Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
Source: Jutarnji.hr/100 posto; By: Iris Hazler
The word influencer is one of those that give every normal person instant rash. It is one of the most common buzzwords in the last two years. And yes, there is a Croatian term for it, and it translates roughly as “influential person”, but the word influencer has somehow already became a staple in Croatian language as well. In the age when we’re constantly on our smartphones, tablets and laptops, both for leisure time and at work, the advertising culture has adapted to it quite well.
What and who are these influencers?
People who use their own social media to create their own platform. The most common categories are beauty, fashion, travel and cuisine, but lately there is a growing lifestyle category that unites everything above (and brings greater opportunities for collaborations). So a crew of people use their YouTube channel to share their own experience with, for example, a new cream for extremely dry skin, a new shampoo for oily hair and some awesome new jeans. By sharing their experiences, the positive and negative aspects of some products / travel / restaurants, etc., they slowly build a circle of loyal followers around them, who highly value the recommendations of the channel, and in our region the most popular platforms are Instagram and YouTube.
How do influencers make money?
Companies, brands and PRs didn’t take long to realize it’s far more cost-effective for them to send a PR product package, pay a free trip, and (possibly) pay a certain amount of money to a person who owns a YouTube channel or an Instagram profile, rather than paying through the nose for shooting some big campaigns. And so this business gained in momentum. The influencer gets a product, in most cases they praise it because they’re paid for it (rare are those who will sincerely say that something is wrong), the followers will (very likely) believe it, and there you have your almost free advertising! Companies are happy because they didn’t spend a lot of money, the influencers are happy because they got products and cash.
What matters to influencers?
Almost all influencers started their YouTube and Insta channels as hobbies. After some of them were lucky, and successful cooperations started rolling, some of them left their “normal” jobs and fully devoted themselves to making videos. Some girls went a step further and launched their own cosmetic product lines, but after a scandal with a beauty blogger who sold €15 Chinese make up brushes for almost €100 under the guise that they are a completely original product made of unicorn hair, all that fell through. However, what matters is that influencers provide content to the audience that will be interesting and different from others, that they have a lot of likes, even more comments, and a loooot of followers. And here we come to the great question marks over our heads.
How do you get a large number of followers? Buying them, obviously!
As I have already mentioned, companies and brands want the biggest possible reach for the least possible amount of money, so they often choose influencers with large follower counts. Logically, the more there are of them, the more people will see the products. But lately there are more and more profiles on Instagram that have over 80,000, 90,000 or even several hundred thousand followers. Wow, for Croatia that’s really a huge achievement. But then that bubble of an ideal and successful influencer easily bursts. There are numerous pages that calculate statistics, and one of them is Social Blade. Just enter the name you are interested in (a nickname of the channel you are interested in) and Social Blade will spill out the analysis of their follower base. When you see dramatic increases of 10,000 followers in less than a week, you know something stinks, right? Yes, followers are bought in order to make yourself a better candidate for collaborations. And then the collaboration comes, but the response of followers is non-existent. The brand has no use of it, and the influencer is embarrassed. But they forget about it very quickly.
Thinking in numbers, reach and impressions
I recently attended – as I regularly do over the past six, seven years due to my work – a fantastic presentation of a cosmetic brand. The organizer brought together many influencers from the lifestyle world to get a better and stronger response among their followers. The presentation was organized in the beautiful Postojna cave – the wonder of nature over three million years old. After we came to the center of the cave, a program with dancers hanging from ropes began. Believe me it looked really fascinating. Every move they made was breathtaking.
But, the first row, full of bloggers, vlogers and Insta influencers, was frantically filming every move. And that’s great. But the recording was immediately followed with sighs of broken hearts, because “the video is too blurry” or “the dancer moved too fast” and so on. My dear girl, put down that smartphone and breathe in the air of the grand cave, and just enjoy the things that are offered to you on a platter. No, there was no stopping, no one was following the program. Some were even angry because THERE IS NO SIGNAL IN THE CAVE, so they couldn’t put the videos right then and there on their Insta Story. Don’t take me wrong, I also took a couple of snaps, but after that I enjoyed the show.
From hobby, over obsession to the attack of the clones
And although most influencers still have their daily jobs along with YouTube and Instagram channels, it seems that they don’t talk about anything else but “influencing”. One of the great moments was when a couple of girls talked about offering something to their followers, giving them something they wouldn’t see anywhere else, and then they all started jeering one of their competitors. Curious by nature, I went to the profile of that competitor and I immediately understand that, if there was no profile name, I would think I’m on the profiles of one of these two who were jeering. There were a couple of shoe pics, then a super styling for a stroll around the city, some perfumes, unavoidable flowers, and the photos on which the girl sits perfectly dressed up, with perfect hair, in the perfect café, drinking the perfect coffee while looking at the distance thinking about the next perfect frame … We can find those everywhere, with the staple caption that goes something like “Live, Love, Laugh, Love”. And to be clear, all that is perfectly legit. Of course we all want to be beautiful, well dressed, look perfect… But life is not perfect. Sometimes we pour coffee all over ourselves, sometimes we get some spaghetti sauce on our white shirt, sometimes rain falls when we’re travelling. And that’s what started to annoy the followers.
How far does the influencers’ influence go?
Naturally, the followers will listen, and probably try some of the things recommended to them by the people they follow. But there are also brutal extremes when things spin out of control. In Belgrade, a 16-year-old girl, who is extremely popular in Serbia, posted a picture after she went to Botox treatment. 16 years. Botox! There are still no such dramatic cases in our country, but fewer and fewer followers believe in the paid advertisements in which a girl claims that after only three days of using XY cream, she felt as she was reborn, and that this was the holy grail of cosmetics. The followers are not sheep, and are not stupid (I hope).
Artificial lives as the ultimate achievement in life
In the sea of influencers, followers have begun to look for something that is not perfect, something that they can still identify with, but it seems that no one has yet sent this letter to the influencers. And since there are already large numbers of people following them, it may be time to take some changes. They should tackle some more important topics than the new black boots with pearls, they should be the voice of their generation when so many are following them. Talk about your own problems (because we all have them), show that you are people of flesh and blood, not the perfect dolls with always the same face expression. Try something a bit different, move away from the routines you follow for years, which make every second profile look identical. Play, enjoy and relax. People are fed up with fake life, and I believe it’s not easy for you either.