Ten years ago, YouTube pioneers started creating content to share and promote products they like. In those days, “content” was just called “videos”, and the products were those they bought themselves. It wasn’t long before brands saw an opportunity to leverage the audiences these early influencers were growing. But according to recent analysis by Hyland Media (#notsponsored), only 17% of influencer audience is valuable. So why should brands keep doing it?
The Influencer Mood – Do you think the influencer industry has a bright future anymore?
Another definition of INFLUENCER we came across just recently- An individual with a significant following on social media who is influenced by brands to promote their products to said followers, via free products and trips and cash payment per promotional post. The purpose is to persuade followers to purchase such products. Popular medium of choice for influencing: Instagram but not limited to Facebook and Snapchat.
Dubai-based influencer Zahra Lyla wrote on her first blog post of 2018, “With the rise of social media, I feel like content posted online no longer has substance. I browse through Instagram rolling my eyes instead of being inspired. It’s either an image of a half-naked girl (to each their own) or someone twirling around and captioning it ‘mood.’ How is that doing anything for anyone? Yes, it’s cute the first time around but when it is being shoved in my face over and over again, it just makes me resent being in this industry.”– Something that all of us feel at some point, even being readers/viewers.
Things you shouldn’t do as an Influencer
This might sound like a guide on how to be a good influencer in today’s time. But it’s not! These are the things our influencer generation is teaching us. Some of them we might be familiar with, if not take a look at this:
- Picture perfect lives: Most of our dream life inspiration comes from Pinterest timelines or Instagram feeds and we feel bad for ourselves, mainly because we’re light years away from living that dream life. These fashion gurus always seem to have their outfit, makeup and hair on fleek along with the life they lead on a daily basis. That actually isn’t the case! They choose to show the good parts about their life and skip out on the normal, boring routines. Most of the influencers out there even photoshop/edit their images to make it look Instagram-worthy.
- Paid Interaction: Why is it that every influencer you see has followers more than 15-20k? Why nothing less? Majority of influencers go for paid interaction which means they buy followers to let their competitors and the brands they have potential business deals with know that they’re genuine and they have an audience that worships them. Although paid interaction isn’t the way to go because it might give an indication that their content or relationship with their followers isn’t genuine.
- Cultural Misappropriation: Even some of the best influencers, bloggers and fashion moguls intentionally or unintentionally are victims of Cultural Appropriation which means “the unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, ideas, etc. of one people or society by members of another and typically more dominant people or society.”Simply put, it is when someone adopts something from a culture that is not his or her own – a hairstyle, a piece of clothing, a manner of speaking, even a type of exercise (yoga, for example).The problem arises when somebody takes something from another less dominant culture in a way that members of that culture find undesirable and offensive. The point is that the more marginalized group doesn’t get a say, while their heritage is deployed by someone in a position of greater privilege – for fun or fashion, perhaps, and out of a place of ignorance rather than knowledge of that culture. Take Kim Kardashian’s ‘Kimono’ shapewear for instance.
- The love for fast fashion: With slow fashion and sustainability on the rise, fast fashion is slowly facing its downfall – except for influencers and the audience who loves to switch up their looks from time to time. This being the main drawback that fast fashion teaches us, its hard to let go for fast fashion when we have influencers giving us picture perfect looks from time to time with cheap and inexpensive clothing options for the rest of the world.
- Misleading information about sponsored products: Apart from spreading information regarding their love for brands and its specific products, at times you don’t really know if its all genuine and worthy of making a purchase. Brands pay influencers to review their products in exchange for a barter service. Because of that, you don’t know who or exactly what to trust on social media.
From the IKF Desk
It appears that influencers are taking a real, hard look at themselves and are as turned off by what they see as some brands and most followers today. What is left but to move forward, and morph into something new? And yet, only a handful of influencers—with work validated by the industry and general public—have the potential to trade their likes in for cash and spearhead empires like Kattan or Chiara Ferragni. In other cases, they will go backwards; humbly gather up the remnants of their blogger past from among that crumpled heap of last season clothes. Back to the keyboard. Fortunately, recycling has always been in fashion. With all this and the awareness already created about how the influencers gain traction do you think the influencer industry has a bright future anymore?