A few years ago, you could have made the claim that we were in the era of the influencer, where influential experts on social media held tremendous power to persuade followers, direct narratives and even motivate purchasing decisions.
We’d argue we’re entering the post-influencer era today where declining trust in influencers and in each and the over saturation of the term are leading to degeneration of the concept and backlash.
If being an influencer really mean anything, how can we thrive in an era with deteriorating public trust?
Content over saturation and dilution
Let’s start by examining the roots of the problem. Universal connectedness and accessibility are hallmarks of an open internet, anyone with an internet connection can write content, create a social media profile, attempt to build an audience and publish their thoughts. This has been powerful in many ways, connecting us to people we might have otherwise overlooked and allowing minority perspectives to gain an audible voice.
Content marketing is a powerful strategy, and most people realize that, to reach as many people as possible, they need to scale their efforts to produce as much content as possible. But this has also led to content over saturation. Most people are eager to increase the size and scope of their audience as they are active on social media. The end result is millions of people clamoring to become influencers in their own right diluting the meaning of the term.
The abuse of influencers
We also need to acknowledge the presence of influencers attempting to abuse their status. Initially, some companies were willing to extend freebies and discounts to known social influencers visiting their businesses. That quickly turned into influencers demanding special treatment wherever they went. Leading to eye-rolling and disparaging comments if someone tries to claim such a title in real life, this rapid evolution has given the term influencer a negative connotation.
The modern influencer
Of course, influencers still exist in their purest form as influential, authoritative individuals doing their best to objectively inform and possibly entertain the public. But to stand out in a sea of manipulators and pseudo-influencers, you’ll have your work cut out for you.
Simple goals for aspiring influencers
If you still want to capitalize on the benefits of influencer-hood, You’ll need to work harder than ever in this oversaturated, modern environment.
- Don’t abuse your position. So you don’t need to go out of your way to try and get other special advantages as there are plenty of benefits to being an influencer. Don’t brag about your position or try to get special treatment because of your social media following.
- Be true to your industry and yourself. Giving people what they want and agreeing with mainstream opinions may secure you some short-term popularity, Remain true to your core principles, and to your industry as a whole. But it’s not going to solidify your position as a true leader.
- Strive for honesty and accuracy. Instead of making baseless claims or spouting random opinions, strive for honesty and accuracy even if that means holding back some of the comments you’d otherwise have. If you follow this, eventually, you will earn more respect as much as it is a slow process.
- Focus on quality over quantity. In line with this, focus on quality over quantity. It’s easy and attempting to publish new content on a constant basis and in some ways it’s advantageous. But you should never sacrifice the integrity or quality of your work to get more posts published.
- Engage with others the right way. Understand the importance of having high-integrity, lively debates with others. Your opinion isn’t the only one that matters, even if you’re exceptionally well-informed. Additionally, you should listen to your followers — but not conform to all their whims.
Influencers will never really go away in some ways. As a society, we’ll always be relying on leaders and experts to show us the way forward and introduce us to new concepts, regardless of what media or channels we’re using to communicate. What’s changed is the number of people aspiring to attain that position and the requirements to actually reach it.