How to Be an Influencer Without Being Fake

Many millenials are tempted to gain benefits from online fame. And that costs them more than they can imagine. (Wikimedia)

IT APPEARS EXTREMELY cool to be an influencer. You’re looked upon by almost everyone around you though you know deep down inside you’re just an ordinary person. You know what’s best in you and some people give acknowledgment for that. It gives you a boost in self confidence and life seems so much easier when you’re more known and thus respected by others.

I have some friends in the yoga world who I think deserve this title. They’re well-known in a certain circle. They may not be as famous as actors or worldwide entertainers. But still, they have their own audience. And if this audience is loyal and a given influencer can sustainably build warm  and sincere ties with them, it’s not impossible for the influencer to live a more established life in general instead of enjoying a brief taste of stardom and poof! Gone with the wind.

This very morning I read a concise story of an Instagram celebrity  told on Twitter by some account whose identity is anonymous but responded to warmly by its followers because it sounds so true and real. I felt so intrigued after that to write down a perspective of mine on this highly controversial subject.

Being a selebgram (a term they use to refer to a person with an online fame especially on Instagram), a 27-year-old good-looking young man with a decent, middle-class family background. I know it sounds too surreal like a soap opera plot that the young man – let’s call him Nick – turned from a modest young man living in a small town to an idol with a huge Instagram following. Essentially, he struggled so hard to climb up the social ‘Everest’ called Jakarta.  The path he took led him to a life he never thought of living. As a high-school graduate who failed to secure a high-paying job, he made a totally wrong choice by putting off his college. He at last graduated at 26 but that was kind of late for a fresh graduate to apply most jobs offered. As a consequence, he was trapped in debts yet still never hesitated to maintain the jetset lifestyle. He knew he wouldn’t succeed in conquering the demand of such  lifestyle so he used any tactics to survive. He finally ended up being a gigolo. He sold himself to a ‘sugar daddy’ (some call this kind of elder men ‘gadun‘). He then managed to stay afloat and funded his super expensive lifestyle as an online celebrity. But the next problem was he lost this sugar daddy to a close friend. And that meant he also lost his last financial support. At the end, his Instagram account was suddenly deleted.

A fake never succeeds…

Though a fake person who fail can still look as wise, successful and glamorous as really successful people, in actuality they may be as miserable as or even more pathetic as ordinary people without fame.

So what to do if we still want to be an influencer with fame and financial stability?

Build reputation organically

Put our best self out there and introduce ourselves to as many people as possible. Make them know what we do and what our true passions are.

This takes a great deal of time. This could be years or even longer. But that’s worth the wait.

Why?

Imagine a tree growing so slowly. That means its root also reaches more deeply into the soil. In time of storm, this proves helpful to wither any blowing wind coming. The tree won’t tumble too easily. Thanks to the deeply-penetrating root down there.

The same thing applies to online reputation. The virtual world allows us to be famous overnight but the thing is such instant fame doesn’t last forever and it is mostly about negativity (people tend to rave more about bad news than good news). It fades away eventually. Some very rapidly; some others gradually. There has much to be done to maintain this level of reputation.

Make use of our best talents and skills

Expenses for making our image up are not necessary if we already know our best strengths beforehand. That way, it’s easier for us to find focus in creating content and selecting a suitable niche. If we know our best talent is cooking, find a way to cook dishes or cakes that require ingredients that cost within our budget or, even better,  ingredients that any other parties would love to supply for free or at lower prices. This way, we can avoid unnecessary expenses and thus make more money in the process.

Devise a sustainable business model

Fame is the best asset but though it’s very invaluable, it’s also very easy to vanish and temporary by nature. One may become very famous one day and soon forgotten so easily once another star is discovered or after the public is fed up.

That said, it’s advisable that an influencer set up a proper business model. It’s a design for the successful operation of a business, identifying revenue sources, customer base, products, and details of financing. Earning money as an influencer looks effortless but actually it is not. One needs to compete against any other fellow influencers. This is necessary if one wants to make a stable living from being an influencer on social media. An influencer is a content producer and to produce great quality content s/he needs a sum of money. Along with money, it also takes expertise and creativity that never drains.

Dare to be yourselves

We might not give it a thought from the very beginning but are we ready to allow us to be ourselves later on? This is not an easy question to answer. Decide how much of ourselves can be exposed throughout our career as an influencer. Would we reveal almost everything of our private details to the rest of the world or would we retain most of privacy and only give out most profesionally relevant parts of our personal life to audience?

Build network and be humble

Once we rise to peak of stardom, it won’t hurt to stay down-to-earth along the way. Bear in our mind that to stay on top forever is impossible and it’s only made possible if we have a tightly-knit network and friendship. People with unfit personalities will soon meet their fall from top. That’s the universal law that applies also in the influencer world. (*/)

On Creating Viral Content (Hint:Quantity Sucks)

The web has become a place overflowing with crappy content. Crappy content? What is that in the first place? As a content writer, ‎I have seen too much crappy content published and consumed on the web. This is that particular content that sucks so badly. In my own experience, crappy content is something you can effortlessly copy and paste from another site onto your own without providing pleasure or value to the Internet users, having only one single goal in mind:SHORT-TERM PROFITS.

I tell you what, it will NOT work! And if you do it because you think you have no better options, I tell you:‎It sucks to be you. Because there are many better options of strategy to choose from.

I have seen a bunch of people doing this silly and senseless thing‎, pretty much every single day. And I am ashamed I used to be part of the ignorance sometimes. But as I realized more, I found out this was an insanity involving time and resources spending which produces little or meager, unsatisfactory results.

So let me tell you, I happen to know this bunch ‎of people who are so deeply obsessed with hits and Alexa ranks. They post content (in the form of articles from other sites) days and nights like hundreds of them. It is a toil. It is all about “how many” and “how fast”. It has never touched on the question of “how great”, which makes it miserable. No one wants to advertise on the site. But who wants? It is just another site with thousand articles with no distinct voice. By distinct, I can safely say it has a unique editorial voice, a mission to pursue, a stance to make, a proposition to defend or advocate, etc. They have none. They only have money to burn, with no creativity, no shrewd strategy and very low passion in their head. Plus, a leader who is too quantity-oriented and as stubborn as a swine.

PATHETIC!

Don’t be like these people. ‎Don’t let the same tragedy happen to you.

At first, we need to believe that publishing content on the web should be meant to provide quality content that addresses real problems of rea‎l people. Profits are side effects. Hits, Alexa rank and high ads revenue are some bonuses that follow after you provide quality content people need very much. It is all about changing mindset, from the idea that content is a pure tool of making profits to the more sincere and ideal proposition that content provides assistance for us to solve problems. Quite literally, stop think selfishly. Rather, start treating readers the way you want to be treated.

‎Creating content that goes viral would entail ‎a wide array of factors. The first is pick the right topic. Select the hottest, most talked about topics and you are more likely to succeed. The last time I wrote about politics during the presidential elections, ‎it was a blast as everyone was suddenly interested in political issues. Everyone wanted to read some content that enrich, verify or challenge their own political beliefs. Hence, as a content writer I naturally had the urge to share. To share things that I think useful, interesting and valuable enough for them to consume and then, of course, spread.

But aside from creating useful, great content, you need to make sure it also has to be authentic at the same time. Don’t let yourself be a follower. Create new and fresh content. The more authentic content is, the better it gets. Ensure the content is first published on your site. So you basically position yourself as a thought leader. That way, people will come to your site whenever they need the information. If you cannot make sure it is absolutely new, now you always can publish it but convey it in a unique way, and add some more values. Be different, that is the key! And that is as easy as becoming yourself.

The second is write long. If it is possible to write longer pieces, just do it. Even if it takes days! Don’t hesitate to be a perfectionist‎ when you are allowed. I met a guy who didn’t seem to mind waiting for days to polish his one long and comprehensive writeup on a topic. It is totally okay not to publish immediately sometimes. Take your time. It will not hurt if you pursue perfection anyway. And you know what? That is why his site only publishes one or two new articles once in 2-3 days. So slow I know it is. This guy’s site, however, ranks much better than the previously mentioned site that publishes hundreds of unauthentic, soul-less articles. I would never believe it if I had not seen it before my naked eyes.

The third is ignore quantity. You ought to prefer writing one great piece that impresses people and benefit them simultaneously to producing hundreds of pieces that makes you like a bot. Always remember, as quantity takes the reign, you will lose more of your time to be personal and profound on the web, i.e. to be yourself, because you only want to reach the targetted number no matter what it costs you. And I have to tell you, networking on social media is not about making other people’s newsfeed full with your updates and self promotional content. It is in fact more about building community around you and in a community, there should be interaction taking place on a daily basis. It does not mean paying attention to quantity is always a waste of resources but beware of the loss of the ability to enjoy what you do because contrary to popular belief, creating and marketing content successfully is a long-term work and meticulous type of toil. You have got to work hard every day, building everything bit by bit from the sractch and maintain it, then expand or improve what is already achieved. And if your main motivation is quick cash, you will NEVER manage to get through all this hardship.

Last of all, forget about SEO techniques. I seriously tell you. If you have important and unique messages to convey, even without SEO, people will always find your great content. Content that matters always attracts people to spread it further.

That said, I am convinced writing viral content shared by virtually everybody is easy. By easy, I mean it means natural, just like how you basically communicate by means of old media and tools. No special formula is required, to be blunt. Don’t be mean, selfish and you will get there.

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