The term “influencer” is a funny one. It’s polarising and in 2019 seems to come with a pretty hefty negative connotation.
It’s a term I’ve struggled with ever since I was given the label back in early 2014, just as the wonderful world of Instagram was about to explode.
Whether I’m at a party, on a first date or filling out an immigration card at the airport, the age-old question of “what do you do for a living?” always makes me cringe. I scrunch up my face and recoil in avoidance. Take a big breath and quickly search for another job title. Something that kind of sums up what I do, but is instantly more recognisable. Respected. Understood.
Nine times out of 10, however, I end up answering a million questions caused by my vague explanation for what I do for a buck and throw my hands up in surrender.
“I’m an influencer. I work with brands on social media, mainly Instagram. I get paid to promote their products or services or venues.”
Cue the “Oooh’s” and “Ahhh’s” about how cool my job is, how much fun it must be, how easy it sounds and how jealous they all are, stuck at their 9-5 desk jobs.
And don’t get me wrong; a lot of that is true. Influencers DO lead a very blessed life. We are very lucky to be able to do what we do for a living, getting paid to basically live our best lives and rub it in your faces via our feeds.
But it’s not all gifts and movie premieres. We’re not always eating for free or holidaying in the Maldives. It’s work. It’s our job.
Watch the trailer for Social Squad – Mamamia’s new podcast with Tully Smyth. Post continues after video.
Put simply, “influencers” are just businessmen and women – digital entrepreneurs if you will – who work for themselves, using their platform as a form of advertising and marketing.
Once upon a time, teenage girls would gaggle together and pour over a shared copy of Girlfriend Magazine to pick out which bikini they wanted that summer.