Being an influencer is fast becoming a dream career for many people around the world and Condé Nast Italia is now reportedly offering a three year degree in social media influencing. 

However, not all academic institutions will offer such specific qualifications for those wanting to pursue a career in influencing. Of the more general degrees that are offered more widely, which are most helpful for those wanting to become an influencer? 

The experts at Lickd have put together a list of the best degrees to give budding influencers a competitive edge. The day-to-day lives of influencers involve a lot of digital work, editing, uploading and planning but what other skills should you develop if you want to make a successful career out of social media? 

The best 6 degrees for influencers to have: 

Marketing, communications, PR

Creating content that people want to engage with is one of the most important skills for influencers, and is something that you’ll learn in any marketing, communications or PR-related degree. Being aware of different marketing techniques can help influencers understand how to land brand deals which, if negotiated correctly, can be extremely lucrative and often form the majority of successful influencers’ salaries. 

Eleana Overett, Pro Creator and Social Media and Community Manager at Lickd, says,

My shelf is full of marketing books. Every How-To YouTube book I’ve read has been too basic and stereotypical. I asked my friends who did marketing degrees for their recommendations and have learned more about understanding audiences and what catches on from them than anything else.”

Having a good understanding of how the media works can also help aspiring influencers to build their profile and attract a larger following. Blogger, actor and influencer, Urszula Makowska, who has amassed a following of over 25k on her Instagram account, @urszulala says, “If I had to choose one thing that I wish I knew before, it would be how important it is to build press coverage and get your name out there!”

Photography or videography 

A huge part of being an influencer is content creation, and a good understanding of how to take photos and videos is a big advantage. Courses that teach you how to use camera equipment and editing software can instantly give you a competitive edge. From travel to fashion, there are a number of photographers turned influencers. 

Having the knowledge and understanding of what makes images look good and how to enhance them is crucial. Amber Faust started her career as a family photographer, but after taking maternity leave she realised she could earn enough money to support her family simply by taking pictures of them and posting them to social media. 

 

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A post shared by amber faust (@faustisland)

Eleana comments:

People often think the thing that will make their video look better is to break the bank and buy a £4000 camera, when they can probably achieve most of what they aspire to by learning how to use what they’ve already got properly.”

Nutrition or sports science 

Food, fitness and exercise influencers are more popular than ever but unfortunately it is an area of social media that is plagued with misinformation.  If you want to become an influencer in this space make sure you have the proper qualifications. Anyone giving out health information and guidance on social media should have a professional understanding of healthcare themselves. 

Dr Alex was a fan favourite on popular reality TV show, Love Island and has since cultivated a social following of over 1.8 million. He’s used his growing influence on social media to help inform people of the latest health advice and has since  been appointed young mental health ambassador for the UK. However, none of his recent successes would have been possible if he didn’t have a degree in medicine.

 

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A post shared by Dr Alex (@dralexgeorge)

Fashion 

Fashion influencers are among the biggest in the business. A degree in fashion will equip you with a breadth of knowledge, from textile design to styling, as well as how to combine creativity with the technical skills needed to succeed in this industry. 

Eleana says:

If you’re making a YouTube channel about a particular niche or topic, it definitely helps to be an expert in the subject, or at least have definitive knowledge that you can fall back on. It gives you authority in the space, particularly in over-saturated categories like fashion.”

Julia Sarinana (AKA @sincerelyjules) went to college in California to study Fashion and Merchandising and used that knowledge to build a following of over five million. She now has a net worth of $1 million. 

 

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A post shared by JULIE SARIÑANA (@sincerelyjules)

Beauty

Beauty influencers are beginning to turn their social media channels into real life businesses, with lots of them bringing out their own lines of beauty or skincare products. If you want to offer advice on beauty, it’s important to understand exactly how products work, what ingredients they have in them and how they interact with each other before you give guidance to others.. 

Dr Sandra Lee (AKA The Pimple Popper) has used her knowledge from her medical degree to become a viral sensation and even has her own TV show now. Lots of other beauty influencers have taken a more traditional approach and are qualified beauticians – providing their followers with helpful tricks and tips to look and feel good.

Financial accounting 

While it might sound like a strange fit for an influencer, if you’re looking to turn a passion into profit then having an understanding of finance is crucial. Huda Kattan is known for being a beauty influencer, but she actually has a degree in finance which may be why she’s had such great success turning her interest in beauty into a multi-million dollar empire. 

 

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A post shared by HUDA KATTAN (@hudabeauty)

Being an influencer means you’re self employed, so having a good understanding of finance will help you while you’re running your own business. It is also useful knowledge which can help when negotiating contracts and brand partnerships. 

Eleana highlights:

“A lot of creators join management companies purely because the business and financial side of the equation can be really hard to navigate – don’t even talk to me about the stress of filling in a tax return as a creator. If you already understand how to build a business, you’ll definitely have an advantage and you can keep that cut for yourself.”

YouTube growth expert at Channel Fuel, Tom Martin recently said,

“The traditional YouTube is an artist first, but it’s far easier to come in as a marketer who is already savvy at running a business.”

What are the most popular types of influencers?

Influencers come in all shapes and sizes and if you dig deep enough you’ll be surprised at how niche influencer communities can get. If you want to stick to the mainstream, some of the most popular types of influencers are: 

  • Beauty 
  • Fashion
  • Fitness
  • Food
  • Interiors 
  • Travel 
  • Gaming

While this list isn’t exhaustive, it highlights some of the most popular influencer routes to go down. It’s possible to become an influencer for any subject, though, as long as you offer a unique perspective. Getting a degree in a subject you are passionate about would give you the credentials and authority to be able to own the topic as an influencer. 

If you don’t have a subject you are passionate about yet, then degrees which offer a broad range of transferable skills will help.