To a lot of people, talking about the downside of being a social media influencer is a bit like talking about the stresses of being a movie star. Some people don’t really see beyond the beautiful lifestyle, the attractive friends and, of course, the freebies.
But, like every job, being a social media influencer also has its stresses. Thankfully though, because it’s something an awful lot of people have been doing for a quite a while now, most of these worries are things you can prepare for.
High up on the list of these concerns (alongside jaw strain caused by excessive selfie pouting) is the fact that a huge amount of your life is being shared with the world.
And, without wishing to creep you out, it’s a pretty sensible thing to be worried about. After all (and this bit may creep you out a tiny bit) there are some rather weird stories out there about social media influencers who shared just a touch too much.
Spend a few minutes in the land of Google and you won’t be short of examples of uncomfortable (and downright freaky) situations that arose through details someone managed to extract from an influencer’s post.
A prominent fashion influencer in Germany called Mary Scherpe has famously blogged about her own experience of being stalked, while social media royalty like Zoella and Alfie Deyeshave complained publicly about the fans who not only track down where the couple live, but even peek through the window!
Perhaps the most unnerving example though (if it’s not, as some people claim, a hoax) is that of blogger Lauren Dullen.
She discovered that a ‘devoted’ fan had painstakingly recreated her own elaborate travel snaps of – mimicking the same pose, outfit and, oddest of all, the exact exotic travel destinations.
But, the scary truth is that what you share on social media can have more alarming consequences than nosy fans or over-zealous copycats.
The ringleader of the gang that carried out the terrifying robbery of Kim Kardashian in Paris admitted that they obtained much of the information they needed to commit the crime through her social media posts.
But this is where you’ll find a key distinction. Within reason, no matter what you share on social media, it does not justify anyone behaving in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable.
Having said that, a bit of common sense and caution as a social media influencer is a good idea for everyone involved in this business – whether you’re a passionate part-timer or this is your full-time job.
The obvious tips are to make sure you don’t unintentionally give away too much personal information in your posts. Things like local land marks, street signs and especially just tagging yourself into a well known restaurant all make it easier for people to know where they can find you.
The best way to develop your own safety checks is to talk to more experienced influencers, find out the mistakes they’ve made in the past with over-sharing and learn from their experiences.
Likewise, get a friend who isn’t quite as social media savvy to go through your posts and point out the risks – they might look at social media a little less trustingly than you do.
Of course, unwelcome attention as an influencer can come in lots of different forms, from highly targeted phishing scams, to people stealing and misusing your images, to people pretending they’re you to trick brands into sending free samples.
But none of this information should frighten you and it certainly shouldn’t stop you from being the open and inviting individual that makes people on social media interested in what you say.
It just means that, like any brand or business would, you should be thoughtful, logical and careful about how you reach your audience. And maybe watch out for Selfie Jaw too.