Why Influencer Marketers Are Highly Overrated
On a scale of 1-10, I’d give this article about a 27 on how much it’s needed. Since the beginning of social media, an early thing to develop were the influencers. People or groups that’d develop large followings for no particular business or service, but instead provide content people enjoy for literally tens of thousands of different things. Be it models reaching millions of Instagram followers, Facebook pages for comedians doing viral videos, mountains of instructional content, Twitter badasses or whatever lives on 4chan, they’ve held a clear an undeniable power. Doing that, brands obviously have since day one used them as a clear an undeniable tool to market their business. It’s why Kim Kardashian eats HaloTop ice cream, why AlphaM has haircare products and why every girl wearing a thong on Instagram promotes FitTea. However, while that model is strong, it has hit some holy shit levels of problems.
Just before diving in, I’ll say my background on Facebook & Instagram. I currently own, co-own or am partnered with accounts/pages that in total reach a following of about 10m 100% real followers. We don’t focus on being influencers as people, but instead focus on commodity styled accounts around topics and things. We also own accounts outperforming major human influencers with even larger followings being able to get tens of thousands clicking links, millions of views on videos and more. Be it comedy accounts focused on memes or accounts doing luxury living, we’ve made it work and every single day have a profit. However, while profiting, we don’t make as much as a lot of people think.
When it comes to monetization, we aren’t getting paid $2,000 a post. Hell, we’ve done post for under $200 on accounts with over a million followers where they’ll easily bag 40,000 likes and get that influencer maybe 1,000 more followers. We view this as a reasonable practice where daily our business can produce thousands of dollars, but nothing compared to the numbers some people guess. We just don’t find it economical to try and charge that much for a post. We also notice a heavy trend of people who have similar accounts with smaller followings than ours go around claiming they something absurd such as charging $6,000 a post. They also claim to get free trips whenever they want, free meals all the time and other perks. For us, we do notice a bit of that such as free tickets to events, getting a backstage pass to a concert or interview with a real celebrity, but we’ve just never seen the plane ticket to Hawaii in our inboxes. This just gives us a hunch that either we are really doing something wrong OR they are not very honest with earnings.
And just holding into these thoughts on why these heavy promotion cost are likely BS and why they aren’t economical to begin with, let’s just draw this out in a list.
This is probably the most obvious and glaring thing to point out why most influencers just aren’t worth the money. Recently, I became an owner in the account @Restaurants. It is a premium handle fitting a real brand and with our account, we have over 350,000 real followers for that and an engagement level that hits video views in the hundreds of thousands or in some cases millions. It can also easily get 40,000 likes on a good photo.
Most people when hearing about that account just go “Wow! You must never have to buy dinner at a restaurant!”. However, just do to this simple thing known as geography, I sadly don’t have that luxury. Let’s say I’m in my city of New York. We have on our account maybe only 8% of viewers actually in NYC. We get to a point where my one post for that restaurant promoting them for a free meal now only is gonna matter for the 8% following our account. That 8% is the only real follower base. After that, we realize 8% only puts us at about 25,000 people. With an engagement rate on post of maybe 30%, we are now at 7,500 people actually hit. Let’s break that down even more. Say I’m at a nice restaurant, now my following which is largely younger people are isolated. For this restaurant, I’m realistically by posting maybe only gonna bring in a few customers. How do they track it? How do they figure out if economical? How long until it’s cashed in?
This just makes me randomly shouting out a restaurant with a good steak not really as worth it. Plus, what am I gonna shout out as an influencer? A photo I took on my phone of a mediocre steak? A nice shot of the front of the restaurant? A bunch of stuff that won’t hit prime engagement and likely just kills my account.
This is why like gravity being a bitch for fat people, geography just is a bitch for influencers.
We have in our network art accounts that daily reach millions, food accounts hitting over 100k, comedy with thousands of shares and comments and despite all of that, we have the unfortunate fact we just aren’t alone.
There’s tons of great food accounts. There’s roughly 40-50 art accounts passing over 1m followers on Instagram. Facebook now has more meme pages and comedy pages over porn sites online. For us being influencers, we just don’t spice the table up enough. If a brand of sneakers wants to be seen, they can have a wide range of people to pick from in choosing promotions. This just all hits to Adam Smith being a bitch to influencers where the supply and demand isn’t really in their favor.
Reason Three-Audiences Hate Selling Out
Earlier writing this, I made fun of FitTea as a brand, because I see it just as that things hot girls post they drink on Instagram. It’s an obvious product placement where every Instagram model presents it and just as a consumer, I find it very lame. I see it as the thing that is in front of a beauty in a bikini on Instagram and that doesn’t make me like it.
For a product, an overuse of influencers being parked with brands can not only hurt the influencer, but the product itself.
Reason Four-The Numbers Normally Suck
Here’s just a fact. If someone is a hot girl partying with Dan Bilzerian, they’ll likely pickup easily 20,000 followers being in his photos. Hell, the right picture with him on a new account and a girl could go from 0 to over 100,000 overnight.
Problem with this fantasy though is just not all influencers are born equally and not all audiences are as generous. If a photographer gets posted on an account with 10m followers, there’s not really going to be a good shot of them picking up many followers from that. Most people don’t see a person or brand, but just like the post. This makes it very hard unless a person or model where people “mostly men” find “incentives” to follow people, they’ll likely not find much.
Listing off reasons for why social media just isn’t very economical, I’ll just close by pointing out some obvious BS in strategy. If there really were pages getting paid $5,000 for a post with 1m followers, why isn’t this a much bigger business? Mountains of models, commodity account owners and brand owners exist with mega followings, but being seemingly always strapped for cash. Also just examining a clear history on their pages/accounts, we can just find they don’t really post that much for things that’d actually be well paid for. It’s well known FitTea doesn’t pay extremely well. It can also just be guessed a lot of the clients paying for post don’t quite have the scrap to put up $5,000 on a post. This presents a real case that a lot of this is just bullshit.
Writing all this, I’ll just also point out a final message that contradicts this whole article. That is the fact someone with a Facebook or Instagram page breaking 500k followers or even much less can make a fortune. However, it all comes from one word and that is “community”. A model being another ass on Instagram won’t monetize well. It’s just another girl with a million male followers and nothing to sell them. A page for fitness reposting other generic content won’t make much either. However, when the point is hit real value can be presented to a user where they can be engaged passed the like, a business is formed. It’s when the million followers can turn into just a .5% turnover into real buyers, subscribers and users where just as little as a few dollars a month can be made. This is why I exist in this market and others should try it. However… We need to try harder over lie about how much we make doing this.