4 mins read

Is Social Media Influencing a ‘Real’ Career?

15 June 2022   |   by Explore Careers

We’ll cut to the chase here because we know you want a clear answer: YES. Social Media Influencing IS a ‘real’ career. These days, it seems to fall under the broad umbrella of entrepreneurs.

But how is it a career, and what does it really take to become a successful social media influencer?

THESE are the real questions we think you should be asking, and we’ll try our best to answer them in this blog!

What is a Social Media Influencer?

Social Media Influencing is probably one of the most surprising and fastest-growing roles to emerge in recent years – but what does it involve, and what do social media influencers do?

A social media influencer is someone with an influential audience of online followers and usually some form of credibility within an industry, which might be beauty, finance, gaming, a sport, fashion, photography – you name it!

Social media influencers leverage their audiences and credibility to partner with brands who pay them to promote, advertise or talk about their products and services to their audiences. This could be via social media posts, YouTube videos, or other promotional content.

When the brand and the products/services they offer to partner with the right influencer, they can significantly boost their customer base and profits. Social media influencers might partner with a brand for one-off promotions or enter into an ongoing contract to use their products/services regularly and promote them on their social media channels.

How Can You Become a Social Media Influencer?

There’s no clearcut way to build a successful career as a social media influencer – it’s a real mix of strategy and luck!

One thing seems clear, though: if you want longevity with the career, slow and steady wins the race.

Australian fitness blogger Kayla Itsines started simply sharing short fitness videos and slowly built her following from scratch over several years. It’s estimated her net worth is over $63 million, and she’s built an incredibly successful fitness empire.

Becoming a social media influencer involves creativity, proactivity and establishing your credibility within your niche.

Building your social media skills can also help! Check out how three digital marketers found career success by turning their resume’s into TikTok videos!

4 Tips for Building a Career as a Social Media Influencer

While the gig is competitive and doesn’t happen overnight, it can lead to a lucrative career.

Here are four ways to get started if you think this could be the path for you:

1. Focus on a core niche and keep working on it.

By having a core niche, you’ll be able to build your brand around exactly why other brands and organisations should partner with you.

If it’s clear what you know about and why people follow you, it’ll be easy to pitch to the brands you like about why they should work with – and pay! – you.

2. Understand each social media platform and how to work with them.

Becoming a social media influencer is more than sharing content and hoping people find you. Growing an audience and connecting with others is a full-time job – and there are strategies to follow!

Invest in some courses, workshops and educational material to help build your knowledge and make it work for you.

3. Build a positive network.

Some of the best influencers out there support and champion other influencers – even those in their niche who might be seen as ‘competition’. Being known as a force for good and community will show brands you have strong values in things like teamwork.

Focus on building genuine, supportive connections as you grow your own brand and following – people will notice.

4. Focus on professional learning and growth.

When you build a brand within a niche, it’s your responsibility to ensure you keep your own knowledge up to date. Whether through academic study or your own research, stay informed, knowledgeable and humble about how much you still have to learn.

Share what you learn and help your audience grow with you!

How Else Could You Get Involved?

If being a social media influencer sounds like a lot of work (it is) and you’re wondering how else you could get involved – have no fear!

Social media is a huge part of our lives, and how brands and organisations use it and influencers is only continuing to grow. With the use of influencers, a whole sub-industry is also increasing around how brands can coordinate how they partner with them.

Over the last few years, we’ve seen an increase in jobs such as:

  • PR and Outreach Manager
  • Influencer Marketing Manager
  • Influencer Relationship Coordinator
  • Social Media Community Coordinator

In these roles, you’ll be responsible for identifying, managing and working directly with appropriate social media influencers and coordinating what they release about your brand’s products or services.

You’ll need to be highly organised, totally clued up on all the ins and outs of social media and digital PR and have a solid ability to nurture genuine, professional relationships.

Next Steps

We hope that’s clarified a few things for you regarding social media influencing!

Bottom line; YES, it is a valid career, BUT it’s not an easy one.

While lots of influencers probably make it seem easy on their platforms, there’s a lot of hard work that goes into building a personal brand and an audience and then finding the right brands to partner with that will pay you. It takes commitment and real dedication.

It can be done, and the proof is out there.

And if a social media influencer career doesn’t work out, as mentioned, many new and exciting prospects look like they’d be just as worth pursuing!


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