Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and, let’s not forget, Facebook. Oh, and I’m probably missing a few others, too. Those who resent any and all forms of social media haven’t exactly kept their feelings secret — in recent years, we’ve been educated on the dangers of social media: anyone can see what goes on in your private life; Facebook will consume your time and focus; you’ve succumbed to posting pointless pictures of burgers and fries on Instagram. You know the whole spiel.
The truth is that up until November 2015, I have essentially been a social media ghost. I was thoroughly uninvolved in the worlds of Facebooking, Tweeting, Instagramming and Pinteresting (if the last two are even actual terms). “Hey, did you see that post in our Class of 2019 page?” “Did you see insert-name-of-random-friend-here’s picture on Instagram?” Anyone who has ever met me quickly learned that questions like those held no weight whatsoever with me.
It was because of my new-found positions within platforms that would further my experiences as a writer and editor that I ended up succumbing to many different forms of social media. Now, typically, you might hear people say they wish they hadn’t gotten involved with social media — they deactivated their accounts and it was the best decision they had ever made. But I wish I had created those accounts years ago. Why? Like I said, because of my experiences as a writer.
I have found it extremely difficult to get accepted into online influencer programs that could really help my name and my blog become more influential in the blogging industry. Many of these affiliate and influencer programs require you to have a relatively far online reach, which often means hundreds, if not thousands, of online followers on each account. How many Instagram followers do I have? Certainly not enough — at 188 followers, I’d be lucky if an organization so much as laid eyes on my account. You don’t even want to know how many Twitter followers I have, and that’s the account I created the earliest relative to the others!
I see so many people like me — bloggers, writers, students, beauty and fitness addicts — who have large followings because they’ve had these accounts for at least two years now; they already knew what it felt like to start out with a barely feasible audience, and now it’s my turn. Unfortunately for me, it feels as though this turn has come at a time when 3k+ Instagram followers would have served me very well. And brands and programs don’t have time to wait for a college blogger to grow her audience to become even a decent candidate for her program. Do you blame them, though?
Brands need to know that they’re putting their trust in the hands of someone who’s more than capable of doing what they need them to do, not to mention a loyal affiliate with a just-as-loyal audience. Even if I’m one of the best college-aged bloggers (which I’m not ascertaining that I am) because of my style and skills, it doesn’t seem to matter if I don’t have an established social media audience.
A large number of followers gives you more power than you might think. No, not the teenage queen of mean terrorizing the high school halls type of power. People want to listen to you and trust your ideas because, clearly, 6,000 other people already did, so you must be saying something worthwhile. Call me crazy, but I actually regret not dabbling in the art of social media a few years earlier. Social media actually may not foster the ‘pathetic’ ideals we once thought it did.