All it takes is a click of a button. A camera is set up, people record themselves and upload the video for the world to see. A new career is born.
Millions of zoomers (Gen-Z members) wake up every morning and immediately start documenting every aspect of their live to share on social media for monetization. They are trading in their laborious jobs for a seemingly easier life in front of a phone screen.
Hailey Elizabeth, 19, is a YouTuber with 700,000 subscribers. She started her career as a social media influencer in November 2020 and created her own content on YouTube for the past year.
“I feel like YouTube allows me a lot more creative freedom and creative control. I’m able to be my own boss and work at my own pace,” she said. “I like how fast I grew within a year. It’s my favorite job and I love it so much,” said Elizabeth.
Creating content and scheduling posts for several social media platforms has become the new normal for Gen-Z.
According to Sinead Norenius-Raniere from Forbes, “Most start blogging or sharing on YouTube as a passion project or side hustle.”
Norenius-Raniere said it’s possible for up-and-coming influencers to have full-time careers and be financially secure from their platforms. All they have to do is build enough content.
Each social media platform has its own audience, and influencers post different content across multiple platforms to build a larger audience.
Elizabeth would be considered a macro influencer on her YouTube platform because she has over 700,000 subscribers. She makes her own content and occasionally gets sponsored by companies.
Liannys Polanco, a micro-influencer, has 10,000 followers on Instagram and promotes products and events for monetary gain.
Sharon Cruz, a nano influencer, has over 900 followers on Instagram that mostly consist of friends, family, and colleagues. Cruz has yet to make money off of her posts, but is slowly building her audience.
When it comes to being a social media influencer, people must remember that success doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a long process that requires consistency.
“I would say that being an influencer is way more than just posting pictures and showing off the newest fashion trends,” said Cruz. “I’ve been doing research on how to become one and it takes planning and strategies to become one.”
Different influencers play a role in which gender dominates each platform.
According to Amy Gesenhues from MarTech, “the influencer community is one of the rare businesses where women dominate the field.”
The numbers show how influencers have an equal opportunity to succeed in different social media platforms.
Yet it’s no surprise why people see more women being influencers on social media than men.
“Across all industries – travel, fashion, technology, food and entertainment – women make up 77% of the total number of influencers,” said Gesenhues.
Elizabeth creates content on a social media platform where male creators dominate the app by almost 8%, according to Statista.
While Polanco and Cruz are busy trying to stand out from the rest of the female Instagram influencers, Elizabeth has a higher chance to shine on Youtube since most creators there are male.
Elizabeth said that being a social media influencer is a growing career, especially for a younger audience.
“Charli D’Amelio had so much money and so much fame at just 16 years old and that kind of inspired other people even younger than 16 to make TikTok videos and post on social media apps,” she said. “It just seems like easy money and it’s also something anyone could do.”
Cruz, 21, tried to become an influencer but realized it’s a lot more complicated than it looks. Getting brands to notice her content was nearly impossible.
Authenticity plays an important role in becoming a successful social media influencer as brands look for trusted content creators to promote their products and audiences look for a relatable online presence.
Elizabeth said she would be posting her YouTube videos even if she had no viewers because she enjoys making them.
“If they’re just doing it for money, then it’s not the type of job that you should take on, she said. “It’s something that requires a lot of work and you have to love what you do.”
Being a social media influencer is like any other job. It requires discipline, effort, and creativity.
Polanco, 21, has had a difficult time getting the same amount of views she used to get on Instagram.
“The most difficult thing is the algorithm of social networks that are constantly changing,” she said. “Sometimes it means that the content we create is not visible to all our followers.”
Elizabeth said that working in social media helps people get out of their comfort zone and allows them to network with other creative creators.
“I think you should start trying to figure out what you enjoy doing, not just what gets a lot of views,” she said. “You should genuinely try to feel happy whenever you’re doing it and if you don’t feel happy doing it, then just don’t do it at all.”