Student social influencers on the rise

Photo of FAMU student Kenderia ”KD” Moore. Photo courtesy: @airdnek on Instagram

Social media plays an increasingly important role in marketing and sales. Before the creation of social media, businesses, organizations and other types of companies used different methods for marketing products.

TV commercials, radio ads and posters were all used for promoting new products. But now most companies use social media and social media influencers to get the word out about upcoming products and services.

Social media influencers have played a big role since 2006. And it has increased significantly since then.

On the webpage for IZEA, it says, “In 2006, founder and CEO of IZEA, Ted Murphy launched PayPerPost.”

This was believed to be the first marketplace to pay bloggers to create content for brands. This was the start of modern influencer marketing on social media. A social media influencer is a person who has built a reputation for their knowledge and expertise on a specific topic.

More recently, a lot of products are being sold over the internet, but before buying most consumers check the reviews of the product they want to purchase.

Social media influencers play a big role in sales when it comes to promotions. If a person’s favorite influencer posts a picture of something they are interested in, that person is more inclined to purchase the product just because someone they like also has it.

As social media becomes more accessible to teens and young adults, students have been taking advantage of this.

For some, being an influencer came naturally and for others it was always a part of their life plan.

Ariyon Dailey, a Florida A&M alumna, has been using social media since 2012.

“My first one ever was Instagram!,” Dailey said. “So I just stick to the OG. But after that it was Snapchat, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and now TikTok.”

TikTok, which started getting popular in 2018, is a social media app that allows users to act, dance, sing, or do whatever they want.

Dailey is a naturally funny person and always imagined being known for her comedic personality.

“I always thought I would be one of those people famous for being funny because I just like being silly,” she said. “But once my hair started getting attention, I got more into it. There are dance tutorials, cooking tutorials, life hacks and a bunch load of other content for users.”

Some may think being an influencer is all fun and games, but as told by Dailey, “It’s real work. You can’t half step or try too hard to where it’s not authentic.”

Being a student is hard work and being an influencer on top of that can add another load to a person’s plate.

“Balancing school, work, and social media is definitely a challenge because it takes a lot of effort and strategy to go into all these things,” Dailey said. “It takes focus.”

For senior health-care management major Kenderia Moore, being an influencer came effortlessly. Moore says that she has “always been a tech savvy person.”

“Even as a child, I was always trying to learn something new,” she said.

In 2007 Moore had to “sneak and make a MySpace account” because she knew her grandmother wouldn’t like it.

“I instantly fell in love with being able to customize my profile and add music,” Moore said.

Moore, who goes by KD, has Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts, where she likes to “stay somewhat current with what’s going on in the world, more so in a sense that I’m able to find new ways to express my creativity.”

When asked if she could give any advice to upcoming influencers, Moore said, “Just do it, but be yourself.”

She believes that the true prize in influencing is “representation.”

Chazriq Clarke, the King of Orange and Green at FAMU, has been using social media for roughly eight years.

“I first started in eighth grade in middle school,” Clarke said. “It’s been a long time since then.”

Clarke, a theater performing arts and business administration major, said he has had challenges being an influencer while managing  school.

“I think the hardest thing about this new light that I’m in is exactly that in itself,” he said. “Every time I meet people in person, they assume they already know me due to my influence on social media.”

Having thousands of followers “sometimes gets overwhelming,” he said. But for Clarke, being an influencer isn’t his main priority.

“I don’t really care about getting more followers or influencing more and more people, I just want to share who I am with the world,” he said.