Not so long ago, the marketing world was awash with influencers; these days they’re dwindling a little but they’re still pretty abundant. These people were/are paid sometimes hefty amounts of cash to promote a particular product, service, or even location, to their already large social media following. Much of the time, this means pretending to use a product or service, telling everyone how wonderful it is, and then moving on to the next deal.
It sounds pretty shady, right?
In some ways, it is. More and more people are opening their eyes to the social media influencer game, and not that many people like what they’re seeing. Now, we should point out that this isn’t the truth for all influencers, but let’s be honest with ourselves here – surely we should be influencing our own decisions in life, not listening to what someone else is saying, especially if they’re just being paid to say it?
As a result of this realisation, more brands are moving away from the influencer marketing route, and going back to basics. But, while ever we live in the Kardashian age, we’ll still see those with endless followers influencing the life out of products and services.
How do you feel about it? Do you feel hypnotised unfairly? Or do you really listen? Personally, I feel a little ‘done’ here. I recently opened my eyes to this influencing story and I didn’t like what I realised. My favourite celebrity wasn’t telling me to use this particular face cream because she liked it and she thought it would help me, she was telling me to use it because she was getting paid to say it. Perhaps she didn’t even like the face cream, perhaps it didn’t even work!
Can you see where I’m going with this?
The tide is turning on social media influencing, and we’re taking back control of our own purchasing decisions.
My advice? Go with what feels right. If you see a product advertised, don’t listen to the marketing chat, don’t listen to what this Kardashian says about it, this singer says about it, or how it changed that model’s life, do your own research. Look into the ingredients; it is sustainable? Is it Fair Trade? Is it free from animal testing? These are more important elements. Is the product within your price range? This is another issue with influencers; they’re influencing us to purchase products that we simply can’t afford! Just because Kim K can afford hair supplements, it doesn’t mean the rest of us can!
My advice is simple. Make your own choices based on your own hunches, your likes, your dislikes, your budget, and the elements which are important to you. Look beyond the glossy images and consider whether that picture has been filtered to within an inch of its life or not. Influencing isn’t always reality, sometimes it’s a clever trick to influence a purchase and line a bank balance that’s not yours.
Ladies and gents, it’s time to be your very own influencer.