Has the power of social media influencers gone too far?
With controversy surrounding the latest Netflix documentary on the catastrophic event that turned out to be the so-called Fyre Festival, along with new regulations for influencers on sponsored content, maybe it’s time to ask the question as to whether the power that bloggers and social media influencers have has gone too far?
So, what exactly is a ‘social media influencer’?
Well, anyone that has built up a large, but clearly engaged, following online can make this claim. As soon as companies begin noticing this, they can expect to receive free products to write about and take pictures of, invites to top events to post online, and even services (think gym classes, bootcamps)! But why? Easy, I mean, I myself am totally guilty of buying a product that a celebrity is promoting on their Instagram page – if it gives Kim Kardashian flawless skin, surely it will do the same for me?! Forget the photoshop, filters, totally expensive make-up artists, and who knows what else! Companies are taking full advantage of the new ‘Insta-age’ where everyone seems to be striving to be their best ‘online-self’ and follow in the footsteps of these ‘influencers’.
How did this effect Fyre Festival then?
If anyone has yet to see this documentary, it is definitely worth a watch! It was hailed online as a celebrity-filled festival on a private island in the Bahamas – luxury accommodation, top artists, amazing food, models on yachts – who wouldn’t want to attend? And with it being promoted by models including Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski, who was to think it wasn’t legit?! What transpired was a campsite located on a development site near a Sandals resort, hurricane disaster relief tents to sleep in, artist cancellations, sodden mattresses, no running water, and cheese toasties to eat. And how did they manage to get thousands and thousands of dollars in ticket sales? A brand-new festival concept that had never been heard of before, but still sold out in 48 hours? One word – Instagram. With the likes of Kendall Jenner being paid $250,000 dollars for just one (!!!) post online (can someone please sign me up to be an influencer by the way?!), these tickets were the hottest thing going, and anyone who was anyone, seemed to be attending Fyre Festival. The hype surrounding it was insane.
The festival’s founder is currently undergoing a jail term and has been sued for fraud, but was this just an innocent case of too much promo too quickly? Did they underestimate just how quickly it would take off? But then again, if you have well-known stars, with millions of followers promoting your event, what can you expect in a world where young people want to essentially ‘be’ this person and do whatever they do! Some have argued that the organisers knew exactly what they were doing with the advertising, but poor planning meant demands could not be met. They wanted to show face and not cancel, much to the horror of those arriving to their ‘luxury villas on a private island’. Surely this should not be allowed?
Social Media in Marketing
What is the industry doing I hear you ask? The power of social media marketing and promotion has been recognised. New regulations have been put into place for any sponsored content and if an influencer is endorsing a product, it has to be made clear – you probably will have seen them tagging #spon #ad etc. into their posts now. And stars that don’t, are being publicly reprimanded. Will this stop those that are easily-influenced though? Especially with one-click purchases straight from Instagram posts, companies are really making it too easy to get us to part with our money on their products…
Does working within the powerful realm of social media excite you? We are often working with companies of all sizes to recruit for talented individuals with a working knowledge of social media. From Marketing, to Digital Marketing Executives, to Digital Specialists we are always looking for socially-savvy individuals!