My opinion on the ‘influencer industry’
This is a slightly different post this week. I am not usually one to share my opinions on specific subjects, especially when they are controversial. However, I have seen a lot of discussion around ‘influencers’ recently including how much they are paid, what products they bring out and whether they deserve the success. Here is a pre-warning that this has the potential to turn into a bit of a rant. But I have to say these opinions are based on what I have read in the last week or so on this subject.
The ‘influencer’ title
I wanted to start right at the beginning. I’m not sure how I feel about the title of influencer. Generally, the people that are most successful in this industry, did not set out to become famous (or influence others). YouTube and social media was not used in the same way as it is today. Therefore, the impact their voice had on others, was something that they probably did not consider. They were just passing their time, doing something they loved.
For me, this could still happen today. I didn’t start a blog specifically to have lots of people reading it (which is probably a good thing!). Instead, I started a blog because I was interested in creating content online; an online diary in a way.
I think for this reason I prefer to refer to such people are creators. They are generally creative people, looking to share their “art” online.
What they are paid
To be honest, I am confused as to how even become a discussion point. If someone was asked how much they were paid as an accountant or as a teacher then it may be considered rude. Obviously, I don’t know the exact amount each creator earns for each piece of work they carry out. But quite frankly, I don’t think it is any of our business. Simply because these people are in a new industry in the public eye. It doesn’t make it right.
The amount these people are paid by brands, is based on how much value they provide the brand, otherwise it just would not be paid. Anyone who works in a business should realise a budget is always tight. So the amount they pay the ‘influencers’ is what they must feel is what their work is worth. If you went to work, you would expect a certain level of pay and this would be based on how much the company valued your work too.
Exploiting young audiences
I am again slightly confused by this. These creators are people. But equally, they are a brand. They have created a business around themselves. Whether they set out to or not. I understand that some people believe that the younger audience means that prices should be lower for things such as the products they sell etc. I think this is mainly because it is parents that would generally be spending their money on such products. However, it is hard for me to understand how the purchasing the products of these creators is any different to any other item that you would buy. For example, a young person could equally wish to have a specific brand of clothing. These things are still advertised and often endorsed by celebrities. Just because they are endorsing their own products, I struggle to see what they are doing wrong.
In fact, I feel as though this has also been addressed. They are creating to the products, but the retailers will decide the prices of the product and as with any business, this is always going to be reflected from the demand for the product too. It seems obvious to me that these creators also do a lot of good, in terms of charity work, but also just generally when they speak about specific things such as mental health etc it will support their viewers.
YouTube is changing
Of course YouTube and influencers are changing. Everything always changes. It evolves with the need and in reaction to the environment. Quite frankly, it is unlikely anyone would be interested in influencers if they did not evolve. People change; especially as they get older. But, who is to say this is a bad thing. I think it should be considered an opportunity rather than a threat and people should enjoy the change rather than fretting about it.
Influencers should be celebrated
What I am trying to say is that these people work really hard. I only create one blog post a week (sometimes I don’t manage that) and I know how long it takes me. Yes, their work may be enjoyable and they may well be paid well for it. But to be honest that is surely the aim for everyone in life. To be paid to do what you love.
I have spoken before about social media only showing a small section of someone’s life and even if their whole world revolves around it, it is important to remember this is still the case. Okay, there may be some luck for creators too, but really we should be aiming to work as hard as them to achieve our goals too. Why does there have to be so much negativity online, supporting each other is the way forward.
I know this an ongoing debate, but these are just my thoughts… Sorry I know it was a long one, so if you got this far well done!