Why I hate social media influencers

A recent drama unfolded surrounding a social media influencer and White Moose Cafe in Dublin. The YouTuber and blogger asked for a free room in return for publicity. In response, the hotel owner posted her request online and bashed the young woman for her request. While one might argue that nothing is free, the response from White Moose’s owner was over the top and unprofessional by any rational standards. However, many commentators online supported the owner and expressed outrage at bloggers and social media personalities in general. So why are people so angry at social media influencers, most of whom are in their late teens and twenties? And what do social media influencers actually do?

What is a Social Media Influencer?
According to Pixlee.com, a social media influencer is “a user on social media who has established credibility in a specific industry. A social media influencer has access to a large audience and can persuade others by virtue of their authenticity and reach.” Social media influencers may use their influence on platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to promote products for partner companies. Influencers get paid for promoting products and services to their followers. In return, companies get more personalized advertising to a customized audience. Why would companies choose social media influencers over traditional advertising? The main reason is that social media personalities have dedicated followers that are more likely to purchase a product if it’s recommended by someone they admire. It is similar to a celebrity endorsement. Although social media influencers may not be celebrities to everyone, they are to many of their followers.
Why the Hate?
The bashing of vloggers, bloggers and other social media personalities may stem from generational differences. Older generations don’t understand how money can be made simply by using social media. And they may be of the opinion that any non-traditional job is not a “real job”. If someone were to say they worked in sales and marketing for a large corporation, it would be recognized as a legitimate job. However, social media influencer is often not recognized as a real job even though it serves the same function – just on a different platform.

There may also be some jealousy at younger people making a lot of money for doing what seems like very little work. I admit I’ve felt envious of teens and twenty-somethings buying their own condos or mansions simply by making videos. But we should all take a step back and see the positives of young people achieving their career goals in non-traditional ways. First, this forces traditional employers to work harder at attracting and keeping employees. More and more people are trying to become social media entrepreneurs. As a result, companies will need to make positive changes to compete with other (non-traditional) career options available to potential employees. This means better working conditions for everyone.
Love them or hate them, social media influencers and personalities aren’t going anywhere. In fact, you can expect to see more and more young people jump on the social media bandwagon. Chances are you use at least one social media platform daily, and companies are going to use that to their advantage by getting real people to promote their products. Young people have money, constantly use social media and are easily impressionable. This makes a perfect atmosphere for companies to utilize influencers on social media to attract the next generation of shoppers.

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Source: college Career

What do social media influencers do? They make more money than you!

Why I hate social media influencers

Every so often, a new buzzword infiltrates the PR lexicon, and everyone seems to collectively salivate over it. Well this one which has popped up in numerous industry listicles has particularly irked me. It seems to be the go-to phrase for obsessing over lately, without anyone really pausing to think – what does it actually MEAN? Refrain from vomiting – it’s ‘influencer marketing’. Let’s unpick this terminology a little. As human beings, we are influenced by all sorts of things from the moment we get up right up until our last hour awake. We are not robots; our curiosity is constantly piqued from our daily environments. Whatever we are exposed to has an impact on what we feel, think and believe. And our threshold for being knowingly influenced varies. Some are willing to absorb what the famouses of our society (are paid to) push. Others? They prefer smaller, more niche, localised recommendations. As you’re reading this you’re probably subconsciously evaluating how you tip this scale. So to translate this into a service, influencer marketing is identifying and working alongside these key individuals (increasingly the ‘micro-influencers’ with smaller yet more specific followings) to promote whatever product, organisation or brand is within your remit. How do you find these individuals? Well, with any trend comes a million different start-ups offering roughly the same thing, and in this case, the opportunity to find, engage and measure campaigns with relevant individuals. I recently spotted a list of 40+ online tools, each claiming to be the holy grail of co-ordinating influencer marketing campaigns. Pfft. Despite what many might have us believe, the latter demographic of ‘micro-influencers’ have always been a part of any robust PR strategy. Essentially, influencer marketing, which is hijacking this collaboration between agency and ‘content creator’, has existed for years. As a term, it is a shiny, glossy, repackaged, more expensive version of what any PR professional worth their salt should be doing already. And this is my issue. Industry discourse has labelled it the Next Big Thing when in reality influencer marketing has been used and refined and applauded in practice for YEARS. Calling it something new without recognising that bloggers, online commentators and those with strong personal brands on social have been filling up our heads for at least a decade already is, quite frankly, unfair on our clients. These agencies claiming they are doing something ground-breaking are pulling the wool over their clients’ eyes. It is dubious and opaque and greedy and pretentious – everything that a solid partnership between agency and client shouldn’t be. In the same vein that my teeth will grate at a mere mention of ‘reaching out’ or ‘touching base’ (I am not touching anyone’s base, thank you), can we just stop using terms like influencer marketing and instead recognise how to use those fine-tuned relationship-building, research and communications skills within an existing digital PR campaign? ‘Influencer marketing’ as an umbrella term is lazy, self-aggrandising and, if we’re truly acknowledging what it means, old news. And old news is a PR professional’s worst nightmare, no matter how you define it. So what else should we call it?

Source: By Tank PR

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