Published in El Pais, July 9th 2019.
It appears that social media influencers are everywhere. These people have large number of followers on various social media platforms which gives them a unique opportunity to sell their brand to various establishments. Anything they post can have the potential audience of millions of subscribers (even more when you count the amount of times the post is shared). Companies are starting to take notice. The top influencers can make millions of dollars just for making a few posts about a product or parties. As an example, we have the infamous Frye Festival where Kendell Jenner got paid $11.3 million for her postings on the event as the amount of money that is involved. It is not surprising then that so many people yearn for this themselves and attempt to reach this status and once they have one they have many followers they attempt a claim in what they feel they are entitled too, free stuff.
This has caught the eye of the media recently where the owner of an ice cream truck posted on social media one simple message, “Influencers Pay Double”. The man was tired of regularly being approached by these so-called influencers demanding free ice cream in exchange for a social media post. The last straw was someone asking for a catering event of 300 people all for free. On top of refusing to give them free ice cream, he questions the legitimacy of the followers arguing that they can be bought and most of them are not real humans.
This would understandably annoy any business as people are using their social media account to get something as trivial as a free ice cream cone but that does not mean that real influencers do not have value and could be a useful media outlet for any business. True influencers will have businesses reaching out to them, not the other way around. And if one does their homework you can easily tell who has legitimate followers and who does not.
Influencers are here to stay, and while the small ones might be annoying, the large ones are an important part of marketing and should be taken seriously.