10 Things People Should Know About Influencers, Bloggers and the Industry
Updated: Mar 14, 2019
Note: * What I write in this article is purely observation and speculation. Legally, influencers, bloggers and creators don’t have to disclose any information they don’t want to, except information related to point #1: Sponsorships, ads, free products, collaborations. These suggestions are intended to help create a more authentic and open relationship between creators and their audience, since there have been many issues with misleading consumers and lack of transparency between influencer and potential consumers / audience. I believe trust and respect is a key to success and growth.
1. SPONSORSHIPS, PRESS TRIPS, FREE PRODUCTS, GIFTS
Bloggers, Youtubers and Influencers should disclose all sponsorships, gifted items, press trips, freebies properly. New laws and changes have made it necessary to disclose ads, sponsorships and gifts (especially in the UK), yet many influencers find loopholes or simply don’t disclose all the information properly. Misleading the audience / potential consumer is very shady and unfair. People should be able to make informed decisions about the products / services they chose to spend money on. If someone advertises a product, they should be authentic and really like the product they promote, regardless of money.
2. COLLABORATIONS, INFLUENCER PRODUCTS AND MERCHANDISE
Honesty about collaborations with brands, their own products or special merchandise and the way pricing and value is decided upon, as well as the amount of creative input the influencer has and the amount decision making that goes into such products is especially important. The collaborations or products created should reflect the audience and be targeted to them at a fair price. Selling overpriced low-quality products (such as makeup pallettes) to consumers is a bad business decision.
3. WASTE, DONATIONS, GIVEAWAYS
There should transparency and discussion about freebies and what happens to all the products influencers receive. Talking about waste, donations and giveaways in important because consumers should be able to see the what impact of all those products and packaging really is. Promoting donations and refusing some press sample can be the key to changing the industry.
4. SOCIAL MEDIA ETIQUETTE AND GROWTH
Influencer behavior should follow some type of basic etiquette which means that there should be some level of professionalism. Engaging in offensive interactions with followers is unnecessary and trolls should be dealt with in other ways, not public arguments. There should also be honesty about how social media channels grow. Buying followers and likes is extremely unfair for those who are working hard to grow their blogs / channels / brands.
5. PHOTO EDITING AND BODY IMAGE ISSUES
Highly edited photos and videos can be misleading to an impressionable audience. Many followers can develop body image issues when seeing highly edited and modified content. All the filters and edits provide an unrealistic image of the physical body. Influencers should share information about the fact that they edit (or don’t) their photos and that it’s the image they want to project. What you see online is not always reality. People can modify their appearance easily and consumers should know that.
6. TIME MANAGEMENT AND WORK
Being and influencer / blogger is hard work. It’s a job / career / side gig that involves a lot of time and planning. Discussing time management, behind the scenes work and extra activities that come with being an influencer and content creator should be shared because it provides a sense of authenticity. The audience / followers can understand how content is created and the work process.
7. BUSINESS, AGENCIES, BUDGETING
Insight into the business of blogging / creating content is useful for consumers of that content. Many influencers have agents or work with agencies and that’s information that should be disclosed since it means there is a team behind a content creator and it’s good to know that these agencies will find collaborations and work for influencers and that’s why you see so many collaborations, press trips / events and gifts in the industry. That is the reason there is a huge discrepancy between the budgets of different creators.
8. RELATIONSHIPS IN THE INFLUENCER COMMUNITY
Friendships in the influencer community seem to come and go very quickly. Without naming specific people, it is possible to discuss the dynamics of working with other influencers and the atmosphere in the community. Often beauty bloggers say the community is ‘toxic’. If that is really the case, there should be a collective effort to improve relationships within the blogosphere.
9. REALITIES BEHIND PRESS TRIPS AND SOCIAL ISSUES
Many press trips and even personal trips involve so called “exotic locations”. Many trips are taken to locations such as Thailand, the Maldives, Sri Lanka which are beautiful places. Influencers show us resorts, beaches, food, many outfit changes and of course activities like snorkeling. However, almost none of them discuss the poverty, social issues and the environmental effects of luxury travel. Local realities are omitted or displaces to project an ‘exotic paradise’. People should be aware of what is happening in the world and the impact of luxury resorts and Western style of travel on the environment and locals.
10. WORLD EVENTS AND SOCIAL ENGAGEMENTS
Many influencers and bloggers are socially active and promote things like veganism, healthy lifestyles, charities and so on. However, many still ignore or refuse to talk about world issues or tragedies. Addressing such events is important because many followers might be affected by world events and tragedies and it’s important to reach out from time to time to connect with your audience to potentially help people cope with the realities of life. While most blogs / channels offer an escape from the day to day reality, it’s helpful to create bonds and connections based on that reality.
If you are thinking of becoming a blogger, here are a few of blogging guides to get you started:
1) Gathering Dreams guide to starting a successful blog