THE FORGOTTEN INFLUENCERS:
BY AZ BUNALLY - JUNIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE - BRAND REVOLUTION
When you think about who we define as powerful influencers today, we often mean the person with the biggest engagement and following on social media platforms. At Brand Revolution, we use a wider definition and define the term “Influencer”, as someone who can impact an opinion or purchase decision of a viewer, this can be a blogger, but it can also be someone with influence in a trade, or what we call "local heroes" - the captain of the local netball team for example - whatever wine she orders at the bar, her friends order the same brand. I've been asking myself recently who really are the most effective influencers? Is it those who are ‘Instafamous’ but are clearly as manufactured as a TV commercial? Do they really influence how we think, do they enlighten and impact me as a person, or just give me something pretty to look at? As someone who can't really remember a time without a smart phone, growing up with Social Media, I can see through the manufactured and the real and I came across Maysaloon a few months ago, a blog commenting on the Arab world: its history, culture and politics. As I sat and read it and became engaged, I started to think to myself, ‘this is a true influencer’. The first account stories of the real world every day in Syria truly grips you, you know it’s real but is sounds so unreal, and it shifts your opinion, your thoughts, even your beliefs. Its actually how social media started, issues based or real life based, first person - no filter. But w'eve moved to a manufactured version - much the same as any other manufactured commercial or advertising product - and as such, will it lose its relevance?
With fake news at every corner, or words taken out of context to sell media and help win elections, we don’t often know what’s real and what’s not. One example of news I like is the Qatar-based news channel ‘Al Jazeera’. The news shown is not your typical 6 o’clock news round-up, but an insight into various parts of the world with real and personal stories shown from multiple perspectives – is that why Saudi Arabia and others want to stop it – even to the point where Saudi Arabia have said they wont remove their blockade unless Qatar shuts down Al Jazeera. Similarly, Maysaloon is a blog documenting what it is like in a war zone, but from the perspective of a Syrian who lives there - first person, no spin.
So next time you flick through your insta feed, ask yourself what defines a true influencer. The way I see it is you have all kinds of fake Instagrammers, real Instagrammers and everything in between. And they all serve a purpose, the glam and manufactured life of many Instagrammers serves a purpose, but let’s recognise it for what it is – make believe – and understand that not everyone in social media has “authenticity”.
We have a process here for helping determine who is and who isn’t authentic on S.M – which I think is pretty unique - and if I was a brand, well I would not only look to work with those who present an aspirational vision of life, but those who have real authenticity in what they do, there’s power in that, real power.