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INSIGHT

18 · MONEY

ISSUE 54

Dayna is a senior speech therapist by day and feature writer by night. When she’s not busy fixing words, she is travelling the world to add to her fridge magnet collection.

Under Dayna Clarke speaks to Richard Muscat Azzopardi, chief executive officer of leading digital marketing agency Switch Digital, and Tamara Webb, a motivational lifestyle guru, on social influencer marketing and whether a business should invest in one.

THE

influence?

With an incredibly fast-paced market in developments of technology and use of social media, it is only natural that the means of targeting an audience have worked in parallel to supplement the changing trends. Digital marketing has fuelled careers which were inconceivable just 10 years ago. One such job is “Social Influencer”. Last year The Guardian called social influencers “the new stars of web advertising.” Forbes rated the profession by categories and announced them a new economic value. Countless companies clambered over themselves trying to capture online stars to promote their brand. Moreover, the numbers supported that decision. In 2012, there were 40 million users on Instagram. By 2018, there were a billion of them. For those of you who may not be aware of the power of influencers, let us not forget 2017’s iconic Fyre Festival — the hyped-up fivestar event on a tropical island, which never happened. Kendall Jenner was reportedly paid up to $250,000 per post to promote Fyre through social media platforms. Despite the luxury event costing an eye-watering amount per ticket, it was sold out. Many social influencers snapped up the ticket of the year in return for free accommodation to document the lavish festival, yet the reality

couldn’t have been further from the truth. The masses arrived in the Bahamas to find no such glamorous affair but tatty old tents for high-class accommodation, and no private luxury jets or gourmet food. The organiser, Billy McFarland, is currently in prison for fraud. Social media has the power to make any topic viral, and not just influencers, festivals or celebrities. Last year a ‘humble’ egg broke the record for the most followed and liked image on Instagram, garnering some 53 million likes. It started as merely a marketing experiment. One hotel in Ireland gained considerable attention for banning all social influencers after a 22-year-old YouTuber asked for a five-night free stay and broke down in tears when she was bluntly refused. Elle Darby, a UK-based social media influencer, with 87,000 YouTube subscribers and 76,000 Instagram followers, reached out to the owner of The White Moose Café, Paul Stenson, asking if he was interested in a possible collaboration. The owner’s response went viral, stating who would pay his staff and bills. Darby received a considerable negative backlash and was accused by many of ‘freeloading’. Over the pond, in the US, a popular Instagram blogger with 100,000 followers could earn up to $5,000 for a single ad publication. Everyone

Profile for Be Communications

MONEY MAY 2019 ISSUE 54