suggs do for a real job?
Social media influencer career paths
What is an Influencer?
An influencer is a person who influences the buying choices other people make. They are usually able to do this either because they are in a position of authority, well-known and respected or merely based on their relationship to their audience and their popularity. Unfortunately in an image-conscious society, ruled by social media, these people don’t always have authority or knowledge, but are rather seen as ‘idols’.
Influencers are therefore people that have a big following (on social media specifically) and are able to influence the purchasing choices these people make. Obviously, there are many areas in which a person can be an influencer.
Fame as a result
Joe Suggs, for example, started off as a YouTuber and vlogger and currently has a YouTube following of 8.2 million subscribers as of December 2018. He, therefore, has a great reach as some of his YouTube videos get millions of views and many of those subscribers want to be just like Joe.
It is very difficult to define who influencers are or predict who will become an influencer as this is very dependent on the consumer market. It is however no longer a prerequisite to being a pop star, actor, model or celebrity, but can actually be the only claim to fame.
Kim Kardashian can probably be seen as one of the biggest if not the biggest influencer or our era. With a reported following of more than 200 million people across her social media platforms. She has definitely cashed in on her popularity.
However, you don’t have to be a celebrity to be an influencer and regular people are getting big followings on their social media platforms, enabling them to influence the purchase choices of large groups of people.
Wikipedia explains that influencer marketing, in a commercial context, comprises four main activities:
- Identify influencers, rank them in order of importance.
- Market to influencers, to increase awareness within the influencer community.
- Marketing through influencers, using influencers to increase market awareness amongst target markets.
- Market with influencers, turning influencers into advocates of the firm.
There are however many success stories to read about unlikely influencers on Instagram, YouTube etc creating an ’empire’ for themselves.
So what does a day in the life of an Influencer look like?
Making a living (and a very good one at that) from merely being popular is quite a new concept. Pop stars and other celebrities have been doing this as a part of their celebrity, however, more and more ‘regular’ people are very successful. Most of this is achieved by being active and engaging with your audience on social media. Posting often. Responding to comments. Starting conversations. Making silly/funny/endearing videos. Posting an ‘inside view’ in your life seems to be the approach many of these influencers use.
There is there no average day in the life of an influencer. It would be greatly dependent on the image the influencer wants to portray. What their niche is. Also, what their content strategy and approach is. Mostly, however, it is filled with videos, pictures, tags, comments and likes etc. However glamorous it may seem, there is a huge price to this lifestyle for many, as portrayed by Katherine Ormerod in her book and article in the Sunday Times.
Skills and responsibilities
To be an influencer you will have to be good at the following:
- Communication skills and reasoning skills- engage people through communication, whether video or writing posts. Be able to think logically and analyse problems finding appropriate solutions for them.
- Assertiveness and using authority – asserting your opinion so that your following is clear as to what you like and don’t like and convincing to follow you.
- Interpersonal skills – building rapport and trust. Being friendly and engaging.
- Interaction – building consensus and convincing people to help you influence others.
There are no specific qualifications for an influencer. Some experience or knowledge of Social Media platforms, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and content strategy would be very helpful. Forbes provides us with 10 tips on success as an Influencer.
There is no specific salary expectation as this is such a varied field. As it is not really a salaried career, the more popular you become (on social media), the higher your income expectations are.
With claims of Kim Kardashian earning $500 000 for an Instagram post in 2015, it seems like the sky is the limit.
lso, keep an eye on our STEM career guides page for a more detailed look at different top jobs in the UK.
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