We are living in the “Age of Social Media”, a time when anyone with an internet connection can create content, express their ideas, and even make money via the digital world. This boom in digital interactions has led to the creation of countless platforms: from blogs, to YouTube channels, Instagram, and other social networks, anyone with access to the internet can simply create an account and begin to gain visibility. As a result, competition within the digital content creation sector has greatly increased. The problem is that some people begin without having the slightest idea of what being a “Digital Influencer” really means; what kind of impact they are capable of having, and what is needed to be successful.
What’s wrong with today’s influencer marketing scene?
Hi everyone, my name is Julia and in this video we are gonna be talking about digital influencers. We are living in the “Age of Social Media”, a time when anyone with an internet connection can create content, express their ideas, and even make money. From blogs, to YouTube channels, Instagram, and other social networks, anyone with access to the internet can simply create an account and begin to gain visibility. As a result, competition within the digital content creation sector has greatly increased. The problem is that some people begin without having the slightest idea of what being a “Digital Influencer” really means. So let’s start off by first talking about “what is a digital influencer?” The term “Digital Influencer” refers to bloggers, Instagramers, YouTubers, Facebookers, or anyone using their internet presence to be influential on social media platforms. The clear aspiration of any Digital Influencer is to create an engaged community of followers, meaning that they must earn the trust of their audience. This is done by portraying honesty and by creating quality content. If we look back to 10 or 15 years ago, we can see how much things have changed since then. At that time the name “Influencer” didn’t even exist, and it was almost impossible to make a career as a digital personality. Nowadays there is an ever-growing number of Influencers, and it has been proven that being one can earn you a decent amount of money. The problem is that the intention behind becoming an Influencer has changed dramatically within the past several years. It seems that the majority of today’s Influencers care mostly about the numbers, whether it be followers, likes, or money. The next thing I want to clear up is: Who are this so-called influencers? Contrary to popular belief, having a beautiful Instagram feed, good numbers, or being a public figure doesn’t automatically make someone an Influencer. The power to influence is found in the impact that content has on followers, and not necessarily number of likes, number of followers, or attractive photos. For example, if a famous actress posts a picture promoting a certain lipstick, and shortly after the lipstick stock sells out, it means that her post has influenced a large number of people to actually buy that same lipstick. This would be an example of a public figure who is acting as an Influencer, but this isn’t always the case. The same misconception can occur with any attractive instagram account. Being cute, stylish, and having good numbers doesn’t automatically mean that an account has an influential impact. The type of impact we are talking about is obtained by a personal connection between an Influencer and her community. The connection has to be strong and genuine for an Influencer’s opinion to be considered valuable. When an opinion is considered to be valid and valuable, it can end up influencing the interests, beliefs, choices, and purchases of followers. Next I want to talk about one of the biggest mistakes made by influencers these days, it is not being transparent about being paid to post sponsored content. An Influencer’s audience should have the right to know when they are viewing content that has been sponsored by a brand or company. For those that work exclusively as Influencers, without any other side job or business, it can be extremely stressful and difficult to make money without being involved in paid content. And there’s nothing wrong with that, but they shouldn’t hide it from their audience! Paid content works like this: A brand messages an Influencer and tells her how much they like her content, her ethics, her image, or whatever, and they explain that they have a product or service that they would like to advertise. Let’s say that a lipstick brand offers an Influencer 2, 3 or 4 hundred $ to publish a photo or a video promoting their product. This seems like an offer that very few of you would refuse because lipstick is a common everyday product and not something out of the ordinary. It’s easy money and so very hard to say no. That’s why we are now facing a very sticky subject that I want to clarify, which is paid opinions The offer of relatively easy money is very hard to refuse, making paid opinions more and more commonplace. If an Influencer is not truly convinced nor genuinely interested in a specific product or service, she shouldn’t promote it. It’s also dangerous territory for an Influencer to speak badly about brands and products as it can jeopardize the possibilities of future partnerships with other brands. So the best option is to refrain from posting about a product if it is not something the Influencer truly believes in. Another problem we are facing is that brands are using influencers to advertise in the same way that they would use traditional marketing. Traditional marketing platforms, such as television or magazines, typically hire a model or a public figure, prepare a set, write a script, and place their promotional content as an advertisement. That means lots of planning, lots of time, and lots of monetary investment! Influencers, on the other hand, use their own social media platforms to express their personal opinion through self-produced content without any assistance from the company. A true Influencer should be able to speak her mind, but the problem is that nowadays some Influencers are using the promotional text provided to them by the brand. Of course there is nothing wrong with advertising, but publishing a brand’s fabricated text as if it were the Influencer’s genuine opinion is dishonest. Brands already have their own platforms, techniques, and budgets to advertise their products. Influencers should stay true to their platform in order to protect their reputation and community. For any Influencer it pays off to be sincere and most of all, transparent. If you want to become an Influencer, or even if you already are one, you have to believe in yourself and the content that you offer to your subscribers. Do not allow a brand, or anyone else to take advantage of your hard and honest work. We all have seen the typical shampoo commercial with a public figure flaunting their beautiful hair. The shampoo brand is using traditional marketing along with the public figure’s image to advertise. Combining a beautiful face or a recognizable public figure to a brand or product is a method that has been used for what seems like forever. But the general public knows that this public figure mey not actually use that shampoo every day. And there’s nothing wrong with that. On the contrary, it’s much different if an Influencer really uses a shampoo and is asked by the brand to promote the product. They are using their image and honest opinion to be influential and make an impact, not to advertise a product that they actually aren’t using. An Influencer should be seen as an honest person who explains their personal experience and opinions about a product or service for their community’s consumption and benefit. Ok, so now I’d like to put an end to the myth that youtube pays large amounts of money. When it comes to YouTube, it’s true that a YouTuber can directly earn money from the platform, but it’s not as profitable as you may think. Youtube only pays well to those who have millions of subscribers and millions of views. Dedicating all your time and resources to becoming a YouTuber in hopes to earn a decent salary is very difficult and even risky, that’s why partnerships with brands have become so popular. The problem lies again in omitting or hiding the fact that a video is sponsored by a brand. In order to find solutions to the problems I just mentioned I want to touch on 3 different entities: The brands, the influencers and the followers. The solution with Brands lies in their understanding and awareness of the true essence and impact of digital influence. If brands understand how impactful an Influencer can be, they will be more likely to treat Influencers appropriately, especially in regards to payment, resources and freedom of speaking their mind in their own words. When it comes to Influencers, the solution lies in honesty and transparency. In order to achieve this, Influencers must be truthful about what they really like, and communicate clearly with brands if they are not interested in a product. They also must be able to negotiate or even politely refuse a contract if it’s not something they truly enjoy using. A good Influencer must put an end to dishonest behavior, like hiding the fact that their content is product sponsored, or using brand provided text in hopes to trick their audience into believing it’s their personal opinion. And everyone of us, as a follower and part of an Audience, can also be part of the solution. We must be aware enough to perceive when an Influencer is being honest or not. This doesn’t mean that we should criticize an Influencer’s work and leave nasty comments. If you don’t like someone’s work or don’t agree with their ethics, you don’t have to follow them. For example, you wouldn’t go to a restaurant that you don’t like just to complain, right? The same goes with social media. Everyone has the power to contribute to the promotion of honest Influencers and help diminish the presence of dishonest Influencers on social media platforms. Influencers should be aware of what they truly are; not a salesperson, not a model in a commercial, a diva, nor superior beings. An Influencer is not a better or worse person than anyone else. What makes an Influencer different is that they are exposing themselves and their opinions to a large group of people that listens to what they have to say because of their valued opinion. In conclusion, it’s important to recognize that today’s digital platforms are full of people eager to learn how to grow quickly. The expansion of social media IS happening so fast that it’s hard to keep up with its evolution, leading to many people embarking on their digital projects with little-to-no knowledge or experience. Remember that the right reason to become an Influencer IS because you enjoy it and not because of the money; monetary compensation comes as a retribution for the hard work you do. Helping others should be your greatest concern, and even if you are doing so within a small community, it’s something worth being proud of. That being said, digital influencers have now a very high social and environmental responsibility but many of them fail completely in being good examples to follow, specially for young generations. But this matter will be covered in another video. If you are interested in taking part in our revolutionary community, check out our website shesapiens.com for more details on how to join. That’s all for today, I hope this video inspired you to be more conscious and aware of what’s wrong with today’s Influencers marketing scene and how we can all change it for the better. Please don’t forget to subscribe to our Youtube Channel for more informative content. Thank you all so much for watching! See you in the next video!