Social influencers are the big thing with the younger generation today. Everyone wants to make it big for “just existing” and get amazing opportunities to go to music festivals, concerts, sports games, and travel the world eating the best food and staying at the best lodgings. What most people don’t realize is that it takes a lot of work. What they really don’t realize is that it takes a lot of school to be a great influencer.
I hear high schoolers and even middle schoolers make comments about how they “don’t need school” because they just want to make it big as the next big Instagram influencer or YouTube sensation. I seriously just have to laugh at them, not because their dreams are ridiculous, but because SCHOOL is how you become one of those individuals.
First and foremost, I am never claiming to be an influencer. I do believe that, if I so chose, I could be quite successful as an influencer but it’s not where my heart lies. I do enjoy working in partnerships with companies, helping to create content for a variety of compensation whether it be in tickets, products and, my favorite, good old money.
I was recently approached to blog for a national company in trade for product and monetary compensation. It wasn’t necessarily an “influencer opportunity,” and had more to do with trading my talents and my skills for their product and pay.
Something that their marketing team told me that I found extremely interesting and that really sat with me was, “It’s impossible to find an influencer that can string two sentences together.”
I know this was said off hand and is more of an exaggeration than anything but, in the months following that comment I started looking. At first, I was proving them wrong. My favorite fashion and lifestyle influencers were well written and well spoken, nothing like what they had said. That’s when I realized that I was looking at the wrong market. I was looking at those who had “made it” as influencers. I started to look into the depths at the up and coming influencers, those who desperately wanted to be an influencer, and that’s when I began to see it. Bad grammar, illiteracy, poor public speaking, lack of respect and so much more.
More than that, I realized that the basic essence that we are taught in school is what allows us to navigate through society and is also what allows us to become an entrepreneur of an influencer on social media. I have detailed out some of the classes, as many students prepare to head back to school, that you need to pay extra attention too while class is in session in order to have more success as an influencer.
If you aren’t paying attention in math class, than you aren’t going to be able to pay attention to the algorithms of social media. You can simply wait for the updated list or latest blog on what the algorithm might be, but I spend a lot of time personally watching the algorithm work on a variety of social media sites every single week and, in some cases, twice a week. This allows me to keep my pulse on the ever-changing beast but, more importantly, gives me a hands on understanding of what is happening, allowing me an educated opinion when discussing with peers.
A big part of the algorithm is efficiency ratings and understanding what your growth and engagement is. If you aren’t sure how to create a percentage, how to navigate a percentage or what it means within the algorithm, you might as well not even try to be an influencer.
I remember, quite distinctly, back when I was in grade school and we would have these reading books that we were required to write 1-3 captions on the side about our thoughts as we read through each page. I remember how I felt so silly, coming up with unique and random comments on the same paragraph multiple times. Fast forward almost a decade, building up an Instagram account for a client, I found myself navigating to a hashtag that dealt with my client… and then articulating commentary and engagement on each of the posts under that hashtag. It was much easier than what I remembered in grade school, much more relevant, BUT, what I couldn’t help but realize, I was doing the SAME thing!
It’s a common stat, reiterated at any public speaking course, that more people would rather die than speak in public. I feel like that’s a little drastic but, then again, my mom had me in 4H and leadership public speaking from the start. Nothing will ruin an influencers image faster than poor public speaking. I notice that I can’t even help but count the number of filler words contestants on the Bachelor use when talking. We are very aware of those who can’t speak and those who can; it’s a confidence thing!
Good public speaking skills come in handy when you want to do takeovers on Instagram Stories or a Snapchat channel for a bigger-than-you-account. This allows you to get some of their followers while also growing exposure to other like brands and corporations. It’s like going to an interview and not being able to look them in the eye or say anything without a filler word.
I think that this is one of the biggest subjects that impacts your social media influencer game, especially after that comment by the corporate company. If you can’t articulate what you like about the product or the importance of the product, you have failed as an influencer. Yes, some celebrities can get away with a simple, “Best knife in the business,” but they’ve already gained the loyalty of their followers through other means.
Those who can blog or write immediately have an upper hand on the competition. I have run a blog for years, just my own creative outlet, and it’s surprising how many contacts I get because I have a consistent blog. The more consistent your blog, the more followers you will get. Especially if you use good grammar, articulate well, and allow your personality to come through.
Classes like jewelry making, pottery, woodworking, painting, and more are SO important. There are so many people in this world and, it seems like, a lot of them are on social media trying to be an influencer just like you. It’s not the end of the world! Don’t panic!
Exploring hobbies and passions are what is going to set you apart. Don’t worry about being an influencer that is the same as everyone else, by shrinking your pond (aka your niche) you will actually create more opportunities for you! Maybe you get the opportunity to blog and work with a jewelry making company to showcase the products you can buy and how to use them? Maybe you get to travel to different events showcasing local artisan crafts? Don’t be afraid to embrace what makes you unique!
In your science classes, you will learn about hypothesis and how to create an experiment. I can’t tell you how many times a month I do many experiments on social media. I make an educated guess on what I think is going to happen, I plan out the order of operations, I perform the test repeatedly, creating notes on the results and then creating a conclusion… which I then test again. This allows me to find success in the algorithm as well as in my content creation for social media.
With school coming up quickly, I want to encourage each and every one of you students to put your phones away and learn because, even if you don’t like school or it’s “not for you,” there is a lot you can learn from school that can help you find the success that is so popular on social media today.