The notes I’d written down to prep for this episode of the podcast :

What is happening now in the social media industry is the same that’s been happening in print / mag, so it’s not new. But it is more visible and there’s more of it.

This has to be a long-term thing. To understand what is involved in having a career as a social media influencer and to then strategize for the long run. Slow and steady growth. Consistency. Sustainability.

“Youth is not an impediment to influence.” ( From the Hindustan Times piece written by Vir Sanghvi. ) Example of my recent cover shoot for HTBrunch where prior to the shoot, I sought advice from two early-20 year olds.

Marketing and PR departments and agencies are responsible as much as the influencer. Client brands must educate themselves.

Talk about the conundrum related to attending events for example. Some influencers are attending each and every event they have been invited to. Are they being paid? Because attending events is work for a social media influencer. If they are not being paid or even asking to be paid, is it because the PR agency has no budgets to actually hire the real influencers? A lot of it is the age-old wanting to be “seen”. For me, this is work and I rarely attend events unless it is part of a larger campaign that I am working on with the brand.

Pitching “thought-leadership” features to brands rarely works – budget / time constraints. Everyone wants quick results. Doesn’t help brand building. Brand building takes time and effort and of course, money.

If you weren’t a social media influencer, what would you be doing? Pursue that as well. We’ve moved through print / TV / billboards / blogs / Instagram. There might be something new tomorrow. Will your current career transfer well?

“How much for one Instagram post?” is the most frequent enquiry in my inbox. It is not the right way to build a brand. But if you’re giving me the money, why will I say NO?!

Differentiate between “reviewing” and “experiencing”. An expert may have the skills to review but an influencer can experience something, document it & share the documentation online. An influencer is building awareness. I hate the term “influencer” but that’s what being used.

Example of a good brand building gig utilizing social media : my gig with JW Marriott Mussoorie.

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