First it was the residents of Notting Hill’s pretty pastel houses complaining of an ‘influencer invasion’ in London.
Then, it was Parisians from the equally colourful Rue Crémieux trying to ban content creation from their cobbled street altogether. Over the past few weeks the message has been clear, patience for content creators is wearing thin.
Respect is of course of the upmost importance in these scenarios. An acknowledgement that what may look like a pretty backdrop to you, is in fact someone’s home. However as @anoushkalila explains, this intolerance is part of a wider problem of content creators being misunderstood.
“I’ve certainly received hostility” she admits. “Shooting in public people think you’re a nuisance, especially in residential areas.”
“In the bigger picture, I think there are a lot of misconceptions and resentment towards influencers. People assume anyone can do it. That it’s easy to create a career out of Instagram, without appreciating the level of hard work and dedication you need to put in to succeed. The term ‘influencer’ is so often associated with heavily face-tuned selfies promoting skinny teas and teeth whitening, but it’s so much more than that.”
“Of course people don’t realise the amount of early starts and hours researching locations and liaising with brands that goes into content creation. Not to mention growing a following within a saturated market.
Despite having built a successful career through social media content creation, I still find it a struggle to be taken seriously and have my work valued. I think the fact that the industry is so new, and largely young and female, is threatening to people.
Of course we promote the more positive sides of life. From pretty locations to luxury products and experiences, I guess it’s understandable that people feel there is a lack of depth to the industry. I’m much less likely to show my true less-than-glamorous reality – leggings, no makeup and emails on the sofa! Perhaps that’s why we’re perceived as shallow.”
A major reason the industry lacks the respect it deserves is because there is a lack of trust. Thanks to accounts using follow/unfollow tactics, buying bot comments, likes and followers, people can be dubious. While it’s frustrating that we’re all tarnished by the same brush, we have to accept responsibility as a community and work together to educate each other and those starting out on good practices.”
“There are some amazing influencers using their position to talk about causes that matter to them, or opening up about issues they face, and this is often overlooked. It can be scary to speak out about ‘off topic’ issues for fear of seeming irrelevant, or even losing followers, but if done well it could really make a difference. Genuine, engaged followers will want to hear what you have to say.
It feels like the industry is at a major turning point right now. Influencer marketing is bigger than ever, and more and more people are able to carve a career out of social media based on good quality content. However as the industry becomes more established we’re under increasing scrutiny from the press, consumers, and regulators. It’s hard to say how things will play out in the current climate, but I’m hopeful that the industry will continue to flourish and earn the respect it deserves.”