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Are you an influencer or looking to become one? At first glance, it seems like a glamorous life. When done properly, influencer marketing looks effortless: You take pictures, get likes and receive product and payment. Influencer marketing can be a life involving lots of travel, freebies and the satisfaction of building your own brand, but the learning curve is steep, and the personal expense isn’t always something people consider.
Have you ever met an influencer who got his or her start on YouTube? A few years ago, things changed dramatically concerning video compensation. In addition to stricter rules, the algorithm went haywire and influencers started making less. Yes, it is possible to have tens of thousands of subscribers and not make much on YouTube, which is why many influencers get sponsorships.
One way to cope with algorithm anxiety is to develop multiple revenue streams for your brand as often as possible. Instead of working only with brands on your social-media platforms, consider developing your own online community, based on your own website or in your own Facebook group. Encourage discussion and repeat visits. You should also embrace newer, more popular platforms like TikTok. If possible, create your own products and merchandise, and sell them on multiple platforms.
Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box: What online presence is a compatible, niche fit, but not on a social-media site?
Other smart moves to consider include partnering with other influencers for audience overlap; building a solid email list to reach fans directly without the social-media middleman; and reaching out to the media to secure spots on podcasts, webinars and TV shows.
Affiliate marketing is also worthwhile, and if you can draw your fans to your website, you can harness its power. It’s as simple as starting with Amazon’s affiliate program, and now they even have a special program for influencers.
Self-worth or metrics?
As an influencer, it’s hard to avoid tying your self-worth to the performance (and revenue) of your social-media channels, blogs and other online spaces. Your community members are there, after all, because they like you — so if the numbers go down, what does that mean?
Part of being an influencer means taking time to find your self-worth in other places. You can accomplish this in several ways, which include enjoying other hobbies that aren’t tied to your online presence or popularity or spending time with family and friends without documenting every moment. Explore self-care; consider your other roles and values.
Online influencers are the subjects of scrutiny and obsession. Say the wrong thing and you’ll get “canceled.” Break up with another influencer, and people will take sides. Don’t look attractive enough, and people will criticize your appearance. Look attractive, and you’ll get stalkers and scammers galore.
There are steps you can take to protect yourself: Always set two-factor authentication on your social-media and website logins, use a secure password storage system such as LastPass and provide only general location information — instead of saying you live in a specific neighborhood, refer to your larger city or metropolitan area only, and if you’re streaming, make sure you don’t have identifiable street signs behind you.
You can also consider using a nickname. Some of the most successful influencers are known primarily by their nicknames or handles, especially on streaming sites such as Twitch.
Learning basic SEO (search-engine optimization) is another way to control your online reputation. When people look up your name, what do they find on Google? You can create the results you want them to see; all it takes is a bit of SEO knowledge and your own website.
When your body breaks down
Being an influencer, in case you haven’t noticed, is exceptionally stressful. Stress can make you more susceptible to the latest cold or flu as well as persistent, even chronic, illnesses. Eventually, you’ll do too much (especially if you appear at events or travel frequently), and your body will break down.
You can minimize the impact of a body break down (or another related emergency) in a few ways.
Include an illness clause in your contracts, and make sure you can make alternate arrangements with any brands you represent if you need to be absent for a while. Always be communicative about your situation as well, especially if you’re working actively with brands. Even if your audience expects you online regularly, you should feel free to take a sick day just like any other employed person should.
You should also establish a savings account since most influencers aren’t salaried. If you’re out for a week, you lose that week of income. Sweat that situation less by creating and maintaining a savings account.
By keeping these tips in mind, you can make sure your career as an influencer is happy, healthy and successful — opening doors to you as you continue to grow your brand.