September 10, 2018

My personal thoughts on influencers


For a person that creates blog templates herself I'm actually quite a digital fossil. Especially when it comes to social media I'm still living under a rock. The whole thing is just not my cup of tea so to speak. It could be my age, but it's probably more a personality trait. I find social media to be really overwhelming. That's why you won't find me on Facebook or Twitter, but I have a personal account on Instagram. The account is more for myself, to play with photography, and just collect some visual memories. If people like to follow along, please feel welcome, but I personally don't care if I have 5 followers or 5000.

WHAT IS AN INFLUENCER?

With the growth of social media new concepts made their way into our lives. One of them being the 'influencer'. I'm sure you have heard of the term, but if not, here is the description that Wikipedia gives:

Influencer marketing (also influence marketing) is a form of marketing in which focus is placed on influential people rather than the target market as a whole. It identifies the individuals that have influence over potential customers, and orients marketing activities around these influencers.

Basically a company will use a person with a large social media following to promote their products via their social media posts. Often, these posts are made to look personal while the purpose of the post is purely commercial. The results they gain from this form of marketing seem to be huge, since more and more companies start hiring influencers to market their product or service. Simultaneously, the number of influencers is growing. Companies are not only using celebrities with social media accounts, they also hire bloggers and vloggers with a large following to get their message across to their potential clients.

We are all influencers in some way, shape or form. I'm an influencer for my kids and I probably even influence my cats in some way, I'll leave it in the middle if that is in a good or bad way ;-) But from a marketing perspective I'm not a very interesting influencer. With almost 100 followers on my Instagram account no company will ever hire me to promote their product. 

MY PERSONAL TAKE ON INFLUENCERS


I get that we all have to make a living to provide for ourselves and maybe our families. So if you are doing so by being an influencer and promoting other people's products and services I wish you all the best. Personally though I'm not a fan of social media posts that appear personal but have a very strong marketing purpose. They often seem so fake. Here are a few posts from people I follow myself that really made me cringe: 



I doubt if Whitney Port really uses that soap in her kitchen and if Tori Spelling is turning on her blender each morning to make that shake. You might wonder why I am following them in the first place, not for their marketing content obviously. No, it's because a part of what they post is personal and authentic, and that is the part that speaks to me, the part that I can relate to. Unfortunately for the soap and shake companies I'm not their target audience.

Okay, so I don't like obvious sponsored content in a personal social media post. But I can get past that part since I understand that these influencers are just trying to make a living. In the end we all have to eat and pay our bills. But the thing that really annoys me is that some of these influencers take it to the next level: asking for free stuff just because they are an influencer.

I've recently had it happen to me in the Etsy shop where I sell Blogger templates. I got contacted by a lady who claimed to be representing a very important influencer. This influencer was looking for a new design for her blog and asked if I could make it for her in return for some exposure. I checked out this so called influencer and her blog had hardly any interaction in the comment section and on Instagram she had around 18K followers. Now, that is of course a whole lot more than I have myself, but 18K is not that much in the world of marketing. I honestly think that the 'representative' that contacted me was the influencer herself, trying to come across even more interesting by acting as her own manager. I kindly replied that I did not do freebies and that she was more than welcome to purchase one of my designs. Never heard of her again of course.

INFLUENCERS, PLEASE BE AUTHENTIC


If your ambition is to earn your money as a social media influencer, please go for it! I can totally understand that this kind of job can make people really happy. But please be authentic. Authentic in the way you write your posts and authentic in selecting the companies to work with. Work with companies that offer products and services that appeal to you personally and that you would use yourself. Only then will you be able to create a sponsored post with that personal, authentic feeling to it!


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