September 10, 2019
2.38 billion dollars, that’s the budget set for Influencer Marketing by companies this year. Wondering how the industry reach this exorbitant number? Watch this short Instagram post. (Believe us; the answer lies in it!)
By now, half of you are nodding and thinking “that’s Mila!” At the ripe young age of 2, the tiny influencer had thousands of followers. At 4, she has 2 million.
Every post KC Stauffer, Mila’s mother, makes is watched by hundreds of eyes and liked by as many. Eyeballs that businesses are slavering to reach. So, they shell out some moolah and hire Mila to advertise their product (on Instagram) in the hope that a few may end up buying it.
The Bare Facts of Influencer Life
Target? Facebook? You name it, and the young social media influencer has partnered with them. While we don’t know how much Mila makes for each post, we do know that the fee ranges from 100 dollars to over 6 digits. The number of followers they have determines the pay of an influencer. The Jenner sisters, each, have notoriously received $400,000 for a single sponsored post.
Now you get why it costs companies more than 2 billion dollars to tap the gold-mine that is social media?
The Beguiling Side
To you and us (the people on the other end of the screen) the life of Instagrammer/ YouTuber is beguiling. We see a woman who began by posting makeup tutorials and ended up owning a company worth 1 billion dollars. Huda Kattan is just one example.
We all follow at least two influencers who appear to breeze through life in a cavalier fashion. We see individuals like Ashley Graham promoting body positivity by posing on beaches with nary a worry about exposing love handles and cellulite lines. But do you think, even for a second, that is the truth?
A Farrago of Lies
No, we don’t deny that the initial few months in the industry are akin to a sucker punch to the solar plexus. The world is really a rosy-tinted place. But as we say in internet parlance when the filters are off, the reality is insincere, affected and essentially superficial.
Pick Mila, again, for instance. Her mother says that people have commented on posts about stealing the child. There have been instances when the little girl has been recognised on streets and kissed on the cheek by random strangers. Can you even imagine some person stopping dead and grabbing your kid to just say hello?
A relentless pressure of keeping up…
When you keep it one hundred, the life of an influencer is not all hunky-dory. For a toddler like Mila, there is still hope. But for teenagers and adults, the endless need to get likes and double taps mean constant validation. Anxiety and stress become a part of life. Why? Because the currency recognised in the social media world is likes, retweets, and comments. And when you fail to get them, you are losing.
As if that wasn’t enough, fear and insecurity are also part ‘n’ parcel of it. Again why? Because being on networking platforms opens doors. You can compare each video, boomerang, and photo with other social influencers and wonder why yours didn’t look as good.
Take off the Lens
So, how do we even begin to fathom ways to get rid of the dark side of influencer marketing? We say take a leaf out of Selena’s book, one the most followed person on Instagram – she periodically takes a break from all social sites.
But, we’re aware, it’s not a cure.
Customize your feed
When the platforms are your daily bread and butter, switching off is not an option. But you can start by tailoring your feed to more positive and fulsome content. It can help readjust life views and offer a better understanding of what is real and normal.
- Follow Positive Content
Let’s pick Twitter as an example. Create a list that includes only the essential accounts or handles you know are healthy for your mind. Let that be the de-facto feed. How does this help? It ensures you are not bombarded by a barrage of negative or anxiety inducing tweets. Another practice to ensure that you are not constantly treading the dangerous waters of social media is muting. Block words, hashtags, accounts and phrases that are triggers for you or are offensive.
- Follow Alternate Content
Looking for an even easier way out? Then follow wholesome, inspiring, heartening and reassuring content besides the handles you just-have-to. For every Voldemort on the internet, there is a Deadpool. So, whatever gets you busting a gut follow that. For us, it was the absurd humour and undeniable cuteness of dogs that made us hit follow on We Rates Dogs.
Part of the problem is that the concept of being an influencer is brand-new. Most influencers are wading through murky waters with no help at all. Friends, family members and even professional do not, yet, know how to avoid the pitfalls. But as the space evolves, conversations are being sparked and answers found.
Be A Teigen
In a world that is obsessed with filters and masks, the only way out of the influencer-marketing-quagmire is to be a Chrissy Teigen. The woman openly converses about the anxiety the online space generates and the truths of life and not just what we see on social media. A perfect example is her tweet after giving birth to her firstborn:
Keep it real.