So, You’re a Social Media Influencer. What Did That Get You?

Geoff Livingston
4 min readApr 17, 2022

Some people want to become an online influencer on a platform like TikTok, a technical forum, or multiple venues. I usually ask them, “So, you’re an influencer… What did that get you?”

The question intends to provoke a discussion about why someone would invest so much time and energy into cultivating a large and engaged community. Some offer very well thought out motives, others are unsure. Lack of clarity usually means someone has quite a journey ahead of them.

Understanding the Necessary Effort

Me and George Takei. I paid for the shot at a ComicCon, despite my 20,000 Twitter followers then 😉

Becoming an influencer is not easy. In most cases, people are not aware of the effort to achieve this level of notoriety. To develop some semblance of an engaged community, one needs to invest hours every day. It becomes part of your daily routine.

You need constant investments in content, community commentary, and analytics to optimize your effort. Days stretch into months and months stretch into years. It can become exhausting on a personal level as time marches on, at least it did become so for me.

There is a reason why companies hire people to perform social media marketing for them. It requires a significant commitment of time and resources. That is even more true of a person trying to become influential online.

Investing that effort means that someone usually wants to accomplish some sort of a breakthrough. That may be for a business, themselves, or a cause. Whether you want to market something, create value as a subject matter expert, serve a larger social cause, or develop personal brand equity to garner monetary sponsorships, knowing that goal is essential.

Start with the End in Mind

This young lady is watching the Marasi Primary School World Environment Day Celebration from her classroom. I shot this photograph on behalf of Audi USA in Kenya, a project I won because of my social media presence and marketing.

When cultivating influence and attention, you want to have the outcome in mind. Then you can invest the time and resources necessary to achieve a specific outcome. Then regular videos…