This has been on my mind a lot recently, after seeing the behaviour of some social media influencers. Hence I felt compelled to write this article, influencers are not your friends. But are you easily influenced?
Are You Easily Influenced By Other People?
I want to start this post by saying that Social Media is a brilliant tool when used for business. For clarity, I take advantage of it myself (in a small way) to earn a little affiliate income. It’s a minor part of my income. So generally I say good luck to those earning money from social media.
But there is an undercurrent of greed, lying and manipulation in a lot of cases. It’s this that bugs me, because I see some people who can’t afford to keep up with the ‘game’ and for whom it’s become a major problem. That can be an emotional or financial problem, or sometimes both.
The Rise Of The Influencers. Where Did It All Begin?
The rise of social media has lead to some very lucrative earnings being made by certain so-called influencers. Millions of pounds/dollars are being earned online by the those at the top of their game. For companies, paying influencers can be a much cheaper option than more traditional advertising methods. And for social media accounts with huge followings, the reach can be phenomenal.
Companies can get their products in front of hundreds of thousands of people, even millions, with one single Instagram post. And they can pay their chosen influencers thousands of pounds/dollars per post. Imagine making one post and earning £40,000, or £25,000 for it, as some of the top influencers do.
Some will say it was completely accidental and that they ‘fell into’ influencing (despite plenty of evidence to the contrary), where others are much more open and honest about it. Some had plans and executed them perfectly to become amongst the top earners. Imagine, just for a moment, becoming a millionaire from a little app in your phone – it’s such a bizarre concept when you think about it! If that app disappeared overnight (as many have), then that particular income stream disappears, too.
I feel really lucky that I’ve only once been influenced to buy something recommended by someone on Instagram. That was when I bought some towels. I needed them anyway, to replace my old worse-for-wear ones, but I found the new ones to be rubbish! Maybe I’m amongst the lucky ones who aren’t easily influenced, but I know many people follow their favourite influencers and copy what they buy All.The.Time.
Don’t Be A Carbon Copy Of A Stranger In Your Phone
It seems really strange to me that someone wants to have a carbon copy of an influencer’s home. Purchasing the same cushions and random decorative items; storage baskets; cutlery; cleaning products; vacuums (what the hell?) etc, etc. Fair enough if you’re already in the market for a new vacuum and are including social media as one of your research tools, but buying them because someone else has them? And more than one? I just don’t get it.
I’ve seen evidence of people buying things on credit, just so they can say they have the item. Then they frantically and repeatedly tag the influencer (sometimes on several different posts) to try and get their attention. It’s once again bizarre, and honestly quite sad, behaviour.
When the influencer moves house and changes their main style/colour scheme, it starts all over again. Rinse and repeat: earn and earn again.
How Can You Stop Yourself From Being Influenced?
It’s a tricky one, that’s for sure. If you have sufficient confidence and self-belief, then you’re probably not going to be easily swayed by anyone. But the rest of us? We have to find it within ourselves to hit the pause button before the ‘buy now’ button. We have to believe in ourselves and our own choices: know that what we’re doing is just fine.
It’s different seeing an item being promoted and thinking, oh, I’d quite like one of those, to thinking that you have to immediately go out and buy it. Or perhaps order it online, via that oh-so-popular swipe up link!
We don’t need perfect houses or show-home rooms. Our homes are meant to be lived in. By all means keep them tidy and organised, but trying to maintain an impeccable room or house when you have families or pets it just unrealistic. Occasionally, an influencer will do a ‘keeping it real’ post, showing that their homes aren’t always immaculate. But generally, they’re selling an image that says, perhaps subliminally, that they are better than you because their homes are perfect. It’s time to stop believing everything they put out there.
Staying In Control Of Your Bank Account And Sanity
For many people, perhaps those lacking in confidence or those who haven’t quite worked out their place in the world, it’s hard to ignore the pull from a favourite person online. But if you want to keep control of your bank balance and your mental health, it’s vital that you’re able to see an essential difference. Namely, the difference between being influenced in a manipulative way, which can almost be coercive, to just liking something.
Do you know someone who is struggling with an addiction to social media, or who appears to have an unhealthy relationship with influencers? What, if anything, have you tried to do to help them? Please let us know in the comments.