News broke this morning of prestigious blogger and influencer, Clemmie Hooper (Mother of Daughters), being outed as an online bully and racist. The story, along with the experiences of those she trolled, describe how she took on a pseudonym to post negative comments about others, in order to ‘balance’ the comments she received. It is reported that she did so in order to further her own influencer career, gaining where others missed out due to reputation. She even trolled her own husband, unknowingly to him.
I won’t go further into the story than that – it’s linked above if you’d like the full read, but I have to say thanks to Clemmie. Genuinely. Thanks for making a decision I was toying over very easy today.
From 2020 I will no longer be working in influencer campaign management. Previously, this has been a large aspect of my work, and I’ve enjoyed doing it, but recently I feel the baggage that comes with it is not worth the changes in society and online culture we see.
I’m going to state now that working with influencers themselves has been a generally positive experience for me. Due to the size of the brands I work with, most of my influencer contact has been with smaller bloggers, under a 20k following. Every one of these bloggers and creators have genuinely been lovely people, strong in their business skills, and wonderful creators with fantastic personalities, and most of the time, just doing a job that allows them the flexibility they need for their family. But they’re the exception.
In the few instances I have worked with larger influencers, the experience has always been the opposite. Entitled individuals who at best think themselves too important to speak to collaborators themselves, but instead force you to converse with their managers or agencies (very often inexperienced young girls with an even higher sense of entitlement that are just difficult to work with, Hooper included), and at worst will think nothing of charging £5000 for a badly taken smartphone photo and caption with no thought to run it through a spell checker, leaving you to improve their content for them, then pay them for the service.
Of course, this is the behind the scenes stuff. The stuff that even brands themselves don’t see a lot of the time, just the comms teams that organise the work. But what it results in is fakery. When influencers will say ‘yes’ to any brand deal that pays, they lose their influence (and it won’t take long for their audience to see it). What you end up with is an Instagram feed full of brand content disguised as normal life, leaving consumers feeling inadequate and pressured into spending to keep up. I’m not personally a big consumer, but still feel the pull of this.
There’s an awful lot about the current environmental crisis that is tied into consumerism. I’ll always want to work with brands that are built around sustainability, and make room in their industries for ethical retail that sells a story we want to follow. But I no longer believe influencers are something I can put my time into as part of that.
A re-focus on genuine, organic social media and digital marketing, traditional PR that allows newsworthy content to be given priority by the right publications, and content marketing that accurately conveys the messages a brand has to its audience will firmly make up Ella St Communications’ offerings.
As an organisation that promotes sustainability, I have to address the ethics behind consuming. I believe the most ethical ways of communicating sustainability are those using the methods mentioned above, and I’m looking forward to working with brands that agree with my stance on this.
Oh, and a big middle finger to Clemmie Hooper, you big twat.