Influence may be the highest level of human skills, yet unfortunately some people are making plenty of money out of exploiting this new medium.
I have been enjoying the Instagram account of Bloggers Unveiled, based in Ireland, who uses the visual social media platform to highlight the contradictions and errors made by ‘influencers’ in Ireland. As someone interested in the behaviours of others, like reality stars, I followed these people online to see what they post and the interactions which occur with this. And it is mind numbing.
An example would be the Real Housewives of the various different cities on the Bravo network. It appears they all are Diff eyewear Partners by the hashtag they use, which I guess means they don’t appear to need to state they are paid for the photos. #sp #ad
New York: London: Texas: Orange County
65% of top performing Instagram posts feature a product. With 12.6% more engagement due to having at least one #hashtag, 7 out of 10 hashtags on Instagram are branded, and 80% of all Instagram users follow at least one business on the app. By March 2017, over 120 million Instagram users visited a website, got directions, called a business, emailed or direct messaged a business.
In the US also, 71% of US Businesses use Instagram, (up 22% since 2016) amongst the 8 million Instagram Business profiles (up 6.4 million since 2016!). Of these users, around 30% have purchased a product they first discovered on Instagram.
Back to Influencers: 78% of which prefer Instagram for brand collaboration, followed by blogging at 16%, due to its photo-based platform enabling self-expression and self identity. Yet on the flip side, Instagram was voted worst social media for mental health and wellbeing due to a 2017 research on 1,479 users between 14 and 24 in the UK. Causing high levels of anxiety, depression, bullying and FOMO “fear of missing out”.
My point lies with this, there is a separation between those ‘influencers’ in our cities, as opposed to the likes of the Real Housewives, already multimillionaires who get partnered due to their links with Bravo. The drive for a percentage of Instagram users to be accepted by these people, to be seen as an equal, can drive them to trust blindly.
There needs to be a rule put in place, much like the suggestions to implement the ‘heavy usage’ feature on social media to raise awareness for the users at the moment in time. For these ‘celebrity influencers’ it appears they use these shows to ‘earn’ money, by putting their names to a product. They are not “influencers” of the general term, this has been ongoing for many decades, it’s just now that there are far more opportunities and a lack of control by brands due to the cost to get just one celebrity to only work with them on one brand.
I just yearn that brands will stop using these types of people for their brand marketing. Instead, be clever with your brand, invest in niche influencers, those who give honest feedback and are not inundated with numerous offers so they ‘love’ everything about 105 brands they happen to be working with. And I just wish these Real Housewives, who most don’t know how to cook, let alone know where the mop is, stopped getting book, wine, eyewear, bags, gym deals or speaking events, when in REAL reality, if they weren’t on tv known for fights and bitchiness, we really wouldn’t buy, nor care for their products.