In the world of content creation, it’s often assumed that you need to have a perfect smile, an impeccable sense of style, the “perfect body”, an outgoing personality, and a camera-ready face. But is that really the case? Can you be a successful influencer without showing your face? The answer is an emphatic yes! Let’s explore how.
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When I started my blog in 2009, I did not show my face in any of my photos. I didn’t even have a photo of myself in my about page; it was an illustration! Similarly, when I started my YouTube channel in 2015, I rarely showed my face. I mostly produced top-down style videos that showed my making various crafts or decorating. When I did show up on screen, it was for a brief and very awkward introduction or narration.
I landed my first blog sponsors in 2013, and my first big blog & YouTube sponsor in 2015. This was well before I started more frequently showing myself in my photos and videos. The takeaway? It’s 100% possible to build a successful content creation business without having to be seen. The majority of my blog posts, social media posts and my YouTube videos do NOT have my face or body in them, and they do just as well (if not better!) than the ones where you can see me. Most of my YouTube videos have me in the intro, but I find it’s beneficial to have less shots of me talking, and more shots of my actually DOING the decorating, DIYing, etc.
Why I Love Podcasting
When I started the first iteration of my podcast in 2021, I played with sharing a video of myself podcasting each episode. I quickly learned that I didn’t want to video myself talking, so now I simply upload a graphic to go with my audio when I upload these podcasts to YouTube. For me, I love to be able to sit here in my sweatpants with messy hair and a coffee, not worrying about being judged for how I look. This happens to me constantly when I show myself on YouTube and other social channels, so the podcast is a much-needed break from showing my face and my body. I’m not sure if I’ll ever change my mind and decide to video myself talking through the episodes again, but we’ll see!
Breaking Down the Influencer Stereotype
Firstly, it’s important to understand that the influencer industry is ever-evolving. A few years ago, the term “influencer” was synonymous with models and celebrities who had millions of followers on social media. Today, the landscape has diversified, with many influencers choosing to remain anonymous or semi-anonymous.
There are numerous examples of successful influencers who have chosen to keep their identity under wraps, such as the popular ASMR artist, Gibi, who only revealed her face after gaining significant popularity, or Practical Wisdom, a YouTube channel sharing tips & tricks on how to manage your money wisely.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Not Showing Your Face as a Social Media Influencer
In the realm of social media influencing, the decision to show your face or maintain anonymity yields its own unique set of benefits and drawbacks. Let’s delve into these:
Benefits of Not Showing Your Face
1. Privacy: The most apparent advantage is privacy. You can maintain a personal life separate from your online presence, avoiding the scrutiny that often comes with being a public figure.
2. Focus on Content: When influencers don’t show their faces, the emphasis is placed entirely on their content, whether it be writing, voice, or artistic work. This can lead to a deeper appreciation of the actual work, without the distraction of physical appearances.
3. Freedom of Expression: Anonymity can provide greater freedom of expression. Influencers may feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas without fear of personal judgement or bias based on their appearance.
4. Broad Appeal: By not showing your face, you could potentially appeal to a broader audience. People from different cultures, age groups, and backgrounds might relate more to your content, as they aren’t influenced by your physical appearance. I’ve also seen people make videos without faces and without narration, using solely video and music to reach an even larger audience all over the world.
Drawbacks of Not Showing Your Face
1. Limited Personal Connection: Many followers build a connection with influencers based on their personality and lifestyle, as shared through photos and videos. Not showing your face could limit this personal connection.
2. Missed Opportunities: Certain opportunities like modeling contracts, personal appearances, or video collaborations may be off-limits if you choose to remain anonymous.
3. Difficulty Building Trust: It can be challenging to build trust with your audience when you remain faceless. People tend to trust those they can see, making it easier for them to connect on a more personal level.
4. Potential Misunderstandings: Without facial expressions and visual cues, there may be room for misunderstanding. Your content may be misinterpreted without the additional context that visual representation provides.
The decision to show your face as a social media influencer largely hinges on personal preferences and the type of content you create. Both paths come with their own unique opportunities and challenges, and what works best will depend on your individual goals and comfort level.
The Power of Content
The key to being a successful influencer, whether you choose to show your face or not, lies in the content you create. It’s all about connecting with your audience and providing value. If you’re able to deliver content that resonates with people, they will follow you, regardless of whether they know what you look like.
For instance, if you’re a food blogger, your followers are more interested in your recipes and cooking tips than your personal appearance. If you’re a crafter, people want to see what you’re making rather than what you look like. Similarly, if you’re a book reviewer, your audience wants to hear your thoughts on the latest bestsellers, not see your selfies.
Building a Brand Identity
While you may choose not to show your face, it’s still essential to build a strong brand identity. This could be through a unique writing style, a distinctive aesthetic, or a consistent theme across your content. Your brand identity is what makes you stand out from the crowd and keeps your audience coming back for more.
Do you use your own voice to narrate your videos to keep the audio consistent? Or do you use a specific drawing or animation style in your illustrations and videos? How about colours – can you use a consistent palette throughout your work so people can identify your content? There are a lot of ways to build a strong personal brand without actually showing your face.
Engaging Your Audience
Engagement is crucial in the world of influencer marketing. Responding to comments, asking for feedback, and creating a sense of community are all ways to engage your audience without showing your face. Remember, people follow influencers because they feel a connection, not because they want to see someone’s face. You can create this connection by being warm and friendly through your written or spoken words.
Content Ideas without Showing Your Face
There are a TON of content ideas that you can try that don’t involve showing your face or your body. For example:
- tutorials & how-to videos (shoot them top-down or from the neck down)
- cooking blogs & videos (shoot them top-down or from the neck down)
- home hack videos & blogs (show your hands only doing the hacks)
- screen recordings (chat through a tutorial on how to do something online, like graphic design)
- photo slideshows
So, can you be a successful influencer without showing your face? Absolutely! By focusing on delivering high-quality content, building a strong brand identity, and engaging with your audience, you can build a successful career as an influencer, regardless of whether you choose to reveal your face or not. In the end, it’s about authenticity, passion, and connection – and these qualities transcend physical appearances.
I’d love to hear from you: does the thought of having to show your face hold you back from starting a content creation career? Would you consider starting one or growing your current influencer gig if the pressure of showing yourself was off? Let me know in the comments!