Follow me, like me, slide into my DMs.
You can’t go ANYWHERE these days without hearing the word “influencer”. You can’t scroll your Instagram feed without seeing those obnoxious sponsored posts that read something like:
“become an influencer and double your reach”
“Grow your following”
“You could be a travel influencer and travel for free”
“Become an Insta-hoe”
OK, maybe not the last one but they might as well just say it.
Look. As a social media marketing professional, I work with influencers daily and I respect that it’s a part of the game. But if you’re going to call yourself an influencer… please… have some INFLUENCE. Have some real insight, gained knowledge, valuable expertise or a real journey to share. Not just….followers and overly stylized photos. Fake influencers have consumed and polluted social media and users are getting turned off, which is having a negative domino effect on everyone’s online experience.
Organic social posts are belly-flopping for this reason:
SOCIAL MEDIA IS FREE UNTIL IT ISN’T:
FB and Instagram are sick of giving fake influencers promotions while they make money off their platform and IG gets nothing. And rightfully so. Time to pay to play and that is the case for everyone. So that being said, fake influencers who’ve gained popularity simply by using engagement and growth hacks will find themselves drowning in the new algorithms which shows your content to less than 5% of your following.
Those with real stories to tell, however, still keep their engagement simply because of sheer authenticity. Their followers SEEK their content and are not just merely exposed to it.
HAVE FAKE INFLUENCERS RUINED OUR AUTHENTIC SOCIAL MEDIA EXPERIENCE?
Remember back in 2010 when FB first became widely popular and the sharing experience was much more authentic? You felt compelled to post your thoughts, opinions and life moments and you really only cared about your inner circle of friends seeing your personal content? The original intent of social media was to allow you to connect and engage online with friends you actually knew and cared about in real life.
When Instagram first popped into the scene that same year, people treated the app as a creative photo-sharing platform. Users were compelled to be creative with filter choices, lighting, framing, and general photography. FB was the life, news and events sharing tool and IG was the visual sharing platform! It wasn’t so much about vanity metrics but more about garnering a reaction from those you cared about.
But human nature reared its ugly head and we’ve saturated this platform with self-absorbed fake content that has actually forced Instagram itself to change the way the application works. Why? To better your mental health, especially for younger generations.
What’s super sad to me is that social platforms have the potential to create so much POSITIVE reinforcement but, we, as human beings, focus so much more on negative. So more and more users are finding themselves “turned off” from Instagram and not engaging with content that could actually impact their thinking. Instead, they’re abandoning it.
Social media is meant to be so much more than a popularity contest – and it still can be. To me, not only as a professional marketer but as an avid user, social media is a place to inspire impact and change while engaging with people and content that I deem fitting and relevant to my life. For brands, it’s a chance to deep dive into their goals, missions and perhaps even social responsibilities in order to gain the TRUST of their consumers. Social media is a good thing. It’s not going anywhere and yes, some people are using it for the better:
We should embrace the rapid changes that social media giants are fastly implementing: getting rid of follower counts, getting rid of the likes counts, changing the way we see content that isn’t relevant to our personal habits…
For brands, this is also a huge plus! I can’t tell you how many times my clients have asked me why their following count and engagement was so low and while I desperately tried to convince them that none of that matters or converts to sales, the obsession with those metrics became all too important.
Much like any popular technology or trend, there will always be a divide between the authentic and the fake. It’s up to us, the users, marketers, and brands, to engage with the content we KNOW betters our mentality, not feeds our demons.