We're talking about solid traits, not stuff that clickbaits are made of.
The term "influencer" seems to be loosely thrown around in recent weeks. Following the Faves Asia spat, eyebrows have been raised and we are left wondering what it means to be a real influencer online.
Do you have to look good? Is it determined by the number of followers you have? Maybe you need to be controversial, à la Steven Lim.
In my opinion, an online influencer is one who is able to influence the thoughts and behaviour of their audience, through the content they post online. Over the years, I have come to recognise that the influencers who rise above the many other accounts and remain relevant for a long time, have several common traits.
They didn't start off intent on making money or gaining fame from what they post online.
Their content is fuelled by passion and interests. This means that they care about what they write or share, and that alone sustains the non-commercial nature of the account.
They care enough to delve deep into their areas of interests and hone their expertise from an amateur's curiosity into professional insights. Readers and followers find themselves coming back to these influencers for more content because it gets better. And endorsement partnerships follow naturally.
Naomi of Instagram calligraphy account @nehohmee carefully curating a picture for her followers.
PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTH.SG/ANISAH AZMI
They are truthful with their audience and don't rely on clickbait posts to lure readers to their page.
The ones who remain upfront and candid with their opinions are the ones who usually outlive their competition.
Munah and Hirzi are an influencer duo who regularly share their opinions on current affair issues. Their down-to-earth attitudes and brutal honesty make their content refreshing to watch and read.
They don't do advertisements; they weave endorsements into their main content.
Very often, endorsed products or services are elegantly placed within useful and original content like photography tips, make-up tutorials, and cooking recipes. Sometimes it is blended in so well that you end up wanting to use the same product or service as the influencer, without realising that it may have been strategically presented so.
Here's an example, done for make-up brand Rimmel. Without using blatant hard-selling tactics, the brand is seamlessly integrated into a make-up tutorial in order to showcase the looks achievable using their range of products.
At the end of the day, there are no shortcuts to gaining the trust and confidence of your audience. Good online influencers are those who share their passion, with integrity, through value-added content.
If your motivations are driven by something as shallow as Instagram fame, I'm sure you won't last long.