June 24, 2024

7 Reasons Why You Should NOT Be an Influencer (If You're an Artist)

7 Reasons Why You Should NOT Be an Influencer (If You're an Artist)

Are you tempted to compromise your artistic vision and values for the "riches"  of influence?

In this Creative Checkup discussion, you'll be introduced to  7 compelling reasons why you should resist the temptation to become an influencer as an artist. 

We're pointing out, with no holds barred,  that the thought that these two paths are interchangeable is actually dangerous to your creative life. 

This episode, taken from our LIVE Creative Checkup that happens every Friday at 1pm, will demonstrate:  

  • How prioritizing influence over artistic expression can erode your core purpose and creative fulfillment
  • The mental and emotional toll of constantly chasing validation and maintaining a carefully curated online persona
  • Strategies to cultivate authentic connections with your audience that transcend the superficial nature of social media trends
  • Practical ways to harmonize your artistic endeavors with necessary business and marketing efforts, without sacrificing your values

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[00:00:01 - 00:29:31]
It happens every time you open your Instagram or your Facebook. You're seeing another person who is telling you how you can become an influencer, how you can sell products, how you can get brand deals, how people can pay you just to show up and talk about things. And as artists, it can be pretty tempting because we see a lot of these influencers that seem to be making a lot of money and getting a lot of followings. But is that what we're called to? Is that what you should be doing? Should you be showing up on social media as an artist, trying to be an influencer? Well, if you have already clicked on this link to listen, you probably figured out that I'm not in agreement with that. My name is Allen. I'm the host of God and gigs. And we are here to help you realize that you don't have to become an influencer to make it as an artist and a creator. And we're going to give you seven reasons why in this creative checkup episode of the God & Gigs Show.

Just give me a moment to welcome those of you who are new to our show, and then we'll get right into this super important conversation. Hello and welcome to our show. Thank you so much for making this podcast a part of your creative day. And if you are new to our show, let me tell you, you are in the right place, my friend, at the right time, because you have joined with your fellow artists, creatives, musicians, freelancers, content creators. All of us are in the intersection of faith, content creation, artistry and entertainment. But all of us have a heart for God, and we have a heart to thrive as everyday artists doing what God has blessed us to do, no matter where he's shown us to do it, whether inside or outside of a church.

 So you are in the right place at the right time. Make sure you, like, subscribe, do all the things that will allow you to stay connected with us on the app that you're using right now. Well, my friend, we are talking about this crazy world of influencing. And that was not a term that we used just maybe 1015 years ago, but now it's on everybody's lips. And some artists, like us, are caught up thinking we need to be influencers. But we did a creative checkup. We shared this on a live stream, but I wanted to make sure I brought it to you as well so that you could hear that you don't have to be an influencer to make it as an artist. And they are two totally different areas. We talked about the seven reasons why you don't have to be an influencer, and you probably shouldn't ever try to be one. 

Now, again, if you are in this area, we're not trying to. But last, influencers. We're just making it very clear to artists that there are definite differences in those two fields. And we're giving you some ideas on how to capitalize on your strengths as a creative so that you don't get mixed up or compromise yourself trying to do something or be something that you're not. My friend, I talk about all of this. We had a lively discussion on the live stream, so if you want to go check that out, you can also do that on YouTube through our channel. Just click the link in the show notes to connect with our YouTube page. But for now, here's the audio version of our creative checkup on the seven reasons why you should not try to be an influencer if you're an artist, the reasons. The seven reasons why you should not be an influencer if you are an artist. There are seven clear things I want to point out that will help you see the difference between being an artist and an influencer. What an influencer really tries to do and is trying to do that doesn't really jive well with being an artist, a creative, a freelancer, a faith focused, God focused creative. There are just some things that don't connect the dots between being an influencer and an artist. So we're going to start with this, okay? So we're going to start with the fact that there are different goals for an artist and an influencer. An artist and an influencer have different goals. And at the bottom, you'll see there that little quote, all artists have influence, but not all influencers are artists. And here's why I'm making that distinction. I said at the beginning, as before, I was starting to, you know, start the presentation part of this, that I'm not picking on influencers. Influencers might be extremely talented, gifted, creative. All of those things are probably even artists in their own right, in some way, shape or form, because that might be even how they started their platform. And then they realized they have even more influence in a certain way. So now they move more into a certain branding, sponsorship type thing where they really focus on that. I'm thinking of a couple of influencers right now. That one is a football player, one was a gymnast, and they created this thing around their, their lives, and they really become like influencers. And it works, right? It works for them. The problem is, again, is the goal has also shifted. If you become an influencer, your goal is no longer simply to make art or simply to create a community. It's also to keep this machine of influence. It is a machine, influence machine running. It now becomes a goal of yours to create more sponsorships, to create more buzz, to do all these things that influencers need to feed the machine of their career, which, again, nothing wrong with it, but it's not the same goal as an artist. An artist's first goal is to create art that moves, builds, creates, connects people together with something that they believe in in terms of their art, not necessarily the brand or the sponsorship. This is. I want to talk about this later. This does not mean that artists should not look for sponsorships and brand sponsorships, things like that. That's not what I'm saying. But I'm saying that your initial goal as an artist is not to influence someone, to buy things that you buy or to sell things that you sell or anything like that. It is the art itself that is the initial goal. To create it, to present it, to make it special, to bring people into this community who also love it. That is your first goal. 

So the top goal of an influencer is not the same as the top goal of an artist. I want to make sure that this makes sense to you, as I'm saying it, because maybe you thought an influencer and an artist were the same thing, but now you're saying, oh, wait, an influencer is building something that an artist or a creative is not necessarily building. So that's the first reason why you should not be considering yourself an influencer if you're an artist, for the very fact that there are different goals. There's simply different goals. So, reason number two that an artist should not try to become an influencer is because it makes you dependent on algorithms and social media to reach the people that you're trying to reach. Now, this is a sore spot for many of us as creatives, as artists. I hate the fact that even as a musician, I have to keep coming back to talk about social media. As a podcaster, I have to keep talking about social media. As a composer, as a songwriter, I don't want to think about social media all the time, but I have to talk about it as a creative. Just that's the way the world is. But this is even more so the case if you are an influencer. As an influencer, you are dependent on social media strategies, things to reach people, because your whole career depends on the volume of your audience. And the volume of your audience usually comes from social media. So if you are an artist and a creative, but you're saying, oh, I want to influence people, guess what? You've just signed up to be a social media expert. Even more so than if you have to market your branding or your artistry. Okay. And I have some backup on this. Okay. I can't read this unless I blow it up, so give me a second, because my eyes will not adjust. Here it is. An influencer is commonly viewed as an individual with an influential, engaged, and large following, at least a thousand followers on social media. I think for many people, that's even bigger. They expect it to be bigger. Their rise to popularity can largely be attributed to the creation of viral social content or notoriety outside of social media, through which they acquired a large fan base. Did you see the key that I just wrote down that I underlined? If you're listening viral social content, their rise to popularity is usually because they went viral or they were not had notoriety they had, they were famous outside of social media, and those people followed them onto social media. Do you guys see why this is a totally different thing? If you are in social media, your branding, your influence, all connects the dots to those people. And the people that you're trying to influence, they're there. You technically can't influence them outside of those areas. 

And the third reason why artists should not consider themselves influencers is the audience is loyal to the content, not the influencer. The fact is that if you're trying to be an influencer as an artist, as someone that is creating art for a living, that wants to create, and again, we're being very expansive here that this includes the performing arts, the visual arts. It includes content creation for entrepreneurs that are coaches, consultants, freelancers. This includes all of us. Okay? But the key definition that we're switching from is my goal is to influence an audience to. My goal is to create something that is very strong in terms of what I create, and then it influences people. As we said at the top, all artists are influencers in a way. Every artist has influence, but not all influencers are artists, okay? That's the key. And Ingrid says over here on Instagram, very true. Being an IG artist doesn't mean you are an artist. You put artists in all caps. Exactly. Okay. So the audience in influencing is very loyal to the content. If you are a makeup influencer, they love makeup, and they want to hear what you have to say about makeup. But if you come up on the next week and you start talking about your bird feeding hat, they are not going to follow you. Cause they are not following you for bird feeding, and they're not following you for your ideas on Shakespeare or poetry or politics. They are following you because you talk about makeup and you give them the content that they are looking for. Artists, creatives, all of us. Listen to me clearly. We as artists, should continue to nurture the freedom you have to change to different types of things. But because you've built a relationship with your audience, they want to follow you on the artistic journey.

Let's just talk about some of the folks that we love to death who have been doing totally different things in the few years. Let's talk about Andre 3000. Should we. Andre 3000, rapper extraordinaire, legendary rapper, and what did he just put out? Oh, that's right, a flute album. And guess what? It was a best selling flute album. These people were not loyal to the content because if they want to just rap, they were, like, sorely disappointed. But many people said, I believe in Andre 3000. I'm going to follow him and I'm going to listen to this meditation, flute, bass flute, whatever, because Andre 3000 is a dope artist. You can't discount that. Let's go some other ones. Let's go to all the legends. Michael Jackson. We had the Motown era. We had the thriller era. We had the dangerous era. We had all those times where he reinvented himself. They were loyal to the artist, not just to the content. The content changed radically. We're not downing on influencers. We're saying artists. We got to be careful, because I, too, get envious of the influencers. I get envious, and I try to compare myself on social media with, oh, well, I should be doing what they're doing. And I got to remind myself, that's not my calling, not my goal. Let's keep going. I love this. Number four, we talked about three reasons why you should not be an influencer if you are an artist, okay? Number four, it's all about business and commercial partnerships. Let's be honest and clear. It doesn't mean that artists, we should not be making business deals and making commercial partnerships. Some of the best art is made because people are willing to sit down with a business person, sit down with a grant writer, sit down with someone and say, how can I benefit you? How can I promote you? All these artists that are creating these cool new tv shows eventually have to sit down with a producer that says, hey, we need to make some money here. How are we going to promote this product? How are we going to get some advertising artists? I love the quote by Gustav Holst, which I believe he said, I prefer businessmen to musicians. They are so much more interesting because sometimes musicians just want to talk about music and they don't want to talk about life and business. People sometimes can open your eyes to all the other things that you need to deal with in the real life of being a thriving musician and artist and creative. But the distinction is the influencer depends on the artist, on the, sorry, the business and the commercial partnership. No partnership, no influence. Why? Because you always have to have something to sell. As an influencer, you need to influence some people. To do what? To buy something. If you're just influencing them in terms of thought or reasoning or philosophy, that's great, but that's not going to get you paid. Influencers depend on the commercial partnership and the brand deal. Again, does this mean you shouldn't look for that as a creative? No, it just means an influencer has to. As an artist, you are able to diversify to both your partnerships, and you can add on things like your membership, like I have a guide and gigs 360 gold. You can add on other things like the podcast, like I'm doing. As I just mentioned, keep the musicplaying FM, which we started during a live stream series during COVID and it became a community, which now became a podcast, which now eventually will also bring value back in the way that I'm promoting other artists. So it gives you so many other avenues that I'm sure the influencers will be, oh, there's ways we make money too. They're different than this. Yes, but you cannot lie that it is really revolving around your ability to create partnerships with other brands. As an influencer, as an artist, that's not our style. That's not what we stick with. Okay, so just hear my heart on this. If you are an artist, don't rely on business and commercial partnerships. Focus on making art and communities that people will support and then bring those partnerships into that community. Reason number five, that you should not be an influencer, if you are an artist, is the effect on your mental health. It is all too clear now that social media and influencing has taken a toll on people, to the point where, sadly, we've seen some people actually want to take their lives because of the popularity and the desire for perfectionism and all of that, that you present this perfect image on social media, this perfect image for people that you cannot let go. And then you either see people walking away from six figure and seven figure businesses because their pressure is too much. I just heard on a podcast that I was listening to that mentioned that if you are on social media as like YouTube and things like that, they love you when you're there, they forget you when you're gone. And it's very clear that if you are using this as your one way of making yourself known is by being an influencer, you're setting yourself up for emotional and spiritual, I might say, problems, because all the focus becomes on you. This does not mean that artists don't deal with the same thing. It just means it's a whole different beast. Artists, we can sometimes lean back on the fact that what I'm creating for myself, if nobody watches this, I still want to make art, I still want to sing, I still want to draw. I don't care about the fame, I don't care about that. However, an influencer, once again, must have someone to influence. The art can exist without an audience. An influencer cannot. Your art does have room to live outside of your life. It can grow. It can be its own thing. And you can just do what you want to be and be someone living in the hills in Montana and never be on the Internet and yet make this stuff and they can go out all over the world and you don't have to be there. The art stands for itself. The influencer. You have to be there all the time, front and center. You're the face of the brand. You have to be that person. So that is a clear reason why. Friends, please don't consider influencing, if you are even at the highest, the slightest bit concerned about your ability to manage your ego, your perfectionism, your desire to be liked, your people pleasing codependency, any of those mental issues are going to be highly exacerbated if you go into being an influencer. I myself have had to deal with this just as being an artist and a creative literally right now, knowing that people will either be turning this off, shutting it off, unsubscribing to my YouTube, unsubscribing from my Facebook, unsubscribing from my emails every day, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection, rejection. I'm learning to make my peace with that. But the pressure on an influencer again, because brands and all these other Things are so heightened, it is super cooked that you really, really have to ask yourself, is this worth it? And I think that the people who are doing this, they're finding out. I want to quickly bring up this comment, Lenora, you're right on it. Today my sister Lenora says, absolutely, the pressure to maintain and sustain is inhumane. Social media is a realm based outside of actual day to day reality. Can we please put that on a poster and put it on I 95? Can we? Will you allow us, my sister, to put that up there, my singing sister, because, lord, you just spoke truth there. The pressure to maintain and sustain is inhumane when it comes to social media. It's literally a place that we were not built to exist. I've heard people say this. I'm going to go off the tangent, guys. I apologize. Sales going to do this presentation style, but now we're in a conversation, so whatever. I heard somebody say that we consume more information on our phones in a day than people in the last 100 years consumed in a lifetime. You get more information by scrolling Instagram for 30 minutes than some people got their entire adult lives because they were simply out working, living, whatever. Read the newspaper. Done, right? Newspaper. There's the news. I don't know anything else except what my friends tell me. That's it. Now we have access to the entire world's information. Now, put this on an influencer where your job is to be the dispenser of that and make people think of something different than they're thinking and make them buy something that they don't want to buy again, do we have to do this as salespeople, as people who create, as people who need to market? Yes, but it's not our entire livelihood. So I am absolutely 100% on this. Donnie over on Instagram says, so can an artist use an influencer as a way to promote his art? That is super interesting. Yes. The quick answer is yes, right? Like, clearly they're able to say, hey, if an influencer loves a piece of art, yes. I think that could be, like, an interesting marriage where they could actually help each other. Um, I just wonder how, again, like, is the artist going to. How are you going to work out that payment thing? Uh, is it a brand deal? Like, it's. It's kind of weird, but my first quick answer is yes, but just off the top of my head. And it would be a very interesting thing to see how that partnership would work. And then the other side, I would say that's very concerning, is what does the influencer expect from the artist? Because then the artist becomes like, you get a crank out this, crank out that, crank out that. Like, now it's become words. A machine again. Right? So that's a very interesting comment, though. I love the idea of just, hey, maybe these worlds can. They can help each other. Okay, let's go on to number six. And this is a big one, obviously, for God and gigs. If you are an influencer, you are also an artist, especially a christian faith focused artist. You have the risk of compromising your values. And it goes without saying that if you are in line with brand deals, with companies, with all the things, and especially the value of humility, it is very hard to be an influencer without compromising your values, because you are simply, number one, beholden to a company. The brand values that they have, and if they change, now, you're connected to that brand. This happens to everybody, by the way, but we just have to be very super careful. And then the second half of this is whether or not your own value as a person is compromised because you become the person that you feel you have to say the right thing, do the right thing, kind of goes back to that perfectionism thing, right. That is what we were trying to avoid, is being something we're not. And to be an influencer, I think, oftentimes calls on you to be something that you're not, or at least present something to the point that you're not honestly being who you are. That because the influencing requires you to show this Persona and that can compromise your values. Thank you so much, Lenora. She says this is a very necessary discourse. Thank you so much. I appreciate that, because I was really worried about, again, whether this really made sense to people as our artist community. Is there something that's affecting us? But when, again, when Sandra said it, from 90 day winds, when she said it and then I thought it, I was like, okay, there's two of us, at least, that are. That are concerned about this. Number seven, last but not least, the reason why you should not be an influencer, if you are an artist, is because it distracts you from your art. This is so key to why I think social media and being an influencer and all those things make it so hard for us to see where we sit in terms of the marketing of our art. I'm. Right now I'm spending so much time thinking about how I can market my creative life, my music, that sometimes I forget to write. I forget to. I forget, like, hey, I got to get off the computer, stop trying to do Facebook ads, and just go write a song. It's already hard, as a creative to focus on the art and the stuff that I want to make. It's already hard. Now, add to that, now you want to be an influencer. Now you want to spend more time focusing on the audience, on the brand deal, on the partnership deal, on all those things. I think that's a huge distraction from what God put you here to do. Now, again, do you have to do the things like market, brand, deal, focus on the audience, your email marketing, things that I talk about. Again, the second half of gigs, right, the gig part. The gig is all of the things that go along with creating your music, creating your art, creating your drama, creating your. Your poetry, creating your coaching program, your consulting program, all of those things. Yes. That all goes with marketing. It goes with being in business. We're okay with that. What we're not okay with is adding excess distraction. And being an influencer is 100% a distraction from being an artist. I will stand on that one. I'm going to take that and plant my flag there. You cannot fully be an artist and fully be an influencer, one or the other. It's like when God says, you cannot serve both God and mammon. You cannot serve both artistry and influencing, you can't. One is going to win. You're going to want to be an influencer more than you want to be an artist, or you're going to want to be an artist more than you want to be an influencer. Those two will not coexist. All right. And so I'm going to end my little presentation, my slides this week, with this quote, which I think really kind of points out what the distinction is. Mark Chagall said, if I create from the heart, nearly everything works. If from the head, almost nothing. And I think influencing, again, you can be super creative as an influencer. I'm sure you can. But let's just be honest. As an influencer, you're creating from the head, you're thinking, what will move people? What will make them buy? What will influence them? Why would they follow me? What can I do to create some my marketing? What can I do to create my. Increase my brand? What can I do? What can I do? What can I do? What I do? All from the head, art. Let's just say as my devotional, your art, God's heart. Okay. It comes from the heart. I saw another quote that I really love that didn't post this one, but it said, if the art does not start from the heart, I want nothing to do with it. I think that it was Van Gogh or Picasso or someone like that. So, my friends, I hope this made sense. The seven reasons why you should not be an influencer. If you are an artist, we'll go through them quickly. If you can remember all seven without going to the slides. First one was that they have two totally different goals. Two totally different ideas. Okay. The second, you're beholden to the algorithms once you join the social media world. The third one, that you have to know that your audience is loyal to the content, not necessarily to you. Okay, actually, I'm going to go back to make sure I remember number four, because I think that was three, we're going to go back. Three was the audience is loyal to the content and not the influencer. Four is all about the business and the commercial partnerships. Five is your effect on your mental health that it can really devastate that? Six, we just talked about risk of compromising your values. And seven, it distracts you from your art, my friend. I hope that shows you why you don't have to become an influencer to have influence. And in fact, your creative gift and your creative calling is more than enough to help you diversify your income and find ways to make a living doing what you love without having to go into tactics and strategies that don't fit your purpose. Well, my friend, if you need reminding of that very fact, if you feel like you're alone in this, that you get caught up in comparison, that you have projects that you cannot seem to get through or to stay accountable to yourself to finish, that's why you really need some creators around you to become your tribe, to help you grow the way that you want to grow. Because the people around you know what you want to know. If you want to get that kind of synergy with people that love what you love and want to grow that way, you got to get involved in Gottingigs 360 gold. We've created this place where you have a safe place to find that accountability, community training and support, not to mention all the tips and strategies that we're talking about on this podcast on a daily basis. And you can do so in a group format where we have our own app and we have our own community that's not ads or Facebook or anything else that gets in the way of you becoming the confident creative that God created you to be. Check out the links in the show notes for our offer right now to join up to God and gigs 360 gold. There are already several members, including our established creative experts, many of which have been on this very show, who are waiting there to help you grow and to become that confident creative that's thriving in every area of your life, which is why we call it 360. Well, my friend, I hope that has really blessed you. If you want to make sure you stay connected with us, go ahead and follow subscribe on this very app that you're using right now and stay connected with us so that we can bring you more information and inspiration every single time a guiding gig show episode airs. So until next time, continue to become the creative that you were created to be. God bless and I'll see you next episode.