Influencer Marketing: A Skyscraper On Soft Ground

Influencer Marketing is booming. You’ve read the articles (like this one, or this one, or this one) and, if you’re reading this, you’re probably an influencer – so if someone isn’t telling you how valuable your following is, you’re probably telling them.

In case you live under a rock, the amount of money brands are spending on #sponsored posts has doubled (from $1B in 2015 to $2B in 2016) and doubled again (from $2B in 2016 to $4B in 2017) and is projected to double again to nearly $8B this year. Kind of makes you want to invest in BootayBag doesn’t it?

When I started H in 2016 there were 190 other competitor platforms that connected creators to brands. Now there are 420 (and that stat is already a few months old). That’s more than double in just over a year – the craziest part, you haven’t heard of 98% of them.

At first glance this seems great. More money in our industry means more opportunity. More opportunity means that the little number in front of your “k” is about to be worth a whole. lot. more. Right? Not so fast. The Influencer Marketing “skyscraper” that’s shooting towards the sky is built on very, very, soft ground. Hear me out:

In theory, Influencer Marketing, works because of trust. People trust their friends (you) more than they trust brands (BootayBag). So, brands are using you (trusted friend) to sell their shitty product (BootayBag) to millions of young people through “unexpected” channels, like, I don’t know, Instagram.

At first everyone wins: BootyBag sells more…booty bags, you make some money, and your followers are still relatively happy. How incredible – you just got your first camera four months ago, and now you have 10,000 followers so…you can finally quit your day job, buy a felt hat and pursue your dream. Pump the brakes, Jessica.

With every #sponsored post and every soulless endorsement of a product you don’t truly love, your followers trust you a little less. Then, they buy a little less. Then, the brand trusts you a little less because your followers bought less of their product. Then, the brand pays you a little less. Then, you trust the brand a little less in return. Oh, and by the way, because you are making so much less, you will have to do more and more posts for BootyBag to pay your rent. It’s what’s called a “negative feedback loop”. It’s called a “loop” because it gets worse and worse and worse, little by little until your following doesn’t trust you, and doesn’t buy, and then you can’t monetize your following anymore.

Here is a simple graph to show you what I mean.

For us, as a community, to continue, we need to be more careful about how we leverage our “assets” (e.g. our talent, our following) Use your talent and following for good – create things that are meaningful to you and only work with brands that align to yours.

We built The Hub because we wanted to combat the poison thats being injected into a world we love. We want to raise awareness and get everyone to stop “peeing in the well”. The Hub strives to empower creators to connect with other like minded people and brands that share their vision and insistence on quality. Together, we can keep our culture more about shooting meaningful content, with people you love, for brands that inspire you. Let Detox Tea die with 2017.

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