Tayla Goldberg, a twitter user, created a thread that explained how influencer marketing on social media could be compared to a pyramid scheme.
In her own words, she says “Influencer marketing is like selling a false dream that you can make real money. “
THE THREE TIERS OF SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCERS
She later highlights why exactly she reached that conclusion. According to her, there are three tiers to Influencer Marketing. There’s tier 1 which are the most popular Influencers we know, the ones who are ambassadors for several brands.
They are the ones at the top, and needless to say, receive the lion’s share since they bring more profits to the brands they advertise for.
Second, is tier 2, the lesser celebs who are mostly given free stuff by brands to advertise. They are not necessarily paid, but when they get lucky, they do.
Then finally comes the Tier 3, influencers who might not have that large of a social media following but still, they are struggling to get recognized in the game. These kinds of influencers will do most of the work for different brands. They create content for them and post about them for little or no money at all.
And, someone might argue that, isn’t this a norm for all job types? I mean, you have to start at the bottom right?
HOW TAYLA VIEWS THE “INFLUENCER PYRAMID SCHEME”
But according to Tayla, that is, in fact, not the case when it comes to influencer marketing. You see, the thing is, the tier 1 influencers will continue earning more money and getting endorsed to more brands.
The tier 2 and 3 influencers, thinking that they could also reach that level one day, continue and continue advertising for these brands, clutching on a thin string of hope of being endorsed as ambassadors one day.
Sadly for most of them though, that endorsement never comes. Their efforts go on to serve the best interest of the brands and consequently increasing the brand’s ROI.
MY VIEWS ON WHETHER IT’S A PYRAMID SCHEME
In a way, I agree with Tayla. It does seem like a pyramid scheme, like the likes of Boldcasher, or the 2016 Public Likes. Remember that?
But unlike these pyramid schemes, Influencer Marketing has a promise of paying out in the end. It may take years and years, or just a few months. It just depends on your creativity, hard work, and your social media following; the things that you need to have to be a significant Influencer.
Moreover, it’s a growing professional field in this era, especially with social media being the cornerstone of our lives right now, and like all growing fields, there can be instabilities here are there.
It’s also important to remember that Influencer Marketing is highly competitive. It requires you to be very creative in your content creation because, in the end, a brand will want to endorse an influencer with a unique take of their brand, someone who is going to increase their profits.
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The way I see it, starting in any field of profession is never easy, and Influencer Marketing is no different. Creating content can be harder than it seems. It is going to take hours of your day, creating, and perfecting for little profit.
HACKING THE “SCHEME”
Honestly, I find myself agreeing with one other thing Tayla writes. She advises, not in her exact words that you should not make Influencer Marketing your main hustle, especially if you are just starting out.
Make it a side hustle. Have fun with it. Schedule a time for it, maybe only on weekends or when you need a break from your main hustle. That way, you will not put too much pressure on it, and it will also allow you to be more creative with content creation.
Another thing is you should also focus on is gaining a larger following. Brands can’t endorse knowing you have a small reach. Therefore, if it’s using the “follow hashtags”, use them. But, also be careful. Don’t gain just any following. Have a target audience in mind, people that will actually buy or consider buying these products you advertise.
Armed with those two, Creativity and Large Target Audience, plus Hard Work, of course, any influencer who is just starting can quickly learn the ropes to it and not just give up after being discouraged by the “pyramid-scheme” notion.
With that, I would like to note that as much Tayla Goldberg makes excellent points, she is wrong in some ways. She did not consider the loss the brands can make when they endorse an influencer from tier 3, and only felt it as favoritism, when in fact, the tier 1 influencer just bring more to the table. And, after all, wasn’t there a point where this same tier 1 influencer was at the bottom?