Should your Kids Become Social Media Influencers?

I have been a blogger and freelance writer since my girls were toddlers. It has been so much a part of our lives that they almost instinctively ask, “Can I open this, or do we need to take pictures first?” In recent years, I have stepped back a bit from constant social media sharing. Yet, as my daughters have grown and their Instagram and Snapchat follower counts have grown--more and more brands and businesses ask them directly to share products and services on their feeds. Should I let the kids join the social media influencer frenzy? What are some pros and cons of kids becoming social media influencers?

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Social Media Takes Away A Lot of Privacy.  My kids play safe online--but they share a lot. Sometimes--they probably share too much, too many details and too many pictures. My initial argument against allowing them to take on influencer roles was a concern for their privacy. In reality--they share a lot. They share trips, events, plans, daily lunch menus, pictures of the cats, sports practice before and after shots. Social media has already taken much of their privacy by their own choices. Having said that--it is still essential that parents research social media influencer opportunities and offers and help the kids create posts and shares that can both meet requirements and keep them safe from online predators.

Being a Social Media Influencer Takes Time and Effort. Being a social influencer looks like a lot of fun--and can be a lot of fun--but it is a job. Staging photos and maintaining social media accounts is time-consuming. It is best to make sure that your child only accepts products and brands that genuinely fit their interests to make the necessary work seem less chore-like. Maybe your teen would love to be a self-care influencer. Take that route and skip the requests for video game reviews or cat collars!

Social Media Influencers Make Money.  As parents, this could be a pro or a con when dealing with money-making children! Before the kids launch that toy reviewing YouTube channel or accept sponsored payments or products for sharing online--parents should take the time to understand the tax implications and the legalese associated with minors working. I would encourage parents to discuss payment processors and tax details with an accountant or legal advisor before the money and products start to roll in! Meeting with an advisor lets you get everything set up legally, ethically, and correctly from the get-go. Now--the plus side of this is that social media influencers make money doing what they do--and this is a cool way for kids who are not quite old enough for a traditional, part-time job to make a little spending money.

Should Kids Become Influencers or Affiliate Marketers?  Recent years have certainly brought a shift toward influencer marketing--but, many brands and companies still approach my daughters with affiliate type offers. I think this is a personal preference--but, I think my kids are more able to manage brand requirements (and brand relationship disclosures) for influencer marketing than they are to manage affiliate links, developing brand relationships and all of the extra promotional work needed to make affiliate marketing a success.

While becoming social media influencers offers families fun opportunities to earn money or products without the structure of a traditional job--it may not be the right path for every family. Weigh the pros and cons, consider your family’s personalities and goals--and expect to set some limits to preserve family privacy and traditional family time!

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