Written by Angel Fletcher-Penfold • Published 17th January 2019 • 5 minute read
Kylie Jenner has been taken off the top-spot for the most liked photo on Instagram by a very unexpected influencer; an egg.
This is not a metaphor, or fake news. It truly is your standard egg. @KylieJenner’s Instagram account has 124 million followers and she has posted almost 6000 times! Whilst @world_record_egg has posted only once and has 5.5 million followers. This single egg post has received 45 million likes at the time of writing this which is incredible considering it was only posted less than two weeks ago.
This may seem puzzling, but users have shown signs of rebelling against influencers such as the Kardashian/Jenners for some time. We feel this egg has done so well because of the ‘first follow theory’. In a nutshell (or maybe an egg shell would be more appropriate for this article) this means a leader liked the photo and others followed suit. As more people join the initiative, it actually becomes riskier to not join in. you can read more about this theory here.
The egg also exposes how many users enjoy mocking the consumerist world we have created and would sometimes rather root for the underdog. With this in mind, when choosing an influencer to represent your brand or indeed positioning yourself as an influencer yourself, be sure to remain authentic.
The world of influencers is a minefield and contributes massively to the ever-changing dimension of social media. Consumers crave content that is genuine, and the cast of Love Island drinking the latest herbal tea just isn’t going to cut it anymore.
Some fashion and beauty brands have noticed this and have come up with a short-term solution for creating more influencer content that seems three-dimensional. Brands such as Benefit and Revolve pay for small groups of influencers to go on holiday together. This way the brand can control the content that is put out, and create behind-the-scenes footage whilst capitalising on several large followings.
The reason we have called it short-term is because it will not be long until more brands use this method, our feeds become dominated by these group trips, and consumers soon reject this as too contrived. Although the content is of a better quality with more layers and variety compared to your average solo influencer advert, when a company brands an entire vacation for a group of ten ‘Instagram models’, can it truly ever be considered genuine? These trips are truly extravagant with brands spending well over £300,000 on the holidays alone, it is no wonder a large group of users already resent this kind of consumerism.
Of course, there are also users who still aspire to be influencers, and are going to desperate lengths to trick brands into sending them free products and even paying them for adverts. These users are posing their posts as sponsored, when in actual fact they have paid for the product just like any other customer. These users then approach other brands boasting of their past collaborations. As they say, “you have to fake it to make it!”. Traditional CVs and payslips are not always in place, brands are unlikely to ask for any proof of an influencer’s past experiences which is why before you exchange money for a collaboration, you should always do your research.
As the need for authenticity increases, bot accounts have also decreased. Last year Instagram culled fake followers and even removed fake likes and comments from people’s posts. Twitter also deactivated millions of fake accounts last year, much to the despair of high-profile celebrities who saw their following decrease almost overnight. Katy Perry, who has the most-followed account on Twitter, saw her following drop by 2.8 million!
Removing fake accounts is great for businesses because, in theory, now when a business collaborates with an influencer, each follower is genuinely interested in the influencer and what they have to say. According to a study from New York marketing company Captiv8, brands were paying around £157 million for fake followers! Here’s why:
If an influencer has 50K followers but 5% of those followers are fake and they are paid £10,000 for a sponsored post, that means £500 was essentially wasted. Social media platforms often receive a lot of criticism for not putting their user’s first, but this is certainly a step in the right direction from a business account perspective.
Social media users are becoming savvy to spotting fake accounts independently too. Sometimes it is obvious, for example if an account has 50k followers and yet only 100 likes on their latest post it is very likely they have paid for those followers. If you want to go a step further to be sure, there are also apps such as HypeAudior and Fake CheckCo that can tell you what percentage of an Instagram account’s followers are fake.
When did users become so obsessed with the number of followers they had? Here at PHA Social, we value engagement rates much more because this essentially reflects how much your followers value the content you post, which is much more important than the vanity of being able to boast about having thousands of followers. Imagine having a birthday party and 100 people turn up but only four of them actually like you; it would be quite sad right? Which is why your following should reflect quality over quantity.
There is no shame in being a small fish in social media, after all users with less than 10k followers make up 80% of social media accounts. Being a part of that 80% makes an influencer more relatable and trustworthy, which is why micro-influencers are becoming a more popular option. Micro-influencers are also more likely to interact with their followers and respond to direct messages and comments; brands will definitely get more for their money. 77% of them are said to post every single day after all! Speaking of money, with a smaller following comes a smaller fee too which is great news for businesses who do not have the budget required for big collaborations. It is no wonder organisations such as Forbes have named micro-influencers as the future.
In conclusion, previously unrivalled influencers such as Kylie Jenner may now have some serious competition as brands realise the largest following doesn’t necessarily mean the best results. There are so many options out there and for too long brands have picked from the same pool of influencers. We hope you now know how to spot a fake influencer and have a new appreciation for micro-influencers. With billions of social media accounts, it can be daunting to pick the right influencer for you or stand out from the crowd.
If you need help from a business or individual point-of-view, we are of course here with the best advice for you.