Lifestyle

The Influencer Economy Isn’t Collapsing – It’s Just Getting Better

Written by: Zanita Whittington

Can’t pretend I’m not quite excited to put my 2 cents here.

This past week, there was an article on Digiday from some social media exec explaining how the ‘Influencer economy’ is bursting. Publications everywhere are jumping on the bandwagon, from Gawker to Pedestrian, excitedly pronouncing that the era of Insta-stars is out.

This anonymous guy on Digiday certainly had some legit points, but the discussion was really just about the bad experiences he had with people selling Instagrams. He explains the process to the editor…

“Tell me about the process.
We’ll do a meet and greet. Tell them what we’re thinking and ask them for concepts. You can tell right away who is serious: The good ones come back within a day with ideas. Some send us decks or presentations that are pretty, but not tailored to the brand. They’re all nuts. “I want to take a car and pick it up in London and drive it around Europe, so give me $100,000,” they say. Nope, let’s totally never do that ever. These people don’t understand budgets.”

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Obviously this sounds crazy – $100k to drive a car? Ludicrous. But an incredibly talented Youtuber, like Casey Niestat, also mentioned in the article, with millions of engaged followers across all platforms – that’s an unparalleled content creator with a proven track record of real talent, built-in production, and marketing finesse. Imagine a road trip video series, complemented with snaps and short videos on Instagram… I’d watch that – and so would hundreds of thousands others.

Casey is one of many.

Other examples are the gorgeous Nicole Warne and Chriselle Lim. Not photographers, but visionaries in style, voice, and branding – setting the standard in communicating with audiences through social platforms and connecting with brands in an organic and elevated way. These women aren’t going anywhere.

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I can’t pretend it doesn’t irk me – the stigma attached to the terms  ‘blogger’ and ‘influencer’. I’ve been part of this game for a long time now and I wear those badges proudly. Unfortunately, there is a sad truth, a particular shallowness that has infiltrated the ranks, and it’s that which has tarnished the good name. Those just in ‘it for the money’ as they say, are the reason why these articles have been written. We all gotta make a dollar and there’s a lot of diet tea being shelled on the ‘gram. Brands today are wising up to this quick-fix marketing and these hashtag campaigns trumped across any and every Instagram account… Viewers are also no longer fooled by these transparent methods. But still, up to 50 percent of marketing expenditures are going toward social.

There’s a clear turning point here – and it’s for the best. Like any new industry, there’s going to be a teething period and now that’s over, the real business can begin. The cream will rise to the top. The influencer economy isn’t going anywhere because social media marketing isn’t going anywhere. And in fact, it’s only growing stronger and stronger. Where does that leave us on the conversation? You should be following the best of the best – the content creators who captivate and excite – and that doesn’t mean you can only enter the game if you’re rocking hundreds of thousands of followers. It just means you gotta learn from the best, strive for originality, and engage your audience no matter how niche…

And we’ve got more of that coming real soon.

*taps side of nose, backs away*

the state of the influencer economy

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