Influencer Marketing: Death of Original Opinion

Next time you come across stupid people on Twitter supporting everything that is wrong and against sensibilities, know that they are ‘paid social media influencers.’ Influencer Marketing is now an accepted business model in social media marketing. People with a lot of follower on Twitter are hired by various companies, political parties etc who pay them money to tweet in a certain way, to create a trend, attack a person, create counter views. So don’t get worked up, don’t increase your blood pressure, just ignore them, because they are paid trolls.

“A surreptitious, thriving, get-paid-to-tweet cottage industry which has sprung up on the micro-blogging network.”

In a brilliant article, ‘How to manufacture a Twitter trend,’ Ashish K Mishra explains what influencer marketing is and how it operates. As you learn about this new practice you will realize how organic opinion in social media is now almost impossible to find. Millions and millions of people on social media are making millions of posts and there’s hardly a way to tell what is original, what is paid. If you search on Google you’d see that this new practice is much talked about and the are books being written over it, social media marketers are making business pitches around it and are offering guaranteed results, “X number of people would tweet what we told them to tweet about your brand and your chosen hashtag would be trending topic within so and so number of hours”

While this may all be exciting for marketeers some of us social media enthusiast who started our business a decade ago, a time when some of these social media influencer weren’t even born, we lament the death of ethics and originality here. We thought social media was a noble cause, a departure from mainstream media and it would be free from the same marketing gimmicks that mainstream media was ridden with. We thought it was our weapon of social change and free and democratic voice. But as we can see, capitalist market takes over everything.

In all honesty, we cannot even complaint about individual mini celebrity’s greed to make money out of their small popularity when the same is a perfectly respectable practice with our mainstream stars like film stars or sports persons. So the only thing we can do is to just be cautious of what we read, and what we believe on social media.

Some of the noteworthy points from the article mentioned above:

It is quite likely that all clubbed together, in India, digital media agencies are making more money out of Twitter than Twitter itself.

Influencers are not exempt from disclosures. Simply put, for influencers who have been hired by brands—they could be bloggers, pinners, celebrities or tweeters—the FTC mandates a disclosure so the average consumer understands that these people have been paid or compensated for their advocacy. In cash or kind.

How do you make people talk? That too about a brand. Simple. Pay them. That’s all. They will talk.

“There are only two types of media,” said a senior executive of a digital/talent management company who deals with several brands…Earned media and paid media.

Image courtsey: http://www.visualistan.com/2014/07/the-state-of-influencer-marketing.html

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About Sanjukta

TED Fellow Sanjukta Basu is a Feminist Writer, Photographer and Gender Trainer. She writes for Huffington Post India, Firstpost among others. Also a public speaker she has spoken at TEDx conferences, universities, colleges, and NGOs.

One comment

  1. Marketers ruin everything!

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