Influencers have the charisma to show picture-perfect lives, and hardships are a part of that hustle too. The dilemma? How do you convey this to your endless followers who look up to you every single day?
From the business perspective, 74% of people trust social media and influencer opinions for their purchasing decision. Moreover, businesses spend $25,000- $50,000 on influencer marketing. Is the pressure of being brand ambassadors overpowering reality or, can influencers share hardships more acceptably?
Here are five practical ways to normalize hardships without having a negative impact on your audience.
Millions of audiences out there know half-truths about your lives and are curious to connect with you realistically, including knowing your hardships and appreciating you to be truthful. Humanizing your social media channels, being honest about your challenges on public platforms or networking events, and sharing what you are doing to change your situation, elevates your status to someone relatable. Let your audience know, that person who they admire and look up to went through pain, adversity and failure, before becoming who they are.
Knowing the extent to which some influencers go to glamorize their social media handles, Unilever announced in 2018 that it would not work with influencers who buy followers. According to Unilever chief marketing officer Keith Weed, such marketing “encourages dishonest business models and is misleading.”
Address the purpose
Share with you audience that moments of pain are necessary and teach us to find the purpose greater than our pain. As an influencer with over 400,000 followers, here is how I spoke about turning my personal pain into a lifelong purpose on TedX Talk. Great leaders have emerged from hardships, and it is the challenges that inspired them to influence others. Whether you had a complex relationship with your company head, overcame a severe health challenge, or a financial crisis, don’t share your hardships but the lessons you learned and how you grew as an individual.
Converse with your audience and talk to them in a personalized tone, eg. “I am sharing this with you because….”, Today I’d like to share something that will connect our purpose to…”. Talk as if you share a common problem.
Focus on the transformation
Hardships also instill a sense of humility and make your voice more believable. Sharing about your hardships doesn’t mean you talk in a complaining or aggressive tone. Focus on how you could transform your situation, improve your skills and also appreciate your life better. Remember, your audience is always looking up to you and wants to know the choices you make in life and how you respond to every situation.
Show your audience that how your personal journey and negative experiences also build your character, and resilience that make you feel no amount of adversity can ever make you feel down again. Influencers like Jessamyn Stanley and Ana Alarcon, who have more than 20,000 followers, are normalizing self-acceptance by being proud of their non-skinny body shape on social media. Being honest as an influencer reflects your personality as someone who is bold, care less about the popularity factor, and is authentic.
Hardships are a stairway to succeed.
An article published on The Drum highlights, only 4% of the audience believe what influencers say online. You have a fan following as an influencer, and your audience is interested in knowing the ‘how do you do it’ for every step you take in your life. Use this opportunity to engage with your followers and speak to them about both sides of your life.
Whether you are a marketer, a celebrity influencer, or a well-known corporate leader, share your journey, not forgetting to tell how failure or hardships are like the difficult steps while climbing the ladder of success. Tell your audience, the person who they admire and look up also goes through failure and faces challenges, before becoming who they are.
Step up from your comfort zone
Sharing the positive side of the story is convenient and attracts more followers. However, it does not guarantee if your audience is engaged and believes everything that you say. As a marketer, you may be spending your day in the sunny weather working hard with your team to produce content. As a chef or a hotelier, you have the major task of organizing a successful wedding or, as a photographer, your daily hustle extends to shooting in unfavorable conditions. and hooked to your influencer lifestyle.
Sharing something beautiful, positive, and attractive every day is convenient. As an influencer, talking about your hardship is bold, authentic, and attracts loyal followers, if not millions. You may not always have the perfect life. It is essential to be true to your purpose and focus on how you can make a difference in someone’s life. Doesn’t matter if it is one or hundred.