13 Sep The Rise of Influencers



 By Sisa Zaragoza


INFLUENCER – I cringe at the word. It has become a designation to some and actual source of income to many wannabes who have made themselves available on social media to follow. Influencers, according to the Business Dictionary are individuals who have the POWER to affect purchase decisions of others because of their authority, knowledge, position or relationship. Again, I cringe at the thought of someday writing my name on the log sheet of any media activity and put my designation as an influencer.

It is the fault of the media, the social networking sites to be exact, having well, kids of unknown pedigrees buying more likes and followers and posing, photoshopping and filtering their pictures so people will yeah, like them for that matter. It has evolved to become a business, reducing ourselves as commodities and elevating our status (by the number of followers) we have on our sites as people of authority. Who died anyways?

The real question we should be asking is this, how influential are these so-called influencers really? By enlarge, do they actually affect someone’s buying power just because they use the products or say thank you to anyone who gives them those? And in business, do marketing people believe that every Tom, Dick and Harry who has 20,000 followers on Instagram affect the tastes of people who follow them? And how can a company measure the KPIs of these influencers through sales translation?

I tried following some of these children and saw their posts. Some had filtered photos. Others wrote captions in appalling grammar. I wasn’t moved. I froze. How can these people have a lasting effect on me when I write better English than them?

I tried to follow those who they say belonged to the top tier. I saw flat lays upon flat lays of products, travel photos and family pictures with very wholesome captions. Wala na ba talagang ibang lay-out kundi flat lay? Yet again, I wasn’t moved. I didn’t want to buy the products that they were indirectly trying to sell just because they use it. I do not want their life. I am happy with my own thank you.

Then I realized, maybe I am NOT the target market of these influencers. Maybe people who are thinking, people who already know themselves and what they want to achieve in life no longer need influencers to try out new products. Sure I found up and coming products to be interesting but it never moved me to actually go online and research about it. Why would I do that when in fact I don’t need it? Why would I buy something just because they use it?

According to recent surveys, 60% of Filipino families belong to the D socioeconomic class. While 9% belong to the C market. While we don’t necessarily believe that one’s income bracket dictates one’s taste, how movies, telenovelas, and commercials are made dictate otherwise. All forms of media have curved the appetites of those who belong to the lower brackets of society. We show them how those living in posh villages live and we titillate them to a fault. Influencers today are no different from the telenovelas that are aired on TV. They present a lifestyle that can be true or can be false. We have forgotten to educate the masses that what happens on social media is NOT exactly what happens in real life. Little do they know that the filters and phone editing tools make the pictures perfect. Lives are not alleviated because they have watched their “idols” lives online. Influencers present to them an escape to their realities with the thinking that they too can have the fake lives they live IF they are holding that beer bottle or wearing that dress. At nagpaloko naman kayo!

Studies show that people who belong to the lower bracket of our society tend to aspire to move up to the higher income brackets there by hoping and wishing that they’d be able to afford whatever it is that the AB market (or those perceived to belong there) enjoy. When one’s goal is based on monetary compensation, people have the tendency to do whatever it takes to afford it.

What we have failed to impart in our social media activities is HOW we got it. We are fixated on WHAT we have that we forgot to show HOW we got it. Is it through hard work? Sheer brilliance? Oh baka naman pinahiram ka lang. Yung totoo. Yung totoo lang.

Real influencers we believe are those who affect other people’s lives, those who make others feel that they want to set goals, achieve and yes, make something out of their lives. Influencers are those people who have managed to curve not just the buying tendencies of people, but those who have paved the way for others to grow, to widen their horizons, to see things beyond face value. Masyado na talaga tayong naging SHALLOW!

Simple lang yan, kung hanggang ngayon ang alam mo lang ay Louis Vuitton at Gucci, may problema ka.

If you want to be a real influencer, PREACH. Talk about achieving goals. Talk about determination. Talk about helping other people. Talk about well, anything with substance. Because real influencers talk about things that are worthwhile. Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs. They made something out of their lives, didn’t they? I challenge you dear “influencers of today,” to live up to the real definition of your designation. Live a life that will inspire people. Be inspirational. Make them want to take those paint brushes and create art. Make your audience want to dance again. Make them want to write again. Make them want to be passionate. And show them that it can happen. Walk the talk dammit! Walk the talk!



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