It has been quite a while since I last posted and I have several ideas for posts to come over the next few days. I plan to be more consistent with posting and content. Lots of reading updates, of course.
But first, something completely different.
I was inspired to write this post after seeing on Twitter a series of “attacks” on women I follow on You Tube. They create mostly beauty and fashion content. I’m not a fashionista by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, most of my outfits consist of jeans and basic tops with sneakers or at work dress pants and a nice top and the same boring (usually unseasonable) shoes. But I find these woman fascinating and aspiring. I watch to be inspired to up my fashion game, as it were, not to bring their game down.
Which leads me to the title of this post: Social Media Influencers and You.
When I was a teenager back in the 90s and early 2000s, social media did not exist. Oh, it was such a beautiful time. This isn’t to say that the Media wasn’t prime with standards or “influencers.” Back then they were simply spokes models. I remember when Jennifer Love Hewitt was the spokes model for Neutrogena. I bought so much Neutrogena and to me it was Luxury to buy a Neutrogena shampoo or lipstick that Jennifer Love Hewitt wore in a magazine shot from Cosmo or desiring that Hanes teeshirt just to match with a long red skirt (I’d never have the nerve to wear the red skirt but I wanted it!) With my Neutrogena shampoo and lipstick (I never quite made it to that Hanes teeshirt) I felt special knowing I was on par with Ms. Jennifer. Because SHE was (and still is, quite frankly) the most beautiful girl, in all the movies, all my guy friends thought she was hot, and so on and on.
Then came Britney Spears, Jennifer Aniston, and before all of them Cindy Crawford made me think if only I drank Pepsi instead of Coke….
Cut to today. Social media has extended its manicured nails and / or talons across the whole planet, gripping us all so tightly that celebrities – who were once unreachable except if you found their PO box in the latest issue of Teen Bop – are accessible. What is more, there are a lot of very talented people who are celebrities in their own right due to the number of followers across these social platforms. It isn’t an accident as these people all have one thing in common: they sure know how to market and create a brand. And some even are college educated in this field.
In my opinion, these so-called influencers are the newest spokes models for me. At the age of 32 I am still a sucker for an endorsement (or “sponsored”) item. At heart, I am still that little teenager who wants to be like all the pretty girls. Brands now have a wider net to cast as people today fast forward through commercials and no longer subscribe to magazines. Brands have to get creative and find their market. That market are the men and women creating content online. Not all brands have pockets deep enough to pay a Jennifer Aniston, but maybe, just maybe, they can get this beautiful internet girl to try their product and talk about it. Hell, maybe we’ll even ask for a campaign. These campaigns are no different than commercials on TV; the only real difference is the people creating, editing, producing, (what else!) the campaign are the people in campaigns.
So what does that mean? These brands expect Quality. It used to be people discussed a product in a sit-and-chat video, but the internet has evolved. I can only assume no brand wants people to take half-assed shots on a cell phone or a poorly edited video. Brands hire these men and women and expect a return on their investment.
I’ve read comments that You Tubers, et. al. are not/should not try to be up to standard with the likes of Vogue’s content, but why the hell not?! I don’t know about you but seeing half-dead/strung out ads for Dior or overly fake tanned shiny lipped chick on a beach doesn’t make me want to buy a $100 lipstick. With the demand for Quality these brands expect, these 21st century spokes models need to bring on people to create that quality if they themselves cannot. And the better content they can produce, the more they are hired, the more brands are exposed, the more products sell. That is the bottom line.
Of course, there are some people out there who will create a video for sandpaper toilet paper, but not all are like this. I’ve come across many who insist on only talking about brands or products they actually like and it is pretty damn easy to sniff out the fake ones if you just open your eyes and ears a little. But the ones creating content that is true to their style or lifestyle are those we need to not attack. I’m not saying we need to attack the sandpaper toilet paper pushers either. I am simply stating that there is a brand new sales market for brands and they have tapped into this resource. Some allow it to go to their heads, but many MANY do not. For these people, to up their quality and content game with hired photographers or editors is not a crime and should be encouraged! As long as you can tell they are staying true to themselves in other parts of their posts, you can simply skip the ones that say “ad” in the title, which is something I do personally. If it is titled something that doesn’t interest me, I don’t watch. If I start to watch a video and suspect it is sponsored I scan the description box to confirm. If it does appear sponsored and doesn’t state it in the description box but it gives me an uneasy feeling I move on to another video, or I keep watching because, hey, that dress does look nice and I kind of want it…but I don’t wear dresses…but I’ll keep watching.
As non-influencers we have a choice: to engage or not. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve felt icky watching something and thought of something to say to them. But truly, why rain on someone’s parade? Why be cruel for the sake of being cruel? The internet is FILLED with content I prefer to see so I go there instead.
As for influencers: there has been a lot of back and forth. I don’t follow or even know many but I see the utter nastiness among those who create. It is as if they feel like their territory is threatened and if they do not bring this person down they will lose EVERY follower, every brand support, every dollar they worked for. The internet is a big place and there’s room for everyone and their way of doing “it” just like there is a huge planet and different ways people choose to live. Right or wrong, like it or not, that is just how it is. By attacking fellow influencers you are hurting your own brand and content, not the person you are attacking.
Blogs, videos, Instagram photos, Tweets, are simply this: For Entertainment Purposes Only.
If it is your job too create online content, you are providing a source of entertainment. If you are a viewer, is it to escape the brutal reality in which we live and are exposed to 24-7. There is enough unnecessary hate and violence in this world… we don’t need to bring hate and violence to a woman or man who tapped into a new industry, gained exposure from hard work and LOTS of patience. You may disagree with how they do their business, but handle your own business and conduct yourself professionally: brands and your viewers are watching.
I’ll leave you with this thought: If your favorite brand (whatever it is) starting to attack another brand that sold a similar product (one you like, know, or not) in a ruthless and petty way, which brand would you continue to support? Or which brand would you BEGIN to support?
That is all.