The Influencer Culture

Social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat have witnessed a massive increase in ‘influencer’ posts over the last few years. What are these influencer posts and who are influencers exactly? A social media influencer is someone who has a large following and established credibility. They speak to a large audience and by their credibility and influence, can create opinions- opinions about products, events, trends and a lot more.

Think about it, there’s a brand that has been talked about by a few of your favourite bloggers on Instagram, or some event that has been snapped by some Snapchat celebrity. You are bound to get ‘influenced’ by this and you might want to check these products and events out. The question now arises, what’s in it for influencers? Well, considering this has become a whole new career option, it obviously involves money. While social media influencing as a career takes time to take off, influencers with over a million followers can rake in anywhere between $10,000 to $250,000 per post, and those with a follower count above 10,000 can make between a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per post. These posts are sponsored by companies for product or event promotions. While it may sound like an easy way to earn money, influencing involves a lot more than just creating posts and videos.

To ensure getting constant contracts, influencers need to ensure a mass following. This is done by creating interactive content, analysing likes and comments and staying relevant. Staying relevant is an important aspect since users follow these influencers for their content and because they trust their reviews and suggestions. If a user stops relating to content, they can unfollow accounts in the blink of an eye ! This also brings in the necessity of truthful content. These factors benefit users a lot and this is a big aspect of why influencers have become a new avenue for advertising. Companies have started dedicating a considerable amount of money to this newfound market.

Until now, everything sounds like a healthy advertising method, right? It sure has its pros, but like every list, the cons come side-by-side. At a shallow level, this seems like easy money and a cool, trendy career. But it takes patience and immense passion to establish yourself as an influencer- a fact ignored by many. One cannot just buy fake followers to start seeming important. This industry has become so large that contracts actually include clauses preventing such cheating. Apart from the difficulties in becoming an influencer, the negative side of this marketing technique is that it promotes the notion- all that glitters is definitely gold. The lies of social media stem from such glorified content- beautiful spots, expensive products, elaborate photoshoots. Such lifestyles are hard to maintain for an average person, but the show-off culture blinds common man.

To counter this negative side of social media, a lot of content makers have started dedicating their accounts to positive ideas like that of mental health, positive body images and so on. Accounts dedicated to such causes are not in it for the money. They realise that the false lives led by people around us, and thus the constant validation needed, can have negative effects that need to be countered.
In this age of social media addiction, influencers are placed on a high pedestal. They have the power to be any kind of role model to their followers- a fashion, fitness or gaming ‘guru’. But as they continue to do their jobs, at the end of the day, when we relax and scroll through Instagram or watch stuff on YouTube, it is up to us how we let the content influence us.