Is the ‘Camfluencer’ life for you?

10 things to know before kickstarting your social media career at Cambridge

Spend your supervisions dreaming of sponsorships? Think you can juggle followers with formal hall? Well, with a growing number of influencers making their mark on the Cambridge community and beyond, you’re not alone. Here are 10 things they want you to know before becoming Cambridge’s next Kardashian…

kim kardashian GIF by KUWTK



1. It’s all about luck

Both the blessing and the curse of the influencer lifestyle is its accessibility. While quite literally everyone and anyone can gain a following; there’s no instruction manual. And if you ask any of the Cantabs of TikTok just how they came to wake up with more notifications than emails, the story tends to be much the same: an experiment, a joke, that one TikTok they posted from their drafts at 3 pm on a Wednesday afternoon.

As such, particularly with social media platforms relying on the tantalising accessibility of the influencer lifestyle in the creation of their algorithms, it really is just about just getting started.

2. Play the game

However, social media success isn’t always a game of chance. It requires the sensitivity to spot trends, the instinct to tap into them, and the creativity to make them your own. And by ‘trend’ I don’t just mean the latest TikTok dance move – the savviest of the Cambridge social media stars have noticed that even personality can be built on what traits will gain traction at any given time.

Building an online persona that is on-trend is equally as important as the content you create, and indeed perhaps it’s this scope for creativity that makes a social media career so attractive for a Cambridge student.

3. Post, post, post!

Particularly in the beginning, your primary task is to establish a strong presence – you can’t grow a following if there’s nothing for your followers to engage with!

Again, while this does create a certain degree of pressure to continually create content that is individual yet focused and cohesive, I’d argue that we all do this every week anyway!

Take the dreaded weekly essay of the humanities student – the same principles apply: we’re consistently expected to produce work that is original, engaging and of high quality – and Instagram is a lot easier to please than your supervisor!

4. The need for speed

Audience obsession with ‘the hype’ and ‘trends’ is both the rising social media star’s greatest ally and worst enemy. The fast-paced nature of the world of social media has caused the rise and fall of many a TikTok star, and it’s crucial to always be one step ahead – from the newest social media platforms to the next TikTok earworm, quick reactions are critical.

And again, with the Cambridge terms being the equivalent of an eight-week sprint, I’d argue that this is what we do best.

5. Use your voice

Being a student at Cambridge seems to come with an innate sensitivity to social issues, and a desire to advocate for a better world through meaningful causes. So, it’s no coincidence that Cambridge influencers seem to see this as one of the greatest advantages of having a platform.

As you grow a following, it can be easy to stay away from controversial topics, opting for style for fear of the consequences of substance.

However, a strong value set and passion for specific causes acts as a valuable tool in building a community of followers who are like-minded and engaged.

6. It’s a balancing act

This  ‘social media persona’ seems to be built on a fine balance between authenticity and self-marketing. While it’s crucial to retain a sense of personal identity and values in your social media presence, it’s also important to tune in to accentuate the parts of your life, values and identity that gain the most traction.

Ask yourself what parts of your day or elements of your life do you think would be most interesting to capture?


7. Find your brand

A social media career is essentially a business with you as the manager, marketing and product. It’s key to build your brand around an element of yourself that is unique – what’s the one thing you can offer that many people can’t?

Indeed, many Cambridge-based influencers don’t shy away from making use of their education – as many of you will remember from before becoming a student here, a Cambridge education has long been the subject of fascination, particularly now on social media: why does it look like Hogwarts? What’s a supervision? What’s with the gowns?

8. Start small

Especially with Cambridge life taking up so much of our time, a social media side hustle is becoming an increasingly popular way to start getting some money in the bank, and with businesses more aware than ever of the power of social media marketing, it’s a uniquely lucrative opportunity.

However, if you are looking to start reaping the financial benefits of social media, don’t expect that Function of Beauty sponsorship to come rolling in overnight.

Start small – reach out to local businesses or student-run online stores or start-ups, many of which are always looking for ambassadors and marketing!


9. Here today, gone tomorrow

Social media seems to shut doors as quickly as it opens them, and indeed many of Cambridge’s own have struggled with concerns regarding ‘cancel culture’ and losing the ‘hype’.

However, despite the potential transience of social media fame, it’s always important to keep the long-term goal in mind.

Many Cantabs intend on using their social media fame not as a long-term career, but as a stepping stone to new opportunities – using it to build transferrable skills from creativity to marketing.

10. You’ve got the power!

One thing that is agreed upon among all influencers, from Cambridge and beyond, is that social media is a lesson in persistence. Persistence, however, seems to be exactly what a Cambridge education is designed to teach us.

When all you need is your phone and a touch of inspiration – who wouldn’t want to give the ‘Camfluencer’ lifestyle a go?

Feature Image Credit: Izzy Grout and on Instagram

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