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. (*/)

Making Money as an Online Buzzer

Gain fame and bucks through social media. (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Gain fame and bucks through social media. (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Believe it or not, as a terminology, “buzzer” was, I suppose, coined and is only used in Indonesia. Why so? So here’s my story. Sometime ago, I mentioned this in a question I aimed at  a foreign social media practitioner. He seemed perplexed upon hearing my question and this seemingly novel word (to his ears), making me explain in such a length so as to make him understand what a buzzer really means.

In short, a buzzer is defined roughly as “a person getting paid to promote or endorse brands or products on the jungle of social media”. Here’s what you may need to know about how to become one and of course, how to make money — a great deal of money — of it as told by Kartika Putri and Elisa Koraag. Both are bloggers and avid social media users.

First thing first, get your Klout score up! You have got to be famous in some sense, not necessarily insanely famous but you need to find your audience on the web. Because once again, it’s all about getting social, getting messages across. What matters most is the amount of interactions made by a potential buzzer. Go visit klout.com where you can easily measure your stardom level on the web. You’ll have to connect it to your social media account. In general, it does crawl and quantify your social media presence. To be a legitimate and highly promising buzzer, you’re strongly required to score 60 or above on klout.com. If you only score lower than the threshold, don’t bid farewell already. That means you just need to try a little bit, or much, harder to win more audiences by building more interactions.

Besides your Klout score, brands or corporations usually take your level of interaction into account, which means you really have to speak with people there. You can’t tweet all the time, on your own, without caring about others. Don’t be a cocky douchebag, thinking you’re the one and only important person on the web. If no one responds to your tweet, likes your Facebook statuses, or love your Tumblr posts, please try to engage with them at first. And there’re a lot of things you can do to connect with people with the more and less similar interests. So brands or companies will be interested in social media users who can make people interact voluntarily and naturally with each other.

A blogger may become a buzzer as well. What it takes to be a buzzer blogger? I don’t mean to be geeky but start paying more attention to your page ranks so companies acknowledge what you’re doing on your blog, which is worth paying and means something to their online image building. Having a higher page rank of a blog translates to a better opportunity of securing a buzzing gig. Another metric used to determine your blog’s authority and worth is Domain Authority.

Wait, what if you only keep a blog on a free platform such as Blogger or wordpress.com? Would that be an issue for you to be a buzzer. It’s lucky of you who don’t keep a paid, self-hosted blog, but to be a blogger buzzer you don’t have to buy a domain. But in some cases, you may need to upgrade later on. For those who blog on free platforms like this, the most common measurement to use is page views of the blog.

Other than that, Alexa rank of a blog plays a relatively significant role for a buzzer blogger to attract brands. I sometimes think it’s ridiculous to use Alexa rank as the sole parameter of a blog’s performance but well, that’s the fact. Deal with it.

Speaking of rates, it’s not an easy task. You have to really know yourself and your level of experience, skills, and also your strengths and weaknesses, so you can set up a quite fair rate card by yourself. A rate card basically tells those brands how much you want yourself to get paid after publishing a piece of writing on your blog concerning their products or brands or company events, you name it. So if you have a bigger scope of audience, you’re more likely to win.

It’s not always about money, however. A buzzer may decline to provide her endorsement or publish advertorials on her blog(s) whenever she feels decent to do so. For instance, if you’re known to be a health blogger, it’s very unlikely that you’ll accept an offer from a fast food brand. No to mention promote their nutritional values in the foods!

Conversely, if you get an offer by a brand you like so much, you may ignore the financial rewards of it and focus on the satisfaction of introducing it to a much wider audience. But I’m not sure many people would do that.