Followers, Celebrities And Sales

How do you get your social media right if you’re a brand? More than that, if you aim to be eco-friendly, transparent and perhaps even homegrown how do you amass mindful shoppers when there are bigger, cheaper companies already seducing your customer base?

Is there a balance and is there any point in follower numbers without a celebrity endorsement? Equally is it the celebrity that creates the numbers in the first place?  The bottom line is, is it converting to sales? That might sound mercenary but businesses cannot survive without sales, no matter how niche you might think yourself.

I treat my social media as an extension of my brand. I don’t think about the numbers, otherwise I would be doomed to failure. From where I stand I am fighting a losing battle if I obsess about follower numbers. I am not Primark, I am not a Youtube blogger. Amen to that.

I do post up a lot of product because product is what I do. But I try to add lifestyle and behind the scenes images into the mix because I am a single human being behind the name. And guess what, it’s just me sitting here typing this for you. Noone else. No PR firm, no internship student. Just me.

I would rather have 50 genuine followers who bought my designs than 5000 fake ones who only ever said ‘Nice photo’ on my Instagram posts (yes that is a thing). Fake might look good to the untrained eye and to bloggers who rely on numbers for conversion and revenue, but it does not look good for brands like me. Those figures will not convert to sales and to be honest the numbers look suspicious.

Jennifer Aniston advertises bottled water. Would you buy it? Do you think she does? (source)

I got called out not so long ago for suggesting a lot of social media was vacuous. Well it is. It’s hard work trying to encourage genuine social media follows when you don’t subscribe to product placement, selfies and the’ me me me’ self indulgent attitude.

The reality of Youtube stars for instance, is that most of them are not making money. They make cash through product placement because they get paid to talk about and recommend products. But fans switch off in their droves if you advertise. They don’t get that blogging is a job not a hobby and likely most of them do not care. If you turn it into your income, you are under a lot of pressure. How else do you think they are making their money? Well they have real jobs of course. And since when was being internet famous a wage payer. It’s about the exposure right?

Fusion.net’s article on the economics of internet fame is a wake up call. And yet subscribers do like the fakery. Otherwise Stina Sanders wouldn’t have had the problems she encountered in 2015. Either that or fans are remarkably gullible.

With job security falling and the global reach of the internet bigger than ever, making your money via social media as a blogger seems like the logical choice. Except everyone is doing it and you don’t make money with subscribers, you make it with brands using you as a billboard hoarding.

If brand followers aren’t interested in product placement, how do you find and keep customers via social media? Celebrity endorsements now come with a whole heap of legal problems with the issue of disclosure and yet noone will endorse anything without a paycheck of some sort. So how do you navigate the world of genuine product placement and fan recommendation? If your product is linked to a celebrity, at what point does the advertising stop being about the product and become about the person doing the advertising?

If I include a product or name somewhere on my social media it’s because I genuinely use it, like it, support it, whatever. But that doesn’t attract hits and it certainly doesn’t make me money. It’s as if the magic wand of celebrity is the only thing that counts in number terms. And yet paying your celeb does not transfer into revenue for you as a brand. And why would a company want an endorsement that wasn’t a genuine personal recommendation?

Well I guess that’s just the difference between big brands with quotas to fill and businesses with an honest message.

For all things Falcieri Designs check out my website at www.falcieridesigns.co.uk

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