The definition of “influencer” has become more and more convoluted as time goes on. Even now, everyday people are really starting to question the validity of the influencers they already follow. With Instagram taking steps to eliminate likes we are starting to see a decline in the actual influence your favorite bloggers have over their followers. We are all familiar with the infamous Instagram algorithm and the outcry from its most active users feeling marginalized by the platform. Yes, the algorithm blows, but is it the main cause of the ever-decreasing number of likes we see on these accounts? Hmmm, maybe not. With influencers being required to put #ad, #paid, and #gifted on posts promoting products in which they didn’t purchase themselves, people are starting to shy away from engaging with these types of posts. A recent study shows (InfluencerDB Link) that the engagement rate for sponsored content dropped to 2.4% in 2019 from 4% just a couple years back, while the rate for non-sponsored content jumped 1.9% to 4.5% during the same period. InfluencerDB thinks that this crazy decline is due to the fact that people are being pounded by sponsored content, and genuinely don’t care. So what are people actually looking for?
As big influencers lose their effectiveness it seems that the micro-influencers (1,000-5000 followers) are still holding strong. People are drawn to the authenticity of these people as they appear to be “just like us”. They are creating what appears to be authentic content that they actively use that we can all resonate with. They don’t come off as someone who is just “in it for the money” and they genuinely care about what they promote and who they are promoting it to. But don’t get it twisted. The industry is full of social climbers and clout chasers and that alone has played a big roll in whether or not you can take an influencer seriously or not. In a recent article published by HYPEBEAST they break down who and what people are actually influenced by. And not surprisingly 40% of users look to celebrities, more importantly, musicians. This is also due to the fact that the social media landscape is VERY over saturated with bloggers theoretically growing on trees. It seems that every day some kid pops up with 20K followers talking about their new favorite tea brand. So it makes sense that people look to someone they already look up to. But when it comes down to it people are just tired of being to what to do.
It just seems that in today’s internet climate people love to hate influencers and the receipts are there. They are quick to call out their new favorite shampoo or artisan sneaker but when it comes to global issues I.e. climate change, black lives matter, and political injustice they seem to stay quiet. The argument can be made that not all of these issues align with the brands that these influencers have cultivated. And that’s okay, to an extent. But again this is where a lot of us “regular” social media users question the validity of the people we have looked up to who have a voice.
All in all no one really “hates” influencers and influencers aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. So if you’re an influencer or looking to become one because you’re starting to get a following and think you have something to say just remember to come from a place of authenticity. Be transparent, promote products and causes that align with who you are and what you stand for morally, and stop shoving ads in peoples faces. There is a reason everyone switched from cable to Netflix.