Sginstababes Answers: What Does It Mean To Truly Be An Influencer?

“Hi Mrs. Li, your child is being a shitty influence in influencer school. She is teaching the other kids how to promote products by parading around in her lingerie! And shoutout-ing for weird brands that aren’t even relevant to her brand image! We suggest she quickly posts some classy (CLASSY HOR) bikini photos so the followers keep coming ok? That’s all.”

If only it was that simple.

Believe it or not, this is actually a rising issue. The circulation of a certain marketing video recently has led to a public out-lash on influencers and wannabes (henceforth referred to as influenza) alike. But the biggest question is: what is an influencer?

By definition, an influencer is someone with at least (tens of) thousands of followers on their social media networks. They are always at the hottest events and regularly touting the newly-launched products. They hang out day and night with gorgeous friends as glamorous as themselves. They are #squatgoals and #squadgoals. Followers, inspired by these influencers’ lifestyle, strive to live up by replicating their outfits or photo poses. Some go as far as to study the brands of lingerie their favourite influencers wear. We are not judging!

But we are curious. What does it truly mean to be an influencer? What does an influencer do that differentiates them from their virus counterpart, the influenza?

We asked 15 InstaBabes for their take on this tricky issue and why do they look up to people who influence them.

Carmen (@carmenvictorialim)

To me, it’s truly not about the number of followers or likes, but more of the respect and response you get. It is about the followers’ response to the portrayed image of you for them to see online and offline – which includes not being fake about the things you do, say, review.

Love what you do and never force yourself to do something uncomfortable or forced. Reject sponsorships and collaborations that do not align with what you truly feel about them. Honest reviews are the most important!

Followers follow you because you influenced them with something you did or said that resonated with them, leading them to be inspired by you every day. So never let the numbers bring you down! Stay true to what you do.

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Julia (@julxlia)

A true influencer is someone who others can look up to and learn from their ways. Someone who isn’t afraid to show who they truly are and is comfortable sharing their life stories so they can inspire others. What most people love about an influencer is how open they are about their lives, sharing their problems so we, as followers, know that we are not alone in our situations and experiences. In conclusion, just be yourself and enjoy what you are doing! It will influence people in the right way.

Pearlyn (@pear.egg)

To be a true influencer, you must be a specific individual who makes an impact on the community, be it individually or as a whole. Having a wide social media following helps, as it indirectly gives you the important privilege of being trusted by others in what you say or advertise! As an influencer , you have a lot of people looking up to you and having diverse interest in the things you do, such as your lifestyle, is the key as you might be the next trendsetter. Most importantly, being entertaining and inspiring are the key steps to being a true influencer!

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Anissa (@thatsnini)

Being an influencer is just like being a “role model” to your readers/followers. Not only should an influencer produce great content (cause that’s mandatory), he/she should also be true to him/herself. An influencer must be someone who is passionate about what they love, pursuing inspiration and happiness over those materialistic matters. Influencers should work/collaborate only with companies they genuinely love and not for the sake of gaining fame or freebies.

Additionally, influencers should share both sides of the coin when they are giving their reviews on any given product – unbiased opinions on the good and the bad of a brand, product or service. How can you expect your readers/followers to trust you if you’re just fabricating your opinion on a product if it is not as good as what it seems? That’s an issue of content reliability.

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Nicole (@minicolee)

A true influencer is simply someone who is meticulous at what they do. They are so meticulous that they are the cream of the crop of their respective fields. And in watching their pursuit to excellence, I, as a follower, am inspired and influenced by what they stand for.

Right now, there are too many chefs in the kitchen. Everybody wants to be an influencer; everybody wants to be the next top chef. But most ‘influencers’ don’t have a differentiating factor. They just post picturesque photos and expect that to be it. No need to be the best in their chosen field; just a gorgeous shot of their latest eyelashes would do. Throw in a couple of photos per month on their latest reviewed product and they mint themselves as an influencer.

I beg to differ. What I believe a true influencer should be is someone who is undisputedly the top (few) in their field. You’re a fitness influencer who goes to the gym daily and posts motivational stories; you don’t need to sell your product to me, I’ll buy whatever you’re using in a heartbeat. You’re a beauty icon who takes flawless photos of your makeup-of-the-day and stunning flatlays; you don’t need to plug in your new collaboration in a caption, I’ll hunt them down from your photos.

The difference between an influencer and a wannabe is how much your follower wants to be you; not simply because you have a shit ton of followers and nice photos, but because they truly believe that you’re the best in what you do, and they are inspired to be like you one day.

Ulrica (@ulricaluvzxc)

An influencer means you influence a certain target audience. You don’t do it just so you can gain more followers, views or earn more money – you do that because you love doing what you love and people will look up to you. You need to have your own personality and not copy what other people are doing just to impress your followers. At the beginning, people might not notice you. But you should not be bothered by that – as long as there is one person still looking up to you, you would be content. In time, there will be more and more people supporting you doing what you love the most as long as you stick to your target audience.

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Bibi (@bgjmx)

In my opinion, being an influencer simply means being able to positively impact your followers on whatever issue the influencer wants to make a difference in. It also encompasses being a respected role model that people look up to, to be inspired by to chase their own dreams. Another important aspect is the ability to connect with the followers, to build a relationship between them to better understand them and improve based on followers’ reactions.

Beatrice (@beatriceloo)

A true influencer is someone who has the ability to change the audience’s mind-set, actions, and maybe even values. An influencer is akin to a leader with a fair share amount of viewers and followers who are inspired by, or who agree with what the influencer does.

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Alvina (@musicalvina)

I feel that an influencer should be true to their products. Influencers get sponsored products daily, hence knowing their products well is crucial in being able to influence others to believe their words. Being genuine is important! Nothing is better than being yourself, because you are YOU. If you’re genuine in your product reviews – be it bad or good – it shows that you are being true. This way, people will gain trust in the influencer. In a nutshell, being genuine is key.

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Julynn (@julynnlau)

An influencer means that you’re able to influence a group of people –be a target audience or just amongst your peers. You’re able to set trends, be role models, and have people look up to you. This means that you’re in the center of the spotlight – we want to know your shampoo brand, your skincare regime, we will do as you do.
To truly be an influencer is to have your own style, to not be swayed by anyone, because you’re the influencer. So don’t take each and every advertorial that come your way – ensure it suits your target audience, the people who are interested in the things you do. If you’re taking each and every advertorial given to you whether or not it aligns with your style, you’ll end up being a wannabe, or what they call, doing-it-for-the-money.
Do it because you love it, not because you’re being influenced to influence others.

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Melissa (@melissa.ang)

An influencer’s status is given when someone has a respectable number of followers. However, I feel like there are no “true” influencers, just people whom have grown their numbers via different methods. The opposite of a “true influencer” (for sake of this topic) would be labelled as a “fake influencer”, recognised as people whom have grown their audiences by methods not used to inspire/ educate/ enlighten or support any cause.

Which leads to; how did they get the recognition? To me, “true influencers” get their recognition (aka fame) by doing something admirable. (Taking for example Beyonce’s feminist movement that has inspired millions across the globe or Obama’s presidency as a symbol of hope and progress.)

In summary, no one should practice to BECOME an influencer. Fame and recognition will come to those whom have passion over their own subjects. Be it a junkie for beauty and fashion; an undying love for food; passion in (online/ photo or broadcast) journalism; or a fitness enthusiast, I’ve learnt that “true influencers” stay true to their passions and share their knowledge, ideas and tips to the audiences whom respect their credibility.

Dawn (@dawn.yyy)

The word influencer simply means a person who influences. It can be a person who has that 1 friend who gets influenced by you – and there you go, influencer! In a way, everyone is an influencer. However, a true influencer should definitely be a positive influence to the audience while being true to themselves. An influencer should not be based on their number of followers; but on the quality of their content and honest opinions. They should not advertise whatever products given to them, but instead give their honest opinions. Influencers are just ordinary people, labelled so only because they influence a group of people. But at the core, a true influencer is still dependent on their personality and positivity.

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Serene (@serenetsq)

An influencer should be able to inspire their followers in the topic of expertise that they are in. They should share honest reviews of the product they are promoting. I think that being honest in reviewing the given product is one important key point as followers wouldn’t want to purchase something that is not true to what the influencers reviewed.

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Annabelle (@fluffehh)

A true influencer should use their social media to influence and reach their audience, brightening their timeline with positive vibes. When the influencer’s social media platform grows, companies would naturally reach out to them.

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Eunice (@eunicellx)

Being positive and motivate others to be too.


What about you? What do you think constitutes as a true influencer? Let us know in the comments!

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