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I figured what with everything that’s happened in the last few months now would be a good time to publish something that I said I’d publish for a good while now. So sit back, relax and have a read of my ramblings and slight rant and try to not get offended by anything you read…

For those of you that have been living under a rock and are not aware of what an Influencer is, it is a ‘normal person who’s paid by a company/brand to promote a product/service. Brands have been picking these influencers who started out as bloggers over models who started out as bikini clad sticks on Grafton Street. I’m all for the success that these influencers have achieved as being in the industry (both being a blogger and being in PR) but what I’m not here for is every hun out there with a minor penneys obsession and love of snapchat filters calling themselves an influencer. In my opinion, you can only call yourself an influencer if someone else has first. OF COURSE anyone can go around and say that they have an influence on people around them.

As I’m sure many of you were aware, Bloggers Unveiled was a MASSIVE thing in Ireland over the last few months and not only gave a few well known Influencers a kick up the arse to cop on, they also gave the industry a good shaking up as alot of brands have been more cautious with who they choose as brand ambassadors for their products.

The market before Influencers…

Before the days of the rose gold loving, perma-tanned #Spon instamodel , brands relied on Irish models to promote products. Models would regularly grace Grafton Street promoting some random product in front of a photographer usually donning some tiny tight bikini and a pair of stilettos promoting anything from mens hair care products to weekend shopping trips to New York which were all the rage during the Celtic Tiger…

Some models gained popularity and achieved a celebrity status in Irish society due to their looks (not to mention the fact that they were never out of the papers).The phenomenon of models in bikinis got to a point where one well-known (now retired) model suffered pneumonia because she was pictured wearing fuck all on Grafton Street in the middle of winter which isn’t exactly ideal…

The emergence of ‘Influencers’

Influencers/bloggers in the UK have hit big money with reports that Zoella is on a cool 50K a MONTH. This is staggering considering she’s not even 30. Zoë and her brother Joe ,along with original youtubers Marcus Butler, Jim Chapman and Alfie Deyes and of course the original Irish Youtube families, the Saccone Jolies all started off on Youtube a good few years before Google set their eyes on buying it. This put them in the perfect position when it really became popular for brands as they already had an audience and as a result, all of them are now multi-millionaires, each having their own companies and opportunities that would have probably never have happened had they not decided to hit the record button on their camera all those years ago.

Although the Irish market is smaller than the likes of the UK and USA, this doesn’t stop Irish influencers thinking that they’re celebs. One influencer demanded a fee of €1500 just to sit on a chair and judge people for an upcoming production. This made me laugh as I know that if I told someone I charged that much just to sit on a chair at a pop up table for half an hour, I’d be laughed out of the building if not the country and never get taken seriously ever again…

I’ve always had an issue with people finding the easy way to do things while others work their arse off to get where they want to be. An example of this is an email I recently heard about where a certain Irish Dublin blogger sent brands an email asking for them to send their family members products as they wanted to ‘get into influencing’. Like seriously? You don’t ‘get into’ influencing. You work your arse off, build up your following and THEN approach brands yourself or have them approach you.

When ‘influencing’ became a thing’ in Irish culture we experienced a boom, where, almost overnight, there was an influx of people putting influencer in their instagram bio when in reality these people couldn’t influence me to breathe let alone buy a product… This led to a nationwide obsession with people all around the country watching these ‘stars’ on Snapchat and Instagram and created a new tier in Irish celebrity culture.

Getting out of control…
This new tier in Irish celebrity culture led to the creation of ‘The Masterclass’ business model which is quite possibly the best business decision most of these influencers could ever make.

The idea was that influencers would go to different venues around the country and present these shows where , for between 75-100 euro, guests could come and enjoy a day out which include goodie bags as well as make up tutorials, fashion shows and giveaways for best dressed and best social media posts. They could also end their day with a cute little meet and greet with whatever influencer is hosting. They are typically held once a month in locations across the country and in Northern Ireland and often sell out in minutes. These two, sometimes three day events has been quite profitable with one top influencer earning a staggering €280,000 which isn’t bad for a weekend’s work…

Change…

The ASAI

As Influencing was a relatively new phenomenon , the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) had no guidelines or rules that these influencers had to abide by . This lack of rules became an issue when influencers used this free reign to deceive their followers which was done by using photo editing apps to either brighten their ”Hollywood” smile or make them about 5 dress sizes smaller than they actually were. The purpose of these new regulations wasn’t to financially penalise these people but rather get the word out to brands that they have been ‘unlawful’ and as a result, this may effect their work with brands in the future.

Calling out
The term Influencer or blogger has become somewhat of a ‘dirty word’ in the last few years and most of that has to do with the now infamous troll that was Bloggers Unveiled.

For those of you who don’t know, Bloggers Unveiled was an account who called out bloggers/Influencers on their behaviour online about 90% of which was warranted as far as I could tell. These people were treating their followers as sheep where they would buy cheap accessories from marketplace sites, bulk buy them and stick their product logo on it and slap another 10-15 euro on the price and weirdly enough, people were buying them. I don’t know who’s worse in this situation, the blogger for charging ridiculous prices for what is basically cheap tat from Asia that took about a month to arrive or the followers for paying these stupid prices in the first place…

Another thing BU made public was the art of inflating your following so that you’d seem super popular and get more work from brands as a result. This technique was working fine for certain bloggers who, for the sake of not being sued left right and centre, I shall keep nameless until people discovered sites that let you check a person’s following, where the bulk of their followers are from as well as how many followers you gained/lost in a day. One well known blogger was gaining hundreds on days where they weren’t even posting content and then losing about thousand the next day like ????

My Opinion…

Now for the part that I’m sure all of you are reading for…

Personally , I agree with everything that has happened over the last few months. It’s about time there was clarity in the industry which is something I welcome both in the position of a being a blogger and working in PR. These Influencers get called out on their shitty online behaviour and making money off of their followers stupidity . (I’m sorry but if you’re paying 16 euro for a bag worth a quarter of that and still supporting them then you need to get off the internet.). It’s been a long time coming for these people to face the music like we all KNOW that your hairline isn’t blurry in person or that you’re actually a size 16 instead of the size 12 you claim all of your clothes really are…

I’m all for these people being called out for their shitty online behaviour but these Influencers need to cop on and stop playing the bully card when it happens. They need to ADMIT they were taking their followers (and their money) for a ride. If they don’t like you asking them a certain question or making a statement to them, the chances are you’ll find yourself on their blocked list. Now the thing I find particularly ironic is that if they had simply addressed the questions, their followers would actually respect them for it.

I am sooooo fucking tired of some 20-something year old Influencer just blocking people because they’re asking genuine questions. C’mon lads, we don’t live in a little bubble where we don’t notice your following increasing by over 100K in a day… . Just own up to your shit, apologise and move on rather then having Facebook groups or Instagram accounts speculating as to why you haven’t addressed the fact that you’re basically a blurry Facetuned mess.

Oh and while we’re at it, can we stop with the whole ‘for those who were asking my outfit is from…’ like hun we can see your snaps/story is closed to replies so the only person ‘asking’ you anything about the outfit is the brand paying you to talk about them…

So I guess I FINALLY got round to publishing that post haha!

I’ll have another post up later this week so keep an eye on my social media which I’ve linked below!

Til next time,

Conor xo

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