If you’re wondering whether being an influencer is a real job, you’re in the right place. Today I’m breaking down all the skills and work that goes into being an influencer (because yes — it is a real job!).
Yeah…but being an influencer isn’t a ‘real’ job right?
That’s what I thought when I started @candaceabroad.
Inspired by all the travel influencers I’d followed for years — in 2020 I decided it was time to give my shot at being an influencer. What I didn’t know what the insane amount of work that goes into what let’s admit it, can look pretty easy from the outside.
I hold a bachelor’s in health studies, have an MBA and worked in digital marketing for 5+ years. I’ve had more jobs than I can count since moving to London, yet being an influencer is the most fulfilling and rewarding career I’ve ever had.
It’s also incredibly challenging and continually pushes me to learn skills that are insanely valuable in and outside of being an influencer. But first, let’s break it down:
What is an Influencer?
According to Merriam Webster an influencer is “one who exerts influence: a person who inspires or guides the actions of others“.
The Oxford Dictonary also defines an influencer as “a person or thing that influences somebody/something, especially a person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by recommending it on social media.”
In my case, I’m a London & travel blogger. In general, I “influence” people to explore London, travel across the UK & Europe, move abroad and perhaps become influencers themselves. When I’m doing a brand partnership I’ll most likely be promoting a product or service that influences my audience in the same way.
Is Being an Influencer a Real Job?
If you’re wondering whether being an influencer is a real job, let’s first look at the definition of a job.
According to Merriam Webster a job is:
• the work that a person does regularly in order to earn money
• a duty, task, or function that someone or something has
• something that requires very great effort
Being an influencer (if it’s not just a hobby):
• is work the influencer does regularly in order to earn payment, whether that be through brand partnerships, ad revenue, affiliate links, digital products or consulting, to name a few
• is work that requires an immense amount of duty, tasks and functions
• is something that requires very great effort, you’re building an entire brand from scratch!
Honestly when people ask “Is being an influencer a real job?” I know what they’re really thinking…
“Don’t you just sit around and take pictures of yourself all day?”
I wish! Being an influencer is a real job because it requires real skills. Here are a few of them.
Skills of Being an Influencer
To be an influencer means you are constantly creating content, which includes writing copious amounts of copy.
Whether it’s writing in-depth blog posts, engaging Instagram captions or persuading emails you are constantly marketing yourself through the power of words.
In the visual age, every influencer has to have photography be a part of their brand in some capacity.
Learning how to shoot and edit photography that captivates takes time, skill and effort.
Over the years short-form video content has become incredibly popular on social media, and influencers have had to adapt.
Between editing Instagram reels, Tik Tok’s and/or Youtube videos learning how to edit is an integral part of being an influencer (P.S – I edit all my short-form videos with InShot, it’s great).
Not only do you have to script and edit all of your content as an influencer, but you also need to know how to perform in front of a camera.
This includes not only being comfortable being on camera but being able to communicate in a way that is engaging, authentic and keeps your audience’s attention in a sea of content.
To be an influencer is to be an expert communicator.
Constantly listening and engaging with their audience is key to an influencer’s success. Not to mention maintaining business communications with brands throughout the campaign process to meet deliverables and deadlines.
In traditional terms, a creative director is in charge of producing and overseeing all assets for advertisements, products, campaigns etc.
Being an influencer requires you to be the Creative Director of your brand from the very beginning as well as execute consistently to turn your creativity into tangible creative assets for your social channels.
When influencers’ are completing a brand partnership they’re responsible for planning, organizing, negotiating and communicating all that’s needed to execute a successful campaign on time and on budget. This is project management.
I actually plan to take Google’s Project Management course this year to apply it to managing my projects as an influencer.
Social Media Strategist
Outside of managing their social media accounts influencers must also be their own social media strategist.
This includes planning, developing and implementing content across their social channels to build their brand.
Responding to DM’s, comments and emails is a full-time job within itself.
Influencers are consistently having to manage their community, act on feedback from their followers and constantly be in communication will those who support their brand.
A big part of content creation is figuring out what works best with your audience to replicate similar content for the future.
Analyzing all the data from your brand whether that be Instagram analytics or Google Search Console is a vital part of being an influencer.
If you’re an influencer working with brands, negotiations become second nature.
Influencers must constantly assert their worth for their services and reach a win-win with their clients when it comes to creating campaigns.
After a campaign is completed the influencer must then step into the role of an accountant.
Cue sending invoices, managing your business expenses and of course, paying taxes.
SEO plays a key role in any online business, and it’s no different for an influencer.
Whether it’s managing your blog, Pinterest or creating a hashtag strategy knowing how to optimize for search is an important skill for any influencer.
Newsletters are the ultimate way to communicate with your audience.
For influencers who want to build their community outside of social channels, email marketing is a must and can include everything from creating lead magnets to automating welcome sequences.
In business and in life networking is key to your professional success.
Liaising with brands, PR agencies and other content creators requires constant networking skills from the influencer.
So…Being a Social Media Influencer IS a Career?
And there you have it! If you couldn’t tell by now being an influencer is a real job that requires many of the same skills you’d be paid for in a more traditional career path (for example, digital marketing).
And to my fellow influencers, please keep on doing you! The influencer marketing industry is a nearly 14 billion dollar industry, the skills you have and value you provide to your community matters, whether everyone can see it or not 🙂
If you liked this post let me know in the DM’s at @candaceabroad. I’m also launching a newsletter on January 1st exclusively for content creators, so be sure to sign up here! And if you want help setting your influencer and blogging goals for 2022 be sure to book a social media consultation.