What We Can Learn From Influencers: A Guide

“Influencers” are all the rage lately and to think of it as a very recently coined term thanks to the incline in social media is astounding. Somehow it feels like forever. The transformation of celebrity culture from untouchable figures so far removed from our actual lives to anybody and everybody has been an interesting shift that has somehow affected everybody’s lives. Brands are seeking human representation in order to increase the rate of success of their marketing and people are doing what they’ve always been doing; chasing opportunities.

For me, the idea of being an influencer has always been seductive to a degree. Aside from all the perks that come with being one, my main point of attraction is the ability to showcase my work to an engaged audience which becomes increasingly difficult as the field continues to become more saturated. So I’ve come to a point in my life in which I feel I have a lot to give but I lack the focus and I feel that has been compromising me in my various endeavours because I have yet to find a domain in which I can invest my time and effort into successfully. I know I enjoy writing and researching and discussing everything from film and music to digital media and streetwear but I don’t have a plan in place which makes all my efforts feel diminutive because I’m not seeing the results of focus and consistency.

The Pickle & How To Avoid It

We’re all consuming other people’s content and those of us that are content creators ourselves are often inhibited by the amount and quality of content we are drowning ourselves in. And I’d like to stop doing that. Instead, it is more conducive to your content (and your sanity, to be honest) to look at these influential individuals and figure out what you can learn from them and inject into your work and approach in order to be the best content creator you could be. So let’s embark on this journey together.

My areas of “specialty”, you could say, would be categorised into writingmusic, film and mental health. Those are broad, vague and non-medium-specific domains which often leaves me wandering through the internet, aimlessly trying a bunch of things all at once with no structure. In order to make those interests more digestible I’m going to break them down into:

  • Poetry
  • Pop Culture Curation & Critique/Review
  • Lifestyle Blogging

I Have A Focus. What Now?

Now that you have a focus, you get a clearer idea of what it is you have to offer and what it is people can gain from you. Social media was created to fulfil a function, but as it grows the main function of your profiles and online presence is what you make it. If we then delve into our interests and specialisations, we can see what other people are offering within those domains and what we can offer that differentiates us from them. This is the hard bit. You need to have a niche but don’t put too much pressure on yourself to find one. In an interview with Montreality, Russ said something along the lines of “it takes you some time to sound like yourself” and that’s just a hard fact of being a creative. Your voice is a soup of all the people within your field of interest and you can only sift through that to find your core – what makes you original and your work distinctive – if you’re pursuing those interests continually. Perseverance is priceless and that is often the only differentiating variable between a qualified individual who made it and one who did not.

Set Achievable Goals & Work Smart

So now it’s time for you to have a roadmap. A list of small milestones and how you can accomplish them through proactive strategic moves allowing you to work smart and not just hard. The more familiar you are with your “brand” or what you have to offer, the more you can offer those things to the best of your ability. Allocate your time according to your priorities and give yourself room to create content you feel adds something to the field you’re throwing it into. Seek opportunities that allow you to improve the skillset you need to succeed and don’t be complacent when it comes to your self-development. Where else can this time and energy be invested more fruitfully?

Take a closer look at the people you watch and read and listen to. What is it that draws you to them? What were they doing before they got here and what are they doing now to get where they want to be? People’s trajectories can be great indirect learning experience that you can invest into your own creative labor. Inspect people’s approach, attitude and actions and amend then implement accordingly.

Learn When To Stop Consuming, and How To Start Creating

Don’t delude yourself into thinking you’re still just doing research and building skills if you’re not putting work out there simultaneously. No action is no action no matter how much learning you’re gaining. You need to put it to the test of trial and error in the real world and there is no more valuable insight you can gain than from first-hand experience. Take those photos and post them everywhere. Write write write and write some more. Record those tracks and put them on SoundCloud, on Tumblr, on Twitter. Contribute to these mediums instead of just eating them up and you’ll find your use of social media will transform into a form of networking and business management. There is no doubt the internet is the future, in fact it’s our present so of course it’s our future, so in order to be a successful influencer you have got to maximise what’s been handed to you in order to see how you can benefit from it just as much as it’s benefiting from you being on there. Social media is nothing without the people on it. And if you take your time and have a plan, you, too, have something to gain.

This topic poses a great interest and learning curve for me, so I will be regularly tackling this aspect of my presence on the internet in hopes of learning myself and aiding others. I’ve had my fair share of published work on both print and online publications and have also tried my hand at writing amongst a team of staff and on schedule, however I know I have the potential to build my “brand” on my own terms as well and I’ve never particularly fancied working for somebody else when there all the means for us nowadays to work for ourselves. So this is my journey and I’d be thrilled to have some of you join me with your own successes and learning curves and let’s help each other build our voice and our futures.

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