The Problem With Influencers And Thought Leaders

Let's start with the Social Media Influencer.

They are not building a brand. They become walking advertisements for other brands. They are nothing more than a wall to place their advertisement on.

Five star businesses are built on expert services and a brand that can’t be taken away from you. You are the face of your business and no one is sticking something else on your face.

If you love travel, turning it into your job will probably take the fun out of it.

You want to go to the beach and relax? Too bad, you need to bring 3 cameras, a tripod, 4 changes of clothes and 2 bottles of sunscreen for a photoshoot.

Speaking of.. 

I don’t like or respect Influencers. Couldn't you tell?!

They are living and breathing advertisements. Sometime in the last 5 years, a shift took place.

Brands used to hold the power and consumers would flock to them and buy. Now, average Joes with a penchant for posting a lot make a living charging money to “endorse” a product.

I’m a millennial myself, so this isn’t coming from an older generation. I’m traditional, yes, but I don’t think there’s anything “outdated” about having my own likes, dislikes and opinions.

I don’t buy a product because Famous Franny The Influencer says it’s the "must buy”. If she says that, it’s because she’s getting paid. I put no faith or trust in other people’s opinions when it’s in their interest to endorse a product.

In the past, celebrities would be the only “Influencers” who got paid to endorse products. But their job wasn’t to perpetually advertise brands- it was to sing or act or educate. They had a job doing something they were skilled at.

Influencers are famous for the sake of being famous. Their life is a photoshoot. Now they have the upper hand. It doesn’t make any sense to me.

This isn’t meant to be a sole teardown of Influencers, but an explanation of why selling a service online is a lot more attainable and respectable.

Do you really want to build your business on someone else’s platform? I come across Influencers' profiles whose websites are like graveyards, if they have a website at all.

The uptick in Influencer marketing reminds me of when I was in high school and everyone wore Abercrombie or Hollister. No one had their own style. They just wore logos and slogans every single day.

Why?

No one can do or buy anything without other people knowing.

I don’t care that you got a haircut, went on vacation or stubbed your toe.

If we’re friends, I care a lot. But my genuine interest in your life is more than a like, comment or emoji.

Influencers have no personal/business separation. Your business is your life. Your life is your business. 

It’s a very shallow existence, with everything being planned for the purpose of “how it will look.”

Brands say partnering with Influencers is a great way to sell because their audience puts a lot of trust in them and their expertise. This is ridiculous. Why should you trust someone who is getting paid to say what they say? Their word means nothing.

Even celebrities are capitalizing on Influencer marketing, sharing sponsored posts that advertise tea, clothing, fitness equipment and more.

"Are they that desperate for work they have to resort to sponsored posts on their feed?"

I've wondered that multiple times while looking at the 10th sponsored post for a snack.

 

 

And then there are Influencers and “Thought Leaders"

They are the unique breed of people who want to be known for their not-so-original thoughts and self-inflated authority. Complicated jargon only convolutes the end message. And when jargon is the basis of their messaging.. they have nothing substantial to say.

Influencers only have influence over people that can’t think for themselves. It’s not difficult to persuade people to think something when they don’t have a mind of their own.

My buying decision doesn’t hang on what someone else says or thinks, therefore an endorsement means very little in my buying cycle.

Being an Influencer is not a good reason to be known. Want to be known for something memorable that doesn’t include pushing product? Build an online service business where you provide actual value to paying customers who buy into your benefits.

Influencers haven’t earned your respect. 

You need to earn respect to have it, but it can be gone in a second. 

Oprah has earned our respect. She continually showed up, provided value and changed peoples lives.

Labeling yourself as someone important without the goods to back it up is just false advertising. And it’s too easy to do because many people take entrepreneurs at their word. 

Everyone wants to be famous, but contrary to what social media tells us, being famous isn’t a talent. And it doesn’t pay the bills. 

Just because everyone knows your name, doesn’t mean they respect you or want what you’re selling.

Fame doesn’t pay the bills.

Buzzwords like “authority” and “influence” don’t mean anything. If you have the ability to make people follow you, then your people aren’t very intelligent or independent thinkers.

I may be seen as an “authority” because I have actual expertise in the area of building a prestigious online business, but I don’t expect anyone to hang on my every word. Admire me. Agree with me. Disagree with me. I don’t care, because I just want to help the people I can help. If they get value out of what I do, say and sell then I feel great. I don’t need someone telling me I’m important enough to be listened to (and neither do you). Why not?

Because we are all important enough to be listened to. And spending time trying to prove we’re worthy is a waste of time.

“Authority” is one of the facets of a five star business, but it’s in the vein of proving your expertise, not your importance. You can’t command respect from a self-built pedestal.

 

Having followers does not make you a leader.

The philosophy behind being an Influencer is being able to “influence” people. While most people are sheeple and can’t think for themselves, I prefer to seek out and respect individuals who have a mind of their own.

I want my clients to form their own opinions and own them.

I want my friends to hate my taste in movies, if they actually hate it.

I want my mom to give me a funny look and chuckle when I wear a skirt as a top, because she thinks it’s ridiculous.

Have a mind of your own, because that’s rare and valuable and sacred.


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Nicole Faith