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. (*/)