What is an ‘Influencer’?

Since the rise in blogging platforms, some online bloggers attract more viewers and followers then popular print magazines. These blogs offer style tips, giveaways and whatever their specialism is that makes them so popular. Brands and PR’s now have to factor into their brand awareness schemes how to expose a new brand to as many people as possible without paying over the odds in advertising, so they reach out to what we now call ‘Influencers’.

An ‘Influencer’ is known as someone who has the power to reach thousands of people, within one blog post, tweet or Instagram post. But what does this really mean? What makes you an influencer? And what does this mean from the rest of the blogging community?

In what I have been discovering within the UK because the market has become so saturated with Fashion, Lifestyle and Beauty bloggers – PR’s and brands can reach out to just about anyone who has a decent following. Making money from blogging has always been difficult as no-one really has a how-to guide within the community or within the marketing community, many bloggers are hit with a ‘no budget’ reply and are expected to promote a brand for FREE. Since there are so many bloggers out there, many publish brands and products without being paid or even trying out the product itself.

According to several sites that have published statistics on what we call ‘Influencers’ now to be classed as one, you must have at least over 30k followers on most of your Social Media platforms. Lots of people are worried about bloggers and influencers who buy their followers to make themselves looks more influential – i.e the ones with 300k followers on Instagram but get like 200 likes per picture. This has become a problem within the industry we work, in which likes and followers has taken over quality, we see lots of people taking selfies with the brand or product and writing a few words.

So what happens when you’re not an ‘Influencer’ but a regular blogger? You get left to the waist side, unless you’re a freelancer who happens to also write for high profile print magazines. The UK blogging community doesn’t really support each other, it’s very cut throat and bitchy – many influencers who aren’t recognised in the UK but Internationally are shunned and un-invited to big events.
When I spoke to a Celebrity Blogger who lives in the UK but more known in the States and Europe, he simply says “I have 1 million views a month and I’ve been un-invited to a lot of designer showcases because the PR didn’t see me as an influencer because I don’t have half that following on my social media. I’m well known in the States and Europe, they’ve classed me as a Celebrity blogger but the UK refuse to even notice me – some even still tell me theirs no budget to pay me for my posts or even sponsorship deals, so I’ve started looking for work elsewhere.”

But what is the real problem? Is it rich kids with privileged backgrounds? Or is it down to business not being able to grasp this new digital age world, where people want to know what they’re buying before they shell out their own money.
I’ve always had a problem with privileged ‘influencers’ who have access to travel the world, the most expensive handbags and products. This opens up new blogs per day about what new handbag they’ve bought or designer dress, I feel this is such a disingenuous way of blogging, not everyone can afford Chanel and YSL clothing and accessories. I believe this shows anyone who wants to blog that they get free products and get to travel the world, and that is far from the truth.
New business I believe still believe in the power of print, however when you speak to people about the Future of Fashion – everyone says online is now the new print.  You can take out a paid advert in a major publication seen by millions but does this really equate to sales, no-one really knows, whereas an online written review can be seen over and over – I feel this is being missed by some marketing teams.

Am I just bitter? What  about the PR’s who do a good job? I’ve always had people just say well you’re jealous that you’re not rich and don’t live your life that way, my reply is always the same. No, I’m not jealous, I’m working hard to make a brand and I’m not from money, I believe style blogging will eventually die as a trend as it is now also an over saturated market and people will return to quality.
There is many PR’s are good at what they do and understand how the business works and I thank my stars that they exist, even though some know what they’re doing but they still over-subscribe their own shows – but where’s this mass coverage? Wheres the research they’ve done on that person?

For me the truth is the business of being an ‘Influencer’ is a bit flaky, just because you invite a person with 110k followers on Instagram or 50k on Twitter, it doesn’t mean they’re going to cover your brand. They’re trying to turn themselves into online celebrities, some ‘influencers’ have been doing it for 2 years and others have been doing for 8 – It all seems a bit superficial these days.

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