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I decided to become a #influencer. How hard can it be? | Sophie Hagen

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Фor the last two years I’ve been trying really hard become a #influencer. I just wanted to # influence people to live their best lives, to find their inner strength and – well, I wanted free stuff. If you can’t win, join. Capitalism, that is.

After all, I have 100,000 subscribers Instagram who listens 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 for it? I would rather have them pay me than someone who hasn’t me. I say: I wanted to do a very easy job #influence and get a lot of money for it.

I guess when you read the Guardian, you frown reluctantly while sucking on an avocado, because #influence is empty and superficial. But are you really telling me that if someone offered you £ 1,000 to take a picture of the aforementioned avocado and post it on Instagram using the hashtag #avocadosrule and tagging in the @avocado post, wouldn’t you be tempted?

I swore: I will never lie. I would never recommend something that I haven’t used or would like to use myself. And I wouldn’t stop being myself on social media: I would keep writing about social topics. If the brand didn’t like it, I wouldn’t be working with them. It’s time to take my followers and turn them into cash.

I started with a few #gifted skin care products and a gold card for my favorite restaurant where you can eat anything you can eat. Someone offered me £ 800 to publish my photo in neon green thongs, but I’m not sure if it was a brand deal or if it was just … a man.

Then the #influencing agency signed me – as the actual #influencer. I was so excited. I laughed when my new agents told me that they would certainly give me some training – until I realized they weren’t kidding. I reviewed the seven apps I needed to be a content creator – it turned out that the average photo had to go through at least three photo editing programs before it could be published – and I was taught about hashtags and algorithms.

It is best to post in the morning or evening: then people go to work or relax at home. Do not publish on weekends; people are not on their phones. You can hide your hashtags in the comments section and they still work. Distinguish photos of your face, body, food, beauty and nature. Follow one color scheme across the grid. Once you publish a post, spend half an hour commenting on people’s comments: Instagram rewards participation by showing your post to more people.

And so on.

Then my house was dismembered. My plates were all shiny – they should be matte. My countertops also shone – I would need to get special backgrounds for photo shoots that look like fancy marble counters where you can pose for food. Now I keep noticing how everything shines: my cutlery, my photo frames, my forehead. All of this is not very #Instagrammable.

I got such a lot of respect for #influencers. You need to get up early, because the morning light is the best. You should have a neat – and matte – house. Your food always cools down because you need to photograph it forever. You need to understand the complex and ever-changing algorithms of social networking. You need to plan ahead and think strategically. It’s a full-time job, not just a fuss. I’m desperately clinging to my work as a comedian and trying to combine the two: being funny in my #sponcon (sponsorship content) so no one notices the mess in the background, or what’s dark outside because I slept until 4pm.

Of course, beauty standards suck, materialism is the worst, and “perfect” posts on social media make people feel very insecure. But it’s hard for me to blame women who have found a way to get rich by taking advantage obsessive beauty and perfection, toxic and capitalist system. Because it is way harder than it seems. Unfortunately.

Sophie Hagen is a writer and comedian

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