It’s highly ineffective and for the most part it’s just some entitled person with an inflated ego demanding freebies. Madness to think businesses can really believe they are of any real substance or significance.
Instagram more and more has become a cesspool of materialism and advertising. It’s hauntingly shallow to witness, and the impact on the younger generation who are trying to “keep up” for their own mental sanity are instead being dragged further and further into it. Instagram isn’t the only offender obviously but I think it is the antithesis of the issue.
Having already deleted Facebook, I completely changed up my instagram to show photography photos and things relating to my hobbies, and removed my friends and other “lifestyle” feeds. I can honestly say it felt like an immediate lift of mental clarity and happiness. I kept my friendships and have nothing to prove about the way I choose I live my life. No more scrutiny, no more pining after validation, and most of all, a bit of well deserved privacy.
Bringing up a child in this vapid and self obsessed culture must be like navigating a minefield.
Apologises for the rant. I’m only 29 but I sound like I am 90.
My Instagram feed is 100% welding, machining and a small smattering of woodworking. Literally any project I post gets universally positive feedback, with the occasional constructive suggestion. If I ask for help on a project, I get advice in at most a few hours from someone with 40 years more experience than I have. Contrast this to the forum community for the same thing that has a disturbing tendency to flame out and generally mock newbies.
What I take away from this is that Instagram, like all metaphorical tools, is what you make of it. If you only follow beautiful people, you may only get shallow content. If you follow interesting people who share interesting things, you'll get interesting content.
When I scroll through the feed it's like I've subconsciously trained myself to immediately scroll past and ignore sponsored posts, and immediately click past sponsored stories. I can't be the only one in this boat.
Of course this can and does happen on twitter, but I think two thinks make the results more favorable. The first is the poster can get called out on what they did. Secondly, Twitter’s less reliance on algorithmic feeds mean the content theft is less “rewarded.”
The whole Tumblr fiasco upset a lot of artists and pretty much terminated the use of any artists whose work triggered the nudity detection filter, which was easy to do. Twitter gets complaints about compression, especially with videos and pixel art. All of the extra tweets that come with the art has forced me to unfollow a lot of artists whose work I like. Instagram has the issue I just described. All of those billions of dollars invested in consumer content sharing apps and this is the current state of things.
With pictures posted on social media, I came to realize that I had a certain audience in mind with each post. If I posted a picture of me hiking, I want my hiking friends to see it. So instead of dragging everyone else through my life, I just text my hiking pics to my hiking friends and get a lot more genuine and direct communication as a result.
I don’t know a single person who follows these useless Reality TV personalities. I mean, they obviously have a lot of followers, but there is a billion people on Instagram and the highest amount of followers is still in the millions. That’s hardly 95%.
I'm not convinced that's a fair measure. Instagram, YouTube, and maybe a couple of things are some of the few advertisements that actually reach me. I run an adblocker and don't watch TV commercials. The ads are generally about things I like, I find them non-offensive, and I have actually made purchases as a result.
> It’s highly ineffective and for the most part it’s just some entitled person with an inflated ego demanding freebies.
I have an "insta-famous" dog more as a hobby than anything, and businesses often offer us things for free or deeply discounted in exchange for fair review and a post with our dog; we never offer/ask. We also have had (major brand) businesses who wanted us to shoot pictures of our dog with their product for their website for free, with no attribution, and with no discount or free products. So, from my perspective, the businesses aren't exactly being taken advantage of here.
The whole thing is just gross.
This is like the difference between old web advertising pay per click and new web advertising pay per impression. Getting someone to use a code is an order of magnitude harder to get than a click through.
If you think you are going to get more than just an impression, you're delusional. And most impressions are fake.
Friendly nitpick: antithesis means the opposite of something. You probably want epitome, archetype, exemplar, quintessence, apotheosis, or similar.
And doing all of that for hoping that posting the content with a promo code MAY refer 30 people, so that you could get the same item at a discount?
That seems unreasonable.
On the other hand, I have 1st hand experience on how hard it is doing marketing profitably. You are throwing most of your money straight out the window, most campaigns bring in 0 conversions, some even 0 impressions..
So being a busy businessperson juggling all the daily operations stuff, being so done with the bullshit marketing opportunities bringing in nothing, and the freebie seeker influencers, why would this next person asking for stuff be different?
Other than a click through and sale, it's hard for any advertising to prove effectiveness. Yet, there are still ads on TV and the radio. For many brands, small influencers are a cheap way (some free product and maybe some money) to keep product in front of people when thought of in aggregate.
Advertising industry has a vested interest in keeping things this way, and only maintain perception of effectiveness to milk customers.
Competition in an industry whose core competency is lying to people doesn't breed trust.
Companies like Traackr offer saas services to analyze the social graph to make a massive impact with 30 real influencers. This service starts at $30k and they delivered for watch brands and telcos primetime media exposure to millions of potential customers without directly advertising.
If so many people are doing something it probably means some of them are actually making a ton of cash.
I dont have Instagram cause why the fuck I would?
I don't even have a LinkedIn since I like privacy on my carreer and because I wanted to do it before it existed lol
I have a "read only" Twitter to follow some friends and technical people which I barely use.
You know what the problem is? Dota2, Hearthstone, Overwatch... Too much time "wasted".
Because you have friends, family, and former coworkers in far away places that you enjoy keeping in touch with. It's one thing to write them an email or letter regularly, but it's also nice to open the app and see a random picture of your nephew at the zoo or see a pic from an office birthday gathering or maybe a short clip of a former coworker playing their new guitar. It's a low friction, low effort way to stay connected and it generates happiness.
Serious question: Is there a social network that allows me to do any of those things anymore? The first 10 things on my Facebook feed are:
1. My own un-republished 'memory'. 2. A 'humorous' re-post. 3. Someone else's re-published memory of a humorous re-post. 4. A scammy ad. 5. A photo from someone I know posted to someone I know that I have no interest in. 6. A real person status (in large text with obnoxious background that I thought was a re-post of some meme). 7. A humorous re-post. 8. "People You May Know" 9. A real, honest to god, set of pictures of family and friends. 10. Someone else's memory of a humorous re-post.
If I'm honest, I care about (6) but I'd like it to be actual text, and (9). (5) is acceptable because depending on the photo I'm sometimes interested. So at best we're looking at 30% of content I want, 10% ads, 10% FB trying to sink its claws a little deeper, and 50% other noise. I know I can make my experience better by doing certain things. But those things move around, change, and feel like switches that don't do anything plugged into a black box that just does whatever it wants. So, I'm kind of at a place of 'why bother'.
Instagram mostly works for me, but its photo-oriented and most of the people I know on it are my younger friends. Twitter is a mess. Anything else I've heard of none of my friends or family use.
The percentage of ads is going up and that bothers me. If I could pay a reasonable fee (maybe $5 / month) to get rid of them, I would.
Is that so hard? I feel like there’s opportunity for a honest business with non-intrusive ads that you can opt out of by paying.
Here was my process:
1. Email 20 people with > n followers asking if I could send them a free book, and if they like it, if they'd be willing to post about it to their followers.
2. 10 of them email me back saying "sure! here's my shipping address."
3. sends 10 books
4. 3 people actually post. Of those: 1 person: for $100 I will post in an IG story. I try this, as they have 90k followers, so even a story mention must be good, right! This results in 1 sale. 2nd person: posts a beautiful picture on their IG. Land a couple of sales. 3rd person: doesn't think of themselves as an influencer, just really likes the product, and mentions it to her viewers, and this results in $300 worth of sales. Awesome!
I think the trick, then, is to find people who don't self-identify as influencers, and who aren't already doing lots of advertising on their channel. Rather than trying to craft a genuine portrayal of life, find people who are actually genuine!
(If anyone on HN has tips, always interested in advice!)
If you are enticed by the supposed reach, perhaps the quickest first pass at validation would be to review the nature of interactions in comments and cross-check other networks they participate in. It may help to pick someone popular in your field whose reputation you would not question, and use their account as a reference point for comparison.
For example, I recently saw an account with 260k IG followers and blue checkmark whose posts average 100+ mostly generic short comments. I compared them to Andrew Kramer, who despite having 90k followers receives as many replies on posts, and those replies are longer and contain substance. Both are within video making industry.
This is not to imply that the 260k guy or their followers are necessarily bots, but their audience is largely disengaged and may be unlikely to convert into paying customers. (Personally I don’t hesitate to use blocking on inauthentic-looking accounts to avoid becoming a node in a fake network—let bots follow other bots.)
In my opinion, “valid” follower counts rarely a few thousands. If it’s much more than that, the person either purchased followers and won’t get you any leads, or (if their name is actually well-known) isn’t going to be interested in promoting products for monetary gains.
I bootstrapped my business through Instagram influencers. You have to be extremely targetted around the audience. When judging if an influencer is worth working with, figure out who their audience is and the nature of that interaction.
For example, Imagine I sell an awesome new cat toy for helping shy cats be more social. I don't want to find the cat pages with millions of followers. I want to find the cat expert person who helps their small group of followers deal with their shy cats.
Micro-influencers also work really well. If you can get a person to talk about a product to their group of friends, the ROI is usually much higher than these giant pages. You just have to have a lot of them.
The fact if the account has promoted/is promoting a lot of products.
I found that the fewer products an account promotes, the more your sales/ product awareness increases.
This is not just because followers become saturated with promotions - I believe it's also because Instagram purposely reduces the reach of those accounts that use the "swipe up" link feature too much.
Your insight seems reasonable, but what is your opinion about Youtube influencers, where the audience is huge, truly engaged, and all of their videos contain ads in the beginning and at the end aswell ALL the time?
Some channels even come with an enragingly subtle transition where you only realise you are watching an ad when you watched half of the ad, but the content is so good you cannot hate them enough to stop watching the channel?
Do these ads perform poorly aswell?
In general, I don't think most products can find good ROI when using Youtube influencers, simply because of 2 reasons:
• There's no easy way of leading people to links on Youtube. This means that even if you have a great ad, one that is super relevant to your audience, a lot of those people simply won't take the time to go to the video's description to click on a link. On Instagram, you can just put a practical swipe-up link on stories.
• Even when the ad is good, people want to see the Youtuber doing whatever made them click on the video. For this reason, ads are mostly ignored - and when you add this to the surprising amount some big YouTubers charge for ads, it really diminishes any decent ROI.
Analyze follower of followers once you've identified a few users who seem like potential fits for your space. I've seen this strategy work well in other social channels as well like twitter.
Step 2: Look at who actually follows them. Are they real people? Are they bots?
Step 3: Look at how many products they promote through all their products. The more the worse.
> "I think there's an unfair sense that influencers have no talent beyond content creation, so we hold them to much higher standards in their work.
> "In my experience, celebs are far worse for disclosing brand partnerships and misleading audiences, but aren't held to account by their followers in the same way."
I just realized that this has always been the basis of my inability to understand why 'influencers' are even a thing.
It's like deciding to buy a car based on which car show model is most appealing, and then making other decisions based on which brand of water they drink or which bandages they use to cover their scraped knee after they've fallen down while jogging. Seriously, what other talent is involved? And why would I make a decision based on that?
As for celebrities, at least some of them have some level of skill in acting or music or sports. I guess this is just the disruption of the celebrity print magazine market, like People or Tiger Beat.
An ad on IG on a popular apparel keyword might be ~$1-$3 per click for a high cost demo (the exact demo who follows influencers). Apparel is notoriously inexpensive to create, so a shoe company could send out free pairs to a bunch of small (10k-20k followers) influencers and likely come out ahead.
This trick of using influencers to bypass the high cost CPC of IG proper is why IG keeps changing the algorithm to bury ad like posts and force either the brands to advertise directly or the influencers to pay to boost their posts.
If you're interested in the subject of why models with car works and other techniques over used in most advertising media check out "Influence the Psychology of Persuasion".
It's possible to catch yourself recommending or telling a story about a product you heard about from a friend. You think a friend told you, but then you realize after seeing a paid ad for the product it was a memory created by you. Disturbing when you realize it happens.
It is mostly about looking interesting and individual, not beeing individual.
At the reunion in 20 years, these people will be much more interested in who became the oncologist instead of who wore gucci slides in geometry and currently folds jeans at the gap.
So I agree with the article that we're in the midst of a backlash against the whole "influencer" thing. As usual with these things, that backlash has already occurred in the weird, unclean corners of the internet and now it's spreading into the mainstream. I don't know where things will end up, but it will be interesting to see.
I suspect that there are healthy ways to use social media but they will require a self-awareness that the first generations of social media users lacked.
I know of one brand that charges you a monthly fee to sell you a monthly PDF aimed towards physical, mental, and spiritual wellness. Let's just say that... the group behind that isn't starving because enough people are buying it up.
How did that business get started? Why... skimpy bathing suit photos, of course. :)
There was some clown a while back that tried to sell a clothing line and did basically no promotion, so her supplier cancelled because on launch day she didn't manage to put together 30 orders for shirts.
I think there need to be a lot more cases like that before this really goes by the board though, unfortunately.
The problem is that people can't handle this, thus the demand and response is exaggerated.
To conclude it was staged is to trade one belief about someone you don't know for another.
-Bike appears undamaged (mirrors would be smashed at minimum)
-She says she injured her left side of her body, yet left side of he body appears dirty yet completely intact in photos despite the fact her skin was uncovered. Road rash destroys skin - I've seen pretty severe road rash from a fall from a skateboard.
-"Wounds" were bandaged by ambulance, yet, once again - what wounds?
Don’t forget what we’re comparing this to. Banner ads! Instagram influencers who are thoughtful and authentic are great. If you don’t like it you can unfollow the influencer. Same cannot be said of banner ads where the end user has little control and you get chased between platforms with units that often have little relavance to your interests.
If your main focus is slinging products, I don't see how that equates to being thoughtful or authentic; especially, when your end-goal is just chasing the next few quid.
For example, I'd expect Neill DeGrasse Tyson's IG to be far more thoughtful and authentic than, say, Amanda Strand's IG.
I sincerely have no idea what this statement means. What is a platform in this context?