I’ll give credit where credit is due and acknowledge that there are many influencers out there who actually contribute to brands, behave professionally, and don’t let the whole follower count go into their heads.
Take, for example, Aisha Shaban, a business student who has a good following on Instagram but also refuses to look for sponsors because “it’s disrespectful for micro-influencers to ask for freebies from small businesses.”
She is still sponsored by beauty and fashion brands, but they came to her, not the other way around.
But let’s get back to what she called a micro-influencer.
Macro influencers are people with ridiculously high follower numbers – think so Kim Kardashian, who caused Mark Zuckerberg to lose money by freezing her Insta account. This is a serious social media force.
Micro-influencers are the average people who have built some kind of online brand that can be used to market products.
In this group there are those who give everyone else a bad name and cause a backlash Entrepreneurs who have had enough.
Here is the BBC with London-based baker Reshmi Bennett:
The London-based baker runs Anges de Sucre and she’s sparked an online storm by calling social media influencers asking for freebies …
“I’m sick of influencers asking for free cake all the time. After the pandemic, things got worse and started to piss me off. “
“We have never sold anyone [saying] You saw our cake on someone’s post or profile. It was always word of mouth from paying customers. “
Brand and digital strategist Ashanti Akabusi says the relationship between a company and an influencer can often be positive, but “the key is choosing the right influencer”.
“If it’s the right influencer, they can be extremely powerful for a company.” However, she understands that many have no real influence that they claim they have.
“A lot of the backlash we see is in response to market oversaturation, and people call themselves influencers when they probably don’t have the right to do so.”
In most cases, the “right influencer” is not someone who invades your company and asks for freebies.
Influencers who don’t harass themselves can also use their following as a driving force.
Ana Silva O’Reilly-run travel blog Mrs O Around The World recently launched a travel influencer campaign to support the tourism industry.
#PayOurWay wants influencers who previously benefited from travel giveaways to boost the industry by paying for their next trip and blogging about it for free.
Travel bloggers or influencers who tried to use the hotel industry for a free vacation, and as a result were shunneddoes not have to apply.
The lesson from this is that the industry grows along with the competition, which means influencers need to think about how they present themselves to the world.
Otherwise, they’ll get answers like this from Bennett:
“I’m just as excited about telling other cake makers not to. If everyone says no, at some point someone has to pay for cake.
“We love influencers … as customers.”
In other words, it might be time for a setting adjustment.