Who doesn’t know about social media. Social media has come a long way from being an entertainment platform to being the top device for businesses. It’s become extremely popular but what usually becomes trendy, also turns controversial. You know something is great when there are just as many cons as there are pros.
In fact, when social media was just getting recognized, it was more of a good thing. Whether people were using it for their own personal reasons or businesses were taking advantage of the benefits it had to offer, social media was seen as something likable. Fast-forward to today, there seems to be a negative notion when you hear about the media tool. Again, whether it’s used business wise or for personal purposes, some people just can’t help but roll their eyes when they hear Instagram or Facebook. However, it’s not so much about the platforms but it’s what people do on there. So when people cringe over social media, it’s usually because of the “selfies” and “sponsorships” that have taken over. Those who have yet to get on the bandwagon are always asking the pros how it works because it seems like something they can do. Who wouldn’t want to take a selfie and get paid for it? But just like everything great in life, it isn’t exactly a smooth ride which is why you have to give credit to these entrepreneurs doing their thing on social media. But as said before, there are the pros and cons and so, there’s a lot to learn about social media. What else is there to know about?
Read below to find out more about behind the scenes of the social media world.
This online tool used to be something simple where others got to socialize online and not just in person. However, that has all changed. Even the definition of social media has been alternated to fit what it really is today. The definition is as follows: computer-mediated online tools that allow people, companies, and other organizations, including non-profit organizations and governments, to create, share, or exchange information, career interests, ideas, and pictures/videos in virtual communities and networks. It sounds so business oriented now. Not only are companies making money but individuals have jumped on this “entrepreneurial” trend where the most successful ones are literally making six-figure incomes just by being themselves. Platforms such as YouTube and Instagram allow regular people to promote themselves and make huge numbers by entertaining the public. Some have a niche such as traveling or beauty while others are just popular for their personality or looks. Whatever they’re doing, it’s caused many to think twice about their current desk job and perhaps invest in a social media brand to earn just as much, if not more, as they’re making at the moment.
It’s not just your average person joining this business, but those who already have a successful career have been told to start investing in social media. Why bother if they’re already successful? Because it’s the future for careers. Social media is essentially your resume to get in at this point.
At first, it began with celebs endorsing products for businesses such as in the beauty and fashion industry. It makes sense because they are the most influential, popular and attractive people out there. However, these “normal” people, mainly women, suddenly captured the audience, earning crazy numbers for your average person and those companies started to take notice. So they invested in the best marketing strategy for them and that was acquiring those girls, known as bloggers, to promote their products as well as participate in the campaigns. Why? Because it was a lot cheaper than paying an A-lister. They also saw the engagement that was happening so consistently within these bloggers’ profiles such as Instagram. What makes them stand out from your usual celebrity endorsed product is the fact that you can trust them with the product they’re showcasing. They’re more relatable and easier to engage with. So it benefits both the audience and the company.
It’s cool to connect with someone you have never met before online. Their profile almost resembles yours and automatically, you feel like you can be best friends. However, according to psychotherapist, Sherrie Campbell, sometimes these online friendships can be harmful in the long run. “Social media can give us a false sense of belonging and connecting that is not built on real-life exchanges,” Campbell explains to Alternet. “This makes it increasingly easy to lose oneself to cyberspace connections and give them more weight than they deserve.” In other words, it’s so easy to make friends on social media that you began to lose interest in real life interactions which is notably detrimental to one’s health. People need to socialize and feel a sense of belonging in order to live a longer, happier life but it’s ten times better when it’s all in person and not on social media.
This might be a little shocking considering social media is a huge way for people to share their photos with the rest of the world, especially on Instagram. Although, those models get thousands and thousands of likes without even captioning their images (so unfair), the truth is the audience resonates better with the post when it has better content, writing wise. You can post a great photo but if you write 1-3 words or a huge essay but nothing captivating, then you lose some potential likes your image could have received. So what gives with these models? Well if you haven’t noticed, most of them have been around the social media world for a while, before everyone else jumped on the bandwagon. So they have accumulated millions of followers since then to the point where they don’t have to write what their photo is about; people just like what they see and know what they’re all about. So if you’re just beginning, you have a long way to go just like a regular job.
You’ve most likely heard about the idea of buying followers. Perhaps some of your friends are guilty of it. At the end of the day, everybody wants a lot of followers because those numbers turn into paychecks in the long-run so the sooner the better. However, it always looks better if you earned your audience because there’s this respect that comes with it as opposed to being lazy and buying them. As said before, that a lot of those models you see on Instagram accumulating crazy numbers have been around for a while which is why they are successful today in the social media world. But there have been accusations on other popular entrepreneurs such as bloggers. Supposedly they have been caught in the past about buying their own followers. People observed how they got so many followers in such a short amount of time as well as the number of likes outnumbering their total followings. Siel Devos, a European lifestyle blogger told Racked how this whole social media business is pretty much fake. “It's kind of depressing. You think these bloggers are famous because they work for it until you realize that it's all bought.”
One of the best ways to gain attention on social media is hashtagging. People use hashtags for all kinds of different reasons. However, for those who are looking to make a living off of social media, they use it to get noticed by brands and not just to say humorous, silly things like your friends do. The more likes you get on your post, the higher you are on the page of that particular hashtag. For example, on Instagram, if you tap a hashtag, you’ll see all the images that have included that hashtag on their post. But the first ones you see are the most popular ones. But before you begin writing an essay full of hashtagging, note that a lot of your audience might not like a crowded caption like that. An article on Mash explained how you can hashtag in all the possible, wrong ways. So if you’re looking to hashtag your way into fame, take notes on how not to do it first or else you’ll be defeating the purpose.
That’s right. You can get paid just by having someone click on a link. They don’t even have to mention your name or purchase from your site or blog. All they have to do is click away and you’re making bank. So how exactly does this work? Bloggers are usually the ones who get hands on with this marketing tactic. They’re usually promoting fashion brands by wearing the clothing and thousands of their followers want to know where they bought their outfit. A smart blogger will actually tag the brand and include a link where people can click on which will take them to sites like ShopStyle or RewardStyle. That click will earn the blogger a paycheck plus if one of their followers decide to purchase the item, they get a paycheck for that sale, too. It’s all under the technical aspects. The site knows you came from that blogger’s page because of the link. The wonderful world of the internet.
Yes, the platform provides all the cool features you can use to create your unique profile. But there’s a behind the scenes feature that will probably explain the incompatibility between the number of likes and the number of your followers. Ever wonder why you have about 500 followers yet, your posts collect 25 likes on average? Where are the rest of those followers? Are they not real friends? What’s the deal? Well apparently social media restricts your reach to your audience, according to Entrepreneur.com. Social media companies tend to restrict the number of times your post reaches to your followers because they simply value their advertising. This especially impacts entrepreneurs and bloggers. When they post organic shots (the ones they are not paid for), it might not reach every single one of their followers. But when it comes to endorsement posts, they’re much more effective than the personal posts.
In order to be successful with your business on social media, you need to have the right content and maybe having a girl modeling your item wouldn’t hurt. It’s true - women are more popular on social media than men are. The one thing that people look forward to see are photos, but not just any photo with bad quality. These photos must be good quality and by good quality, we mean a really attractive girl on sight, occasionally. There’s no doubt that females are generally more attractive than men are and so, it makes sense why the public gravitates more to the profiles of women as opposed to of men. Not only are their looks quality, but overall their personality. Before social media, women were already known as the more social ones than men. So when they post a photo or post something quirky, it’s appealing and more relatable. In a way, men have contributed to the success of these women because they’re pretty much easy on the eye and therefore, they quickly hit follow and the like button.
Many popular social media photos are often seen as a “candid” shot because it turns out, people prefer those than the staged ones. But before you think it’s all natural, you must know that one candid image still took a lot of planning to do in order for it to look as good as it does. Because it is a full-time job to have an online brand, everything that is put out there, no matter how natural it looks, is carefully set up. This is with the assistance of the company’s campaign team and the entrepreneur. This is why there’s so much demand now for social media jobs because it’s become a real job today. It’s not just about posting, it’s about posting in a smart and strategic way. So when it comes to actually shooting for the campaign, those smiles you see on their faces aren’t exactly authentic. They take a hundred shots before they get their “natural” look. Not only that, but sometimes the model isn’t feeling like smiling that day so it’s not always fun and games.
Although these social media entrepreneurs are technically self-employed, their “job” is still demanding because they’re still working for somebody. In general, you don’t get paid as a social media personality or blogger until you have enough followers and a big enough online presence. Usually companies prefer those with 5,000+ followers in order to collaborate. However, just because you have a lot of followers doesn’t mean you’re set to go. There needs to be an actual brand that is genuinely interesting to the audience. Companies aren’t going to pay you for an artificial business. Therefore, you’re still working for someone and need to follow a set of guidelines.
Even if you’re not in it for the business, the platform you’re using is still making money off of you. According to Investopedia.com, each Facebook account was worth $5.32 so that’s right; Facebook is making money off of you even if you don’t use it anymore.
This is one controversial topic that people talk about when it comes to using social media. It’s all about recording yourself and taking selfies in order to build your brand to build an audience to eventually make money out of it. It certainly seems that way. But when you subtract social media from the equation, you get something not so likable; narcissism. According to Psychology Today, studies have consistently shown that those who score higher on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory questionnaire turn out to have a lot of friends on Facebook. It’s pretty simple as postdoctoral researcher, Laura Buffadi, explains it. “Narcissists use Facebook and other social networking sites because they believe others are interested in what they're doing, and they want others to know what they are doing.” No matter how many times people claim they are not narcissistic, especially the popular ones, don’t believe their words. Instead, believe their actions. Of course they’re going to deny they’re narcissistic because nobody wants to be called that. But in the end, it’s okay if you carry these traits because in reality, there’s more people today who do so don’t be surprised if you’re one of them.
You know those friends who post artsy photos but don’t get that many likes? And insist on not caring? Well, they’re lying because the second they start receiving more likes than before, their self-esteem goes up a notch even when they’re in denial. According to an interview with Instagram user, Michelle Linker, and The Guardian, the small number of likes can cause you to have anxiety. “I feel anxiety over how many likes I get after I post a picture. If I get two likes, I feel like, what’s wrong with me?” Linker explained about her own personal experiences. Linker is not alone on this one. People can start to question their self-worth and apply the lack of attention they get online to their real life. Same thing goes when they obtain a large amount of likes and followers. They began to think they are popular in reality just like they happen to be on social media. In the end, it’s natural to care about how much attention you get online, regardless if you’re an extrovert or introvert. It only matters how you handle it, though.
It may or may not be news to you but social media can leave some people with low self-esteem or even depression including celebrities and bloggers. As said earlier, social media first started out to be a fun, entertaining place to share your adventures with everyone you love. Then it became a social network where you socialized with others than your real friends. Eventually, it became so compacted that it became an opportunity and not just for business but basically for your own personal benefits. People do it all the time even the ones who write paragraphs in their captions claiming they don’t care about numbers when they have already reached over a thousand likes on average. At this point, I think most of us know that people post the highlights of their day on social media, which isn’t always a bad thing. But when vulnerable people start to take it too seriously, the dark side evolves.
Take Essena O’Neill, an Australian teenager who had a social media presence but decided to quit because she couldn’t take the artificial side of it. “I remember I obsessively checked the like count for a full week since uploading it,” the socialite said. “It got 5 likes. This was when I was so hungry for social media validation ... Now marks the day I quit all social media and focus on real life projects."
Even though they’re making thousands of dollars from one post on Instagram, it can get overwhelming for these bloggers to document every minute of their lives. After all, they’re human, too. Bloggers such as Nicole Isaacs and Essena O’Neill have been open about the pressures that social media has on their own well-being. Isaacs was recently away on a trip in Italy and stopped posting about it on social media, specifically SnapChat. She noted she was “living life” meaning, she wasn’t carrying her phone to broadcast her trip because she didn’t want to miss what was in front of her. As mentioned before, O’Neill just got tired of the stressful ways social media generally brings. If these successful individuals get tired of posting all the time, then imagine how us regular people feel? The fact that we’re still free to control our social media presence while these bloggers might have a harder time doing this, gives us the power to not let it consume us like O’Neill said it did to her.