Social media has been forming our opinions since the early 2000s and in 2009 social media introduced the concept of influencers. Social media consists of websites and apps such as Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, Twitter and many more. According to the influencer marketing hub, a social medial influencer is an individual who has the "power to affect the purchasing decisions of others because of his or her authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with his or her audience".
With that definition in mind, we can determine that social media influences have a huge impact on the buying habits of its users. In fact, 74% of consumers rely on social media in making buying decisions. The effect of influencers on consumerism in today's society is having a detrimental impact on the fine line between living and surviving, we forget when these influencers are showing us their new possessions that they are paid through endorsements to "influence" us to buy them, and even though we know this is the case we do it anyway, even if it's not a necessity and we can't afford it.
"Social media made me buy it" a sentence I've heard many times before, the sound of instant regret, the realisation that this wasn't what you actually wanted to buy with that spare cash you had. Unfortunately, today's world is made up of short-term happiness, when you press 'pay now' and your details are automatically uploaded, no stress, no worry. But what now? The influencer moves on to the more expensive, more advanced, more out of your price range next best thing, and just because the influencer who you admire, adore, and want to be just like purchases that £1000 cream - that means you must? Just to be like them?
From a young age, we compare ourselves to others and our self-image is affected and eventually destroyed. We see influencers and celebrities through photos and videos looking perfect, but this two-second flash photo is exactly that, two seconds of visualisation through the lens of another person. We see these photos on social media and begin to have doubts, doubts about our bodies, our style, and even things we cannot change, we believe these influencers are the standard of beauty, so we purchase the items they promote, so we too can be “beautiful”.
Influencers are known for setting trends, they utilise their following to enhance the development of a paid endorser and the bigger the influencer, the bigger the trend they set.
Take the Kardashians, they are known for their body shape and big lips, this trend has been developed by the cosmetic industry to encourage people to change their permanent features, all to follow a trend? but trends come and go.
Remember the tiny eyebrows from the '90s? well, apparently they are coming back. My eyebrows still haven't recovered.
Money problems, less problems?
Today we see influencers being paid to provide content to convince their followers to buy certain products, unfortunately, the amount they get paid is outstanding compared to the worker who create the products. Influencers with 50,000 to 80,000 followers get around $200.00 per post, and this can change depending on the company they are working with, whereas in the UK a factory worker gets paid £10.06 per hour.
The difference between this one little post compared to the 20 hours of work to make the same amount of money shows how we don't appreciate "the little man" anymore. Social media purchasing has corrupted our minds to believe that we should support our Influencers and provide them with due pay for the service they provide, but everyone forgets that without our factory and garment workers the Influencers would have nothing to show.