Something exciting happened to us a few weeks ago. We got an amazing opportunity to listen in on a marketing focus group about why “followers” actually follow influencers on social media.
We sat around drinking vino (ok, ok, it was coffee!) with five hundred 20-something women from all walks of life. We spoke about all things social media, what works and what doesn’t, and most importantly the changing landscape and future of social media influencers.
The results were surprising. They’re over it.
Let’s go back to the beginning. The rise of fashion and beauty bloggers was something that no one saw coming. The early adopters were the innovators of a generation. Masters of self-promotion but more importantly masters of creativity. Up until that point, we had nothing but biased opinions; everything we saw had an agenda and a big advertising pay check behind it.
We were screaming for something original, something different, something relatable.
And then they came; bloggers. The girl next door had killer taste, and a wardrobe to match. They showed us how to dress in everyday situations, in a way that was attainable. Their opinions were genuine, true to themselves and most importantly, their love for their craft was infectious. We trusted them.
But that trust is quickly disappearing along with the engagement of your audience.
Why? One of the biggest factors noted is that the industry is now oversaturated. It’s not innovative anymore, and so it has lost its appeal and relevance. In their quest to become original, bloggers are now all looking the same. An even bigger factor is that consumers are done with advertising. Audiences are much savvier than they were five years ago, they know if you’re promoting something because you’ve been paid for it.
As one participant put it “Every time I see a fit tea promo, I simply unfollow”. Her opinion was echoed throughout the day.
When we asked them whether they would want to be paid for their hard work, the answer was a unanimous yes. That’s not the problem; a sponsored post can have great impact, as long as it still aligns with who you are.
Instagram is slowly stepping up advertising within users’ newsfeeds, which will pose another challenge and engagement will be an even more important factor.
It’s not all doom and gloom. This shift in mindset of your audience can actually be used to step up your game. The influencers who recognise the opportunity that this provides to grow and change will benefit immensely.
Let’s take a cue from the Queen of Social Media and longevity, Kim Kardashian. How does she continue to stay relevant? She is constantly changing, evolving and giving us a new perspective.
Your followers are screaming out for authentic content, and the influencers who fail to recognise that will struggle with longevity. Choose your sponsored partnerships wisely, even if that means increasing your rates and doing less sponsored content.
Push boundaries, innovate, and focus on creating incredible content that is true to yourself, your audience will respond and grow.
We’d love to get your opinion on the results!