Dear Archery Wire readers, there’s something you need to know about me, I work on social media for a living. I know, you thought all I did was this amazing wire. I don’t know if you need my resume to believe what I say about social media marketing…or my age to know how long I’ve been doing this…or if I need to trot my list of clients in front of you. Others will do that (they usually have the term “social media guru” after their name), but I like working in the shadows and calling b.s. on most of the misdirected social media marketing advice I see in our industry.
Therefore, I am writing about social media more. I’ve been hesitant. Heck, I’ve been editor of the Archery Wire for over a year now and today, I choose to talk more in depth about my work on social media. Some of it you’ll nod your head and enjoy what I say – other parts of it I’m sure you’ll disagree. Everyone has an opinion on social media. For example, should your hashtags in Instagram be in the post or the first comment?! ARGH! The struggle! (Spoiler alert, it doesn’t matter to the algorithm, just do whatever you like.)
I’m going to start with a doozy that will get most of us really chattering on social - the subject is “social media influencers.”
I’m not sure where the fantasy of being a ‘social media influencer’ came to light. Frankly, this term is only a few years old, so we should be able to trace it back to its roots, find the person who first uttered the words, then remove them from social media. (My guess is it’s the Kardashians, damn them.)
However, no matter how much you might dislike the term “social media influencer,” (like I do) and no matter how many you may dislike people who push products on their page, it is here to stay.
Here’s something that will blow your mind. In 2017, the influencer industry was estimated to be around $2 billion. New numbers estimate it will be around $10 billion by 2020. Of course, now they are saying that is overly estimated as people will use #ad or #sp in posts they are NOT getting paid to promote just to create the perception they are working with big name XYZ company. This is truly sad when ethics are thrown out the window when it comes to influencer marketing. (Read this Forbes article for sourcing and more industry estimates.)
So why is influencer marketing so big? My takeaways:
Our industry isn’t the only one to deal with this – oh no. The beauty, hair and fitness industries have been seeing this for a long time. If you are currently an influencer, or what to become one, or a company who works with them, I recommend you follow Chalene Johnson. Chalene is a well-known speaker, author and fitness guru who has seen quite a bit in the fitness industry. She has several podcast episodes and Instagram live shows where she BLASTS fitness “social media influencers.” I encourage you to listen to Eps 386: The Problem with Social Media Influencers. The excerpt below is from that podcast where Chalene shared how she watched a video post from an influencer who out-right stated that she knew some of her posts were “cringe-worthy.” But that is how she makes a living and gets to do all these fun things, and she can’t “help it.” If that doesn’t make you sad, it should.
Chalene’s response is spot-on and everyone, I beg of you, please take this to heart:
“If you are making money doing something that you feel is ‘cringe-worthy,’ you are only hurting yourself. You are making a withdrawal from your own self-worth every time – you are compromising your values. Another person. Another company. A situation. None of those things have the ability, or the right, to take away from you your integrity. You made a decision to allow that. If you realize that is happening, and you are allowing that to happen, you made the decision to stay.”
Boom. Drop the mic.
And I’ll say, my friends, Chalene’s words go for ANYTHING you do in your life. If you want to be an influencer – go for it! Just be true to yourself and keep your values close to your heart – verses focusing on the “hearts” you might receive in that next Instagram pic.
Do you have a social media marketing question? Send them my way: Michelle at bulletproofcomm dot com.
-Michelle Scheuermann, editor, Archery Wire