Are You an Influencer?
What does it mean to be an influencer? At Obviously, we use that word a lot to describe our collaborators, but interestingly most of our collaborators don't refer to themselves influencers. They use other words, like bloggers, YouTubers, Instagrammers, creatives, photographers, artists, parents, enthusiasts, fashionistas.... the list goes on and on. So what does it mean to have influence, and how do you know if you have it?
Not long ago, brands and advertisers assumed that the average consumer was only interested in hearing from celebrities: athletes, actors, or models that otherwise "normal" people could only dream of emulating. But social media really changed that. Now, it's obvious that people are a very much interested in what people like themselves are doing. Of course, there are important discussions to be had about how we're comparing ourselves to each other online, but by and large the days of enviously copying some distant celebrity are gone.
Influencers fill the space between distant celebrities and our close friends online. They are real, down-to-earth people with something exciting and different to share, whose message is interesting to others. But how can we identify influencers, and how to you know if you're one?
Actually, it's pretty simple. You're an influencer if...
1) You have knowledge to share.
You don't have to be a famous fashion designer or a model to know a lot about putting together a great outfit. You could be an expert home chef, an experienced traveler, or a busy working mom, but your experiences have left you with a lot of know-how and a lot to talk about.
2) You know how to share it.
Here at Obviously, aesthetic is really important to us. Your focus may be on cooking, but you have to be able to take great food photos too. (Or have access to someone who can do this for you on a regular basis.) Curating an Instagram feed or creating compelling YouTube videos may not be something that comes naturally to you, but it's something you can learn over time. (We have tons of great information about how to do this right here on the blog!)
3) You have an audience.
The final step to becoming an influencer is building an audience. Ideally, this should happen organically over time. It's not easy, but if you know what you're passionate about and how to share it, then eventually it will happen. And we're here to help.
In this day and age, anyone can be influential. But, in our experience, the best influencers are those who focus more on what they love and less on how many people are loving them. This can be a true challenge, because everyone wants to feel validated, and we're in an industry where likes and engagement (Ie what other people think) are so important. If I've learned anything, though, from my years working at Obviously, it's that people are drawn to what feels genuine. Those who are in it purely for validation tend to get less of it. Those who are in it because they love what they do spread that love to those around them. And that's what real influence is.