To be fair, I HATE the word “Influencer”. When I think of it only one vision comes to mind: a quick Iphone photo of a girl sitting on a terrace, sipping on a coffee. And honestly, the reality couldn’t be further from the truth.
When people ask me what my job is, the first thing that comes out of my mouth is: “I am a paediatric dentist… and… eum… well… eum… I am also active on Social Media and I have my own travel blog. Why the freaking hell can I not just say: “I am a paediatric dentist and an Influencer.” To be fair, I really prefer the term “Content Creator”, it sounds a little more serious than calling yourself an Influencer.
And that my dear friends is all because of how much the media loves to drag us through the mud. If they can publish a headline with a title “Influencers have to pay double from now on at a certain restaurant!”, they are almost certain that it will go viral. And honestly, it’s a sad sad world if news like this gets spread more than news on any other humanitarian or environmental crisis our world is facing right now!
Let’s take a look at some statements that 90% of the people love to make about us.
Influencers are freeloaders
Let me tell you a little secret: we’re actually the opposite. To create stunning content (especially in the travel niche) you will have to travel to beautiful locations. This requires money, money that we “the freeloading influencers” actually happily spend so we’re able to travel to stunning destinations. We also don’t just get items for free. These days brands will “gift” you something in return for a post. If you’re serious about your job, like I am, you will try to find the perfect setting to compliment the product. You’ll invest in a good camera (either a high end mobile phone or quality camera) and if necessary buy props to tell a story with your photo.
Will we sometimes ask for a hosted stay at a hotel? Duhu! But you also have to realise that in doing so you also agree to certain terms. Most of the times this will lead to you taking videos, photos and sometimes even writing a full blog post. And this is for 2-3 nights of a hosted stay. This basically means that a full day will go into creating content for a hotel, running around the entire property, not laying by the pool sipping on a cocktail.
I know, I know, these images make it all look so easy. That’s one of the main reasons why I love showing behind the scenes on my stories on Instagram.
Influencers don’t really work
Haven’t we all heard this one before? Even family and friends will often ask: “What exactly do you do?”
Well, I can’t speak for everyone out there, but the women and men that I have met through this platform and that are in this business are hard working bad asses. People often forget that this isn’t a 9 to 5, it’s a 24/7! If you ever tried to start your own business, you know how much time and effort this takes! And while with most businesses, you’ll start seeing money coming in after a while. In the world of Influencing it’s actually very different since most brands only want to take advantage of your reach. They will try to give you something that you don’t really need in exchange for free Social Media exposure.
Influencing isn’t just about posting a pretty photo.
It’s about being there for your community and responding to their messages and comments. This can go up to 400 replies per day! Getting dizzy yet?
Influencing is about networking!
This entails that you’ll have to spend hours looking for brands that are a good fit for you. Writing personalised emails, this can go up to 100 emails, all in the hopes of getting maybe one positive reply.
Influencing is about getting up at 5am on a “holiday”.
Cause the best photos always happen during sunrise. In the summer months this means that you’ll probably take photos from 6am -9am and once more 2 hours before sunset.
Influencing is about originality.
More and more people everyday are trying to make it in this business. That’s why it has become more important than ever to differentiate yourself from the rest! This means investing in yourself and learn new skills. In other words: spend money to learn!
Let me tell you what a regular day at home looks like for me
6am – Wake up call, take shower, have breakfast
6.30am – Answer messages and emails from the past night
7am – Write caption for Instagram post
7.30am – Complete Pinterest threads for my blog
8am – Start writing blog article, edit photos for blog, create Pinterest images, promote blog post.
12am – Take a 1 hour break and lunch
13am – Start engaging on Instagram so more people will see my new post
15am – Post to Instagram and engage for 1 more hour
16am – Search hotels to collaborate with, make an Excel file with the proper email
17am – Update Media Kit (this is a resume for Influencers showcasing your numbers, who you are and your previous collaborations)
18am – Write personalised emails and send them out
20am – Brainstorm for new blog ideas
21.30am – Answer to messages and emails
22.30am – Create promo videos for products that you’re selling
23.30am – Write down schedule for tomorrow
Influencers aren’t real photographers
Did I ever take photography classes? Nope. Do I know everything there is to know about photography? Hell no! Neither will I ever pretend that I do. But there are these fun little tools these days that I am sure you’ve heard about before: Google and Youtube!
These days you can find hundreds of tutorials, all with the simple click of a mouse. I have watched so many videos on photography settings, Lightroom and Photoshop tutorials.
Just because photography isn’t our first profession, makes us any less of one. As long as you keep on educating yourself and push yourself to be better every day, you’re a photographer as well!
Influencers are fake
We’re not fake, it’s just that much harder to also share the bad stuff. I try to do this on occasion and I know many fellow influencers who do the same. It isn’t all just fun and games. But do I have to show my crying face on a camera to not be called a fake? Hell no!
Everyone is entitled to share as much of their personal life as they choose to! Plus a lot of times when you actually do open up, you can count on several hate messages. People who don’t know you, all of a sudden feel the need to share their opinion.
And of course, like in all professions there are people in this business who are simply doing it for the freebies/fame. But honestly, I know a lot of dentists too, who are just in it for the money and don’t care about their patients treatment. If only the media would write an article about that! You want to know a funny/not so funny story? Last weekend I was on call and 90% of the patients that I saw needed an emergency treatment because their own dentist didn’t do a proper one! Do their names get scandalised in the press? Nope! But when an Influencer dares to email a hotel to ask for a hosted stay she gets brutally slandered in the media…sounds fair…
Influencers are ruining tourism
Oh boy, where to even begin with this one? Influencers aren’t ruining these places. Tourists who don’t have any manners are! A lot of times tourists think that by copying a certain photo their account will skyrocket to fame as well.
Hate to break it to you, but it doesn’t work like that!
Are there influencers out there who are behaving badly? Of course there are! That doesn’t mean the entire profession should be scandalised. Those coloured houses in Notting Hill didn’t become so popular because of Instagram. Or hasn’t anybody seen the world famous movies Notting Hill and Love Actually?
I do agree however that if you want to take photos in public places that you have to respect the people living there! This means no sitting or standing on their doorsteps or acting like you’re knocking on their door. There are actual people living in these houses! I wouldn’t like it either if all of a sudden my backyard became a popular photo location! Pick up after yourself, take your photo and move on!
Honestly, I could probably write an entire blog post about this topic. Cause I understand both sides to this story. I know first hand how important it is to take photos in popular locations sometimes but I also see the vast difference with traveling 5 years ago. Bust most content creators will actually go in the early hours, when you’re hitting the snooze button once more, we’re up and about shooting in front of a popular monument.
Hallstatt didn’t get ruined by Influencers. It became immensely popular because someone built an exact replica of it in China. And now everyone wants to travel to Austria to see the real deal!
The same goes for the tulip fields in The Netherlands. Keukenhof has been a touristic and overcrowded place for years! Same goes for the lavender fields in the Provence! Are there people who are misbehaving? Yes! Are these people always Influencers? Hell no! We actually have a responsibility towards our community to do what’s right, without ruining someones property!
Or don’t get me started on the entire elephant debacle! You can read my entire opinion on this topic here!
But why do people love to hate on Influencers?
People love to hate on something they don’t know. They see someone having fun in a gorgeous hotel and think: I want that too! Why does this person get to go “for free”? It’s not fair!
Well my darling, if you want it, work for it! It’s as simple as that! No one realises the money that gets pumped into launching a successful Instagram account. You get nothing for free when you’re starting out! It takes constant time and effort to create your own unique look, your own voice. Not to mention building up a community from zero, without even having a guide book. To me, everyone that succeeded in doing this should be admired!
I don’t believe people hate on Influencers out of jealousy, it’s because they just don’t get the right information. The media is portraying us as spoiled little brats who throw a fit when we don’t get something for free.
Instead all of us are literally working our asses off to actually get paid by brands. We’re trying to use our voice to do good, to help fundraise money and spread awareness, to teach!
But it seems that every time an Influencer speaks up in the media, their story gets twisted and turned until it makes them look ridiculous instead of the entrepreneur they actually are.
To be fair, 3 years ago I used to think the same way… cause I didn’t know any better. I now know first hand that being an actual Influencer requires hard work, dedication, blood, sweat and yes, a lot of tears!
Why are they making it so hard for us to take photos?
Did you know that at the Opéra Garnier you can’t take photos with a professional camera if you’re wearing a long dress? Like, how ridiculous is that? People can click away with their phones, but you’re not allowed to wait 30 minutes to take a few beautiful photos for your Instagram account?
Have you even heard about what is happening at Machu Picchu? Well first of all if you’re a content creator who travels solo, basically you’re screwed, cause you can’t take a tripod with you. Not even to put it somewhere in the grass where it wouldn’t damage anything! No, they didn’t stop there… If they see you posing for a photo in a dress they will, hold on, LIFT UP your dress to check if you’re wearing pants underneath! Like???!!! If you’re wearing pants this means you are just wearing the dress for photos and they will make you delete your photos and keep a close eye on you during your tour! Honestly, I have never been more happy to be one of those girls who actually hikes in dresses. If you want to know more about this new phenomenon at Machu Picchu read this article by Victoria!
Is it because this industry is mainly ruled by women?
To be fair, I have had my own fair share of dealing with men who can’t handle their woman to be more successful than them. And the backlash you get from achieving your goals can be brutal. Why is it that an industry where women can express their voice, their femininity and their sexuality, is often so criticised? Just look up the author names of some of these bash articles… they are always written by a man… My friend Nathalie told me this comparison and you tell me: Would a man, dressed in a tuxedo, also be forbidden to take photos with a professional camera at Opéra Garnier?
Yeah, unfortunately, we all know the answer to that question.
If you’re not an Influencer and you’ve read this article top to bottom try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes for once 🙂 I know I did, and it turned my point of view upside down.
If you’re an Influencer, I wish you the best of luck on this crazy journey and I hope this article gives you encouragement to keep on doing what you’re doing!
Lots of love,