For the last two years I’ve tried really hard to become an #influencer. I just wanted to #influence people to live their best life, find their inner strength and – OK, I wanted free stuff. If you can’t beat him, join him. Capitalism, that is.
Since I have 100,000 followers on Instagram who listen to what I say, to whom I often recommend my favorite products and services, why not check to see if brands want to pay me to do so? I’d rather they pay me than someone who isn’t me. What I’m saying is: I wanted to do the very easy job of #influencer and make a lot of money for it.
I guess since you read the Guardian you frown with disapproval sucking off a lawyer because the influence is tasteless and superficial. But are you really telling me that if someone offered you £1000 to take a photo of the aforementioned lawyer and post it on Instagram using the hashtag #avocadosrule and tagging @avocado in the post, wouldn’t you be tempted?
I made an oath: I would never lie. I would never recommend anything that I haven’t used or don’t want to use myself. And I kept being myself on social media: I kept posting on social topics. If brands didn’t like it, I wouldn’t work with them. It was time to take my followers and turn them into cash.
I started with a few #gifted skincare products and a gold card to my favorite all-you-can-eat Sunday roast buffet restaurant. Someone offered me £800 to post a picture of me in a neon green thong, but I’m not sure if it was a brand deal or if it was just… a man.
Then an #influencer agency signed me on – as a real #influencer. I was so excited. I laughed when my new agents told me they were, of course, going to train me – until I realized they weren’t kidding. I was guided through the seven apps I needed to be a content creator – turns out that an average photo needs to go through at least three photo editing apps before it’s worth buying. to be published – and I was taught hashtags and algorithms.
It’s best to post in the morning or evening: that is, when people are on their way to work or relaxing at home. Do not post on weekends; people are not on their phones. You can hide your hashtags in the comments section and they still work. Differentiate photos of your face, body, food, beauty and nature. Stick to one color palette on your grid. Once you’ve posted, spend half an hour commenting on people’s comments: Instagram rewards engagement by showing your post to more people.
Then my house was dissected. My plates were all shiny – they should be matte. My table tops were shiny too – I would need special backgrounds for the photo shoot that look like fancy marble counter tops to put my food on. Now I constantly notice how shiny everything is: my cutlery, my frames, my forehead. It’s very not #Instagrammable.
I’ve earned so much respect for #influencers. You have to get up early, because the morning light is the best. You have to have a tidy – and mate – house. Your food is always getting cold, because it takes forever to take a picture of it. You need to understand the complex and ever-changing algorithms of social media. You have to plan ahead and think strategically. It’s a full-time job, not an easy hustle. I find myself clinging desperately to my job as a comedian and trying to merge the two: being funny in my #sponcon (sponsored content) so that no one notices the mess in the background, or the fact that it it’s dark outside because I slept until 4 p.m.
Of course, beauty standards suck, materialism is the worst, and “perfect” social media posts make people very insecure. But it’s hard for me to blame the women who have found a way to get rich by taking of a system obsessed with beauty and perfection, toxic and capitalist. Because it is way harder than it looks. Unfortunately.