Is Influencer a Dirty Word?

I spoke on a Social Media Influencer panel last week at the University of Tennessee and since then, I’ve had this topic of the word “influencer” on my mind a lot. We all kind of felt icky calling ourselves influencers or kind of like we were beating the word to death. But it got me thinking. Why does everyone hate the word influencer? And more importantly, should we hate it? Or do we hate it because everyone else is hating on it or because it’s being wayyy overused right now? Is influencer a dirty word?

Is Influencer a Dirty Word?

The word “influencer” seems to get thrown around a lot these days. There aren’t really any qualifications to becoming an influencer and technically anyone and everyone can be an influencer on social media. I mean if you have 10 followers on instagram, those are 10 people you can have an influence on. Literally, if you post on social media, you can be an influencer. It’s like the “it” term for anyone who shows up on instagram.

With that said, I think that’s why a lot of us bloggers hate the term. We don’t want to be lumped in with so and so selling xyz to their 2,000 followers on instagram and calling themselves an influencer. But, ya know what? It is what it is. Social media is a space where you can share your life and potentially influence someone along the way. Whether you choose to monetize or capitalize on that, is your choice.

So, what do you think? Is it an overused word? Are you sick of hearing it? Are you tired of people talking about and calling themselves influencers? I genuinely want to know!!

My Thoughts on The Word Influencer

The social media space is really changing these days. A lot of regular people are starting to find their voice now more than ever on social media and personally I love it. I love that it’s not just the bloggers that are sharing more. That regular people are finding the courage to share more of themselves on social media. They’re being more social and not just posting the true highlights. They’re sharing their everyday, they’re sharing things they love and their kids acting silly. But with that comes more connection to people they don’t see everyday. Someone says ah I love what little Johnny is wearing where’d you get that tee? Or, girl, you’re looking so good Orange Theory is working for you! And wa-la, you’re influencing your audience. And honestly, I think that’s pretty cool.

As for influencers who are making this their job?

I think now is a really special time in the social media marketplace. I think brands are realizing that influence comes in all shapes, sizes and more importantly follower counts. Big follower counts don’t necessarily translate into a lot of influence. People might like to see their posts and see their photos, but that doesn’t mean they’re reading their captions or even care what they have to say. BUT if you have a true, genuine connection to your audience, you have the opportunity to do amazing things! I don’t think you should be intimidated by all the other influencers out there, I think now, more than ever you can do YOU and see the more return. Which is amazing and makes this job, so much more fun!

But with all that said. We’re hating on the word “influencer” and the idea around it. Why? Because we’ve spent years creating a BRAND. A lot of my blogger friends have been blogging for 5+ years, building a website, giving out tons of free content, cultivating real relationships with the brands we work with, investing money into our websites and businesses, figuring out what works and what doesn’t work, only to now be lumped in with all the other “influencers” out there on social media. Some just have an instagram page and they slap a preset on their photos and call it influence. So yeah, I get it, it’s annoying.

As for me?

I’ve been thinking about it a lot over the past week. When I think about the core of why I do what I do, I truly do want to be an influencer. I want to partner only with brands I love and care about to share with you guys. I want the brands that have changed my life, to change yours, and the only way I can do that is through influence. Not only do I want to share my life, my favorite things and what works for me, but I want to influence you to come with me! Get my favorite sweater so you can wear it all the time too, try my shampoo and let it change your hair, do the Faster Way to Fat Loss with me so you can see results and feel great too! I want to create long term partnerships with brands I love to share with you guys because that’s where I see the most reaction from you guys.

Also, at the end of the day, I know I’m still creating and building a brand. I’m focused on putting out great content that you want to see and that you keep coming back for. I work hard on myself and my brand and take all of that into consideration as my job of an influencer. In all honesty I still just consider myself a blogger and don’t quite know or think to call myself anything different. But I’m loving and embracing this shift in “influence” and honestly, I kind of love it. I’m not choosing to degrade the word or myself by considering myself one. I’m choosing to embrace the shift.

At the end of the day, I share what I love, why I love it and I hope ya’ll are along for the ride!

Much love friends!


Photography by Sarah McAffry