BREAKING NEWS: Instagram Likes MIA

It’s probably hard for most of us to imagine a world where Likes don’t matter. I remember when I was 14 and a selfie I got before Clubland got 24 likes on Facebook. I’ve never felt as famous. But finally, finally, someone has caught themselves on and realised the damage social media pressure is doing to us. Instagram. Is. Getting. Rid. Of. Likes. Supposedly.

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The new feature has been in the works for a few months now, being tested on small groups of users since July in over 7 countries including Canada, Australia and Japan. It’s just about to be trailed in US, meaning it most likely will be active worldwide in the pretty near future. And it’s giving Instagram users a lot of mix feelings.

So what will the change mean? Rather than seeing the number of people who Likes a post, Instagram will show “Liked by [who you fancy If you’re lucky] and others“. Meaning your followers will never know the number of Likes your post got. I mean they technically could count all the users, but who’s really gonna be so bothered to do that? I hope no one. Please spend your time on something more beneficial. If you want too you can see the number of Likes your post got if you click onto it, but only if you chose to do so. It’s easy to avoid the number if you want too. Good bye Instagram Anxiety.

Why are Instagram doing this? Isn’t liking pictures the whole point?

Basically Instagram wants to become the safest place on the internet, with the happiest users. It’s no shock that Instagram has been heavily criticised about its effect on mental health, especially to Generation Z. A 2017 survey carried out by The Royal Society for Public Health & Young Health Movement proved Instagram to be the most likely platform to have a negative effect on young people’s health and well-being. So, when announcing the change Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri said,

“the idea is to de-pressurise Instagram and make it a space that’s more focused on connections, conversations and community, especially for young people.”

He wants the app to be a fun place for people to share and connect, not a place where you value your worth over a number.

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So, on a personal level, what do I think of this? I think it’s great and something that should have been done long ago. My personal attitude towards Instagram has changed a lot over the past few years. I’ve grown up (believe it or not) and I do not value my worth through who Likes my Instagram. I post what I want, when I want, as much as I want. Yet, when I was 16, a lot less confident and a lot more vulnerable, my attitude was completely different. A night out was a waste if I didn’t get a photo for the gram, and even If I did get a photo, was it really Insta worthy? Would it get good Likes? What if no one Likes it? What if it gets less Likes that my last photo? How come she got loads of Likes and I didn’t? I’d turn off my Instagram notifications after I uploaded so I’d never know if my post was getting Likes or not. And the most ridiculous of all, but I know you all did it too, I would have waited until “prime time” to post to make sure I’d get the best chance of Likes. Why was there RULES for posting a photograph on Instagram.

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So many unnecessary worries for a young teenage girl, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who felt that, wouldn’t we be lucky if that was all we had to worry about nowadays. So yeah, the removal of the Likes feature will be a definite step in the right direction, but it’s only the first step in making the platform a safe and happy place for users. Have Instagram forgot about the comments? If Instagram are really looking out for the safety and happiness of their users, this is the real danger. Even Cardi B and Kim Kardashian have called Instagram out on this saying much more needs to be done to protect its users, starting with the removal of the comment feature.

All this aside, we must think of the people who aren’t using Instagram for personal use. Canadian Influencer Kate Weiland is not one bit pleased about the new change as Likes are what tells her what her audience enjoy, and what they want to see from her. She looks at Likes as though it’s the audience clapping at the end of a performance. Without Likes, it’ll be an awkward silence.

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Influencers, artists and celebrities relay a lot on their Instagram performance for income. Influencers are freaking out about how the change will impact their income, if not their entire career. Thinking if brands can’t see the number of likes their racking up for a sponsored post, how will they know the impact they have on consumer behaviour? How will they impress brands and make them want to approach them for sponsorship? But brands have spoken out about the issue and have explained how to them, likes are only “surface” level and what they care most about is other metrics such as engagement, URL clickthroughs, swipe ups and all that influencery stuff, which is a lot more important than a Like on a photo that most people probably forget about after they scroll past it, or Like on reflex without even realising it.

The change will mean people will be more experimental with their content, something I’d love to see. Influencers and celebrities will engage more with their followers about real stuff,  not what they think will get the most likes. And us nobodies, we’ll post what we want to, without thinking what our followers will think of it. I give Instagram a round of applause for the first step in taking away with social media pressures we all face today.

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Catherine Maguire is a Final Year year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University. She can be found on Instagram: catherinelauram and LinkedIn: Catherine Maguire

Generation Meme

I haven’t posted a status on Facebook since I was about 14, yet I always check my news feed. I follow a couple of thousand people on Instagram, but my news feed isn’t filled with people I particularly know. I don’t follow hundreds of celebrities on twitter like I used to when I was a teen Fangirl, yet Twitter is my most visited app every day.

So, what am I using my social media platform for? Well isn’t it obvious… MEMES.

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My twitter direct messages are constant threads of myself and my friends sharing the latest memes with each other, most of my following on Instagram are meme pages and I only use Facebook to tag my friends in 100 posts a day with the comment “me.” I see them daily, relate to them more than anything and spend my time looking through them when I should be doing something else. Sound familiar?

Memes are part of our culture now, a way of life, a cure to our sadness. They’re how we communicate online and offline as meme quotes become a normal part of our vocab. So where did it all come from, what’s the appeal and why do we create and share them so aggressively?

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We can thank evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins for introducing the world to memes way back in 1976, where he coined the term in his book “The Selfish Gene.” Science is not my strong point so don’t quote me on this, but here’s what I gathered. Dawkins defined memes as a unit for carrying cultural ideas or behaviour, similar to how genes carry genetic information from one generation to the next. According to Dawkins, when one person imitates another, a meme is passed to the imitator, similar to the way blue eyes, skin tones and so on are passed from parents to children through genes. So the cultural ideas and satirical posts we post online are sort of like tiny bits of cultural DNA that we share with each other over social media.

So memes have been around for quite a while, but they weren’t always the way we know and love them today. Memes used to be simply playing a song, sharing art and old fashioned non internet-based stuff. Memes as we know them are digital files made especially for the internet including combination of images, video’s, gifs and hash tags. Typically they’re a funny photo or clips from a popular television show, interview or vine (miss you vine, rest in peace) which users add a humorous, satirical or usually ironic catchphrase or caption to then share it with their friends and absolute strangers on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram. And we love each other for it.

So why are we so obsessed? Communication researchers have legit spent time & money looking into why we spend so much of our precious time scrolling through memes rather than you know doing something more productive e.g. getting our degree’s.

We’re all in this together

As a generation who are so insecure and lonely that it hurts, feeling like we belong is what we crave, and memes do exactly that. Sharing the latest memes with your friends makes you feel like the part of something, it makes us feel intelligent (about the stupidest things), funny and in the know. Following the latest meme trends are conversation starters, become inside jokes between friends and are even a way to keep up with old ones. Personally, as ashamed as I am to say, I mightn’t find the energy to text a friend that I haven’t talked to in a while, but you can sure as hell bet I’ll tag them in a meme that reminds me of them and if that’s not real love I don’t know what is. Think of how your Ma connects with all her friends over recipes, cleaning tips and Cliff Richard. We connect over memes.

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Je Parle Meme

My first language in English incase you hadn’t gathered. I have a GCSE in French and could probably still recite my Oral as I still have PTSD from it. I’ll throw a Dia dhuit and Slán about the odd time. But if I was asked what my second language was – em, does Meme count?

Don’t know what to say to make your friend feel better on a bad day? There’s a meme for it. Get into an awkward tiff with your friend and don’t know what to say to break the ice? There’s a meme for it. Just had the most horrifyingly embarrassing moment and you can’t even put into words to tell your friends about it? There’s a meme for that too. Believe me, I’ve used plenty of them. There’s a meme for just about every mood, reaction or scenario that could possibly happen that sometimes you don’t even have to use words to communicate with your friends, just send them a meme and they’ll know exactly what you mean. Although it may appear ridiculously anti-social, It’s our generations favourite way to communicate and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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They make us feel good, even when we feel our worst

Plain and simple. Memes make us feel good. They make us laugh, they make the worst possible situation seem not as bad and help us laugh through the pain. I could be a hour away from a deadline with a final paragraph and conclusion still to go, but if there’s a meme relatable to that you sure as hell bet I’m gonna laugh, send it into my group chat with the caption “me rn” and I’ll be laughing when I really shouldn’t be.

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And who else feels good when they see a meme about a unfortunate situation on Facebook, and see that loads of your mutual friends have liked it, tagged their friends and related to it too. All of a sudden you don’t feel as bad for laying in bed all day when you have 101 things to do, using the last of your wages on a night out or the fact that it’s nearly summer and you forgot to work on your summer body. For the 5th year in a row. It’s as though memes put a hold on the chaos that is our generation.

21st Century Education

Just think of some of the most viral memes over the last couple of years. What’s often common context behind them? Politics. Don’t get me wrong, our world at the moment is not something to laugh at, even though America could be a satirical sitcom in its own right, yet some of the most pressing political moments in the past 2 years have made the most viral memes. (I wonder why..).

I for one don’t read the news often unless it’s an article on my timeline and I’m sure a lot of you can say the same, you should all pick up the Irish News though, so memes are like tiny little pieces of information to educate us and help even the most naive people understand what’s going on in the world and what ridiculous thing Trump has said that week.

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Memes are our lives now. They’re shaping our culture and changing the way we think, act and communicate. They bring us together, take the seriousness out of everyday life and they make me question if any of us are half wise. To sum all my blabbering up memes are class, I love them and I sure as hell hope they don’t go anywhere anytime soon, I’m already sad that I’m seeing less of the tracksuit man on my twitter timeline.

Catherine Maguire is a 3rd year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University, currently on a placement year at The Irish News. She can be found on Instagram: catherinelauram and LinkedIn: Catherine Maguire

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Outfit inspo, binge-worthy TV shows, dream holiday destinations… Instagram is influencing us on just about everything these days. Even down to how and where we eat.

I’m sure a lot of you can relate when I say eating out has become merely a pasttime, a way to catch up with friends – may I go as far as saying, a hobby? So, it was no surprise to me when I recently came across an article that said, “59% of millennials eat out at least 3 times a week”, and when we do, we love to share our food (not literally) on the gram. Sometimes I have to remind myself it isn’t a necessity to put up an Instagram story every time I go out for lunch or dinner. But that rarely stops me. 

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Before social media ran the world, people would have chosen where to pick up a coffee or meet their friends for dinner by a recommendation, a review they seen in the paper or wherever was most convenient for them. Or as my parents would say, “we just cooked at home, who needs to pay £14 for chicken on a bed of mash?” Yet, millennials obsession with pretty food and extravagant looking drinks has resulted in restaurants, cafés and bars completely changing their marketing strategies to make them as “Instagrammable” as possible. Some places have even gone as far as basing their menus around how their dishes will look in photos.

“Millennials today form more than 50% of our customer base and we have to give them what they want. Today’s customers want great food, great service and great photos.” 

So, what are these places doing to ensure they are the chosen location for their customers next photosho – sorry, lunch.

 Aesthetically pleasing plates

A bacon butty for breakfast or a ham and cheese sandwich for lunch doesn’t hit the spot like they used too. Now we want smashed avocado with that perfectly runny poached egg, a brightly coloured smoothie bowl and the most aesthetically pleasing salad bowl you could imagine. Who knew Instagram would improve healthy eating? 

 

 

It doesn’t stop with the food though, that would be too easy. How are these dishes going to be plated up? On a white plate? Are you crazy? The plate must be rustic, oval rather than circular and have a funky vintage print. And gone are the days of a cappuccino in a mug – you’ll now get it in a beaker, and don’t forget the classic leaf design. Or a heart if you’ve caught the eye of the Barista.

Millennials are all about this, the more alternative the better. It’s exciting and I love seeing what little personal quirks restaurants and cafés have. But other generations don’t enjoy it as much. I’ve previously experienced an older customer display great distress as I served his burger on a “ridiculous” wooden slate, and demanded I changed it over to a plate, as his wife demands her cappuccino was changed to a “normal cup” that she wasn’t going to “scald” herself with. Okay, you won’t get as many likes this way though.  

Insta-worthy Interior

Us millennials love a quirky place to sip our coffee or meet our friends for dinner and cocktails, so the effort restaurant and café owners put into their interior is pretty important. You can bet if I’m in a cool café with a quirky quote on the wall it’ll feature on my Instagram story… and none of my followers will be surprised.

 

 

Back in the day a few nice tables (or booths if they were feeling adventurous) with pristine white tablecloths and lighting that gave a nice ambience generally made a happy customer. Whether it looked good in photographs was not a restaurant owners concern. Now, they must put great thought and effort to ensure they have mesmerizing interior, an array of furniture, lighting that’ll produce insta-worthy photos and quirky quotes on the walls that will attract customers and boost social media presence. If anything, this is equally as important as the food on our plates.

Before the owners of Media Noche, (one of the most popular cafes in San Francisco), opened their first café they gave their interior designer one simple instruction –

“we want it to be instagrammable.”  

And it worked out pretty well. If you search their location on Instagram you’ll see thousands of peoples posts from their visit to the stylish café, and most of them are of the interior rather than the food.

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Another café that understands the importance of interior and visuals is Bills.

“As a social channel, Instagram has always been our most natural fit. Bill’s is such a visual brand – from the food to the restaurant décor and these two aspects are clearly big reasons why people come to us.”

Said Head of Marketing Jack Carey. And he’s not half wrong, after constantly seeing Bill’s on my explore page and the stories of my favourite influences, I was first in Bill’s for Saturday Brunch when I visited London a few months ago. As seen on my Instagram story. Obv. 

Stunt Food

The food section of an Instagram explore page can be a dangerous place. Rainbow bagels, fully loaded fries and “freak shakes.” As we scroll in awe and think to ourselves, “I need to try that.” we are falling victim to the world of stunt food.

Stunt foods are menu items made purely for the novelty factor. I mean, why exactly did Starbucks think of releasing a unicorn frappuccino? Who knows what a unicorn tastes like? But one thing they know for sure that millennials sure as hell will purchase it, post it on their social media platforms and influence others to do the same, “71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on a social media reference”, Even though a regular Cappuccino, with a shot of vanilla pls, would be much more enjoyable.

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So there you have it. The next time you share a snap of an extravagant cocktail or burger that deserves BuzzFeed glory on your Instagram, you’ve done exactly what is expected of you and helped that particular business with their social media presence without even realising it. 

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Catherine Maguire is a 3rd year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University, currently on a placement year at The Irish News. She can be found on Instagram: catherinelauram and LinkedIn: Catherine Maguire

From the table to the top

When I think about what I want to be when I grow up (I say ‘when’, but it’s about time I admit – I am grown) I don’t exactly know what it is I want to be, but it’s safe to say that if I was as successful as Sophia Amoruso, I’d feel pretty good about myself. Or better yet, who’s seen the Devil Wears Prada? I’d settle for being Miranda Priestly. But at the moment my life is a lot more like Andy’s before she got the really good bangs and the jeans that made her go from a 2 to a 10.

When I snap myself back to reality, catch myself on and accept that bopping about New York in Louboutins is a bit farfetched… I can take some little bit of comfort in the fact that some of the most successful business women in the world, turned their kitchen tables into booming brands and became leaders in their industry.

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Huda Kattan: Founder of cosmetics line ‘Huda Beauty’

The Huda Beauty story began when Kattan followed her lifelong passion of beauty and enrolled in a makeup training course in LA, resulting in gaining a massive clientele including Eva Longoria, Nicole Richie and even members of the royal family. She then set up her blog, HUDABEAUTY.COM in 2010.

So how did blogging result in Huda producing some of the best make up in the industry? Basically, she never liked any of the eyelashes she was using on clients. She was constantly cutting them up or stacking different styles on top of each other to reach the desired look. It was then that her sister, Mona, who had the light bulb moment. Why not create your OWN lashes? So she did. They launched at a Sephora store in Dubai Mall in 2013 and sold out the same day.

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From that very day the Huda Beauty brand has grew and grew, resulting in Huda being approached by investors, having been offered $1.5m for a 60% share in the firm in 2014 – which was turned down as Huda had her own vision for the company that she didn’t want anyone or anything to interfere with,

“I was so afraid of losing the magic of Huda Beauty if we took investment,”

During an explosive growth period, Huda Beauty literally couldn’t keep up with demand. Orders grew and grew, so much so that they didn’t have enough products to distribute, and they couldn’t even increase production as they didn’t have enough money to hire more staff. So it was in 2017 that Huda Beauty partnered with TSG Consumer Partners investment firm,

“It was truly a long process in finding the right partner for us because we wanted to partner with a company that really understood our company’s vision… but it has honestly been such an amazing partnership and they’ve allowed the brand to flourish.”

Huda Beauty is now the number one Beauty Instagram account with over 26 million followers, the 61st most followed person on Instagram.

Ella Mills: Food Author and Entrepreneur under the brand ‘Deliciously Ella’

The Deliciously Ella story began in 2012 whilst Ella was in University and had just been diagnosed with Postural Tachycardia Syndrome. In the simplest of terms, she had digestive issues and chronic fatigue and was fed up with her medication not having any positive effects. This resulted in her hitting rock bottom both mentally and physically. Not really what any university student needs.

So she took it upon herself to find other ways to manage her condition and soon realized it heavily depended on her diet and lifestyle, in which she had to massively change. Although there were a few problems:

“1. I couldn’t cook.

2. I had no idea about plant-based food

3. I had lost all of my sense of drive and passion”

(honestly Ella, SAME)

So… she decided to combat this and used a blog as a way to keep track of her culinary efforts and people LOVED IT. Hits began to grow and her audience wanted more. She soon began hosting cookery classes and “supper parties”. Her blog successes resulted in publishing opportunities, with the first Deliciously Ella cookery book being published in 2015, becoming the best-selling debut cookbook ever in the UK.

She then met her husband Matt and it was a true culinary love story. They joined forces by using her creativity and his business mind to open the first Deliciously Ella Deli in Seymour Place, London. This lead to the launch of the Deliciously Ella food range including energy balls, granolas and frozen meals that are sold in over 6,000 stores in the UK including popular food stores Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Holland & Barrett

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Sophia Christina Amoruso: Founder of ‘Nasty gal’

From an online eBay store to the CEO of one of the fastest growing companies, Sophia Christina Amoruso has had her fair share of success… so much so that she was named one of the richest self-made women in the world by Forbes in 2016. Sophia’s success story started at the age 22, when she started an online eBay store selling vintage clothing and other items, which she named “Nasty Gal Vintage”. She handled the whole thing herself, from buying the products, writing product descriptions and taking pictures of the products to share with her customers. Two years later she moved the store off eBay onto its very own website, rebranding as “Nasty Gal”

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This was just the beginning of Nasty Gal’s growth. Each year it grew and grew from opening its headquarters in LA in 2010, reaching $24 million revenue in 2011 (11,200% three-year growth rate) to opening their first brick and mortar store in 2014 in the famous LA Melrose Avenue.

Despite her evident success, Sophia’s journey was not smooth sailing as she called herself a “young, naïve founder.” Sophia stepped down as CEO of Nasty Gal in 2015, after admitting “she felt incompatible with the demands of being a CEO”. Soon after, Nasty Gal filed for bankruptcy, resulting in Boohoo Group purchasing the brand for a whopping $20m.

Although it was the end of Sophia’s Nasty Gal journey, it was not the end of her. After stepping down as CEO, Sophia had time to reflect and wants to pass on the wisdom and hard-learned lessons. You gotta learn from your mistake, am I right? She used her own experience to help others and founded GirlBoss Media in 2017, named after her best selling memoir #GirlBoss.

“Girlboss is a community of strong, curious, and ambitious women redefining success on our own terms. We are here to inform, entertain, and inspire action through the content and experiences we create. We are unapologetic in our beliefs and values of supporting girls and women who are chasing dreams both big and small.”

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So yeah, as much as our biggest career goals may seem totally out of reach – if there’s anything that the twenty-first century constantly teaches us, it’s that business opportunities are literally at our fingertips. It only takes a blog or vlog to build a public persona, Instagram to forge a brand, and eBay to have a proper business from home. It’s not impossible and our idols prove that. I wouldn’t suggest giving up the day job…  but don’t give up on the dream either. After all, the expert at anything was once a beginner.

Catherine Maguire is a 3rd year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University, currently on a placement year at The Irish News. She can be found on Instagram: catherinelauram and LinkedIn: Catherine Maguire

Under the Influence

When it comes to modern day businesses, Digital marketing is leaps and bounds ahead of all other forms of advertising. It’s expensive – companies are spending up to 1.5bn on Instagram alone – but its effectiveness means that big businesses have no hesitation in investing time, money and effort into it.

So where’s all that money going? The answer is that a lot of it is going straight into the pockets of influencers*. Influencers who are affecting our buying decisions everyday, without us evening realizing it.

*In case you’ve been living under a rock influencers can be described as “a user on social media who has established credibility in a specific industry. A social media influencer has access to a large audience and can persuade others by virtue of their authenticity and reach.”

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Basically, influencers are everyday people like you and me. They don’t have to be celebrities (although they’re often classed as one) and they don’t need to have a discernable talent or passion. Most of them just need a good iPhone camera and a cool looking selfie backdrop.

Do I sound bitter? Let’s move on.

Brands will send free PR packages to these ‘instagramers’ with as little as 5k followers in exchange for a ad post & a promo code to share with their friends, in the hope that their influence will result in more people buying their products. Gaining immense internet popularity allows an influencer to shape and impact their audience’s opinions on matters through blog posts, videos, pictures, tweets, and so on.

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And it works. In a recent report, 72% of millennials admitted to buying their fashion and beauty products based on the instagram posts of their favourite influencers. I mean, Jeffrey Star said this lipstick is amazing. So it has to be… right?

This is perhaps surprising, given that millennials often display a mistrust of those around them, be it previous generations, politicians, or people higher up in society. So why does a generation who claim to have so many trust issues have so much trust in the people they view on social media?

Well…because Millennials LOVE validation.

71% of people are more likely to make a purchase if they get a recommendation or validation from their peers or their favorite blogger. No matter how good a product may appear or claim to be, how can we be so sure? For me personally, buying a product is never simply a “add to basket” task anymore. When I spot that new eyeshadow palette I really want (but really don’t need) you can bet I’ll be looking up reviews on YouTube before buying it. Like yeah, I really want this – but what did Jordan Lipscombe think of it?

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Validation from our peers is just the same. Think of all the time’s you’ll do a catwalk for your besties of the 13 different outfits you’ve tried on and hated before having a breakdown and claiming to have NOTHING TO WEAR and are no longer going out. Despite your bed and bedroom floor being covered in more than enough clothes. But that’s part of the Scratch Monday routine really.

“People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message. A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising”.

– Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO and possible extraterrestrial who ironically talks about trusting people –

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Style envy

“Industry influencers in niches such as fashion and beauty hold a lot of sway over this consumer group,” Molz said. “They start trends, determine what’s cool and desirable, and curate the must-have items as fashion magazines used to do.”

In the noughties the public would have determined what they would have worn at the weekend by what the celebrities were wearing in the ‘style steal’ section of Closer, or copied that dress Angelina Jolie was wearing in the red carpet photo they seen in OK. This is no longer the case as instead of reading a magazine on the bus or whilst waiting on the kettle to boil, we’re scrolling through instagram. Companies must recognize and adapt to this and ask themselves ‘who has the hold over their their target audience?’ This is easy – bloggers and vloggers, publishers, YouTubers, etc.

“Getting their seal of approval could be key in pushing millennials further into the sales funnel.” According to the Collective Bias study, while shopping at a store, “60% consumers have been influenced by a social media post or a blog review.”

It’s all science

Despite the fact of having often millions of followers, more clothes than they could wear in a lifetime & earn 5 digits for a single instagram post (Zoella srsly gets £12k per instagram post) – influencers are still perceived as mostly ‘normal people’, therefore relatable for millennials. When it comes down to it, they don’t do much more than we do on a daily basis (still sorta bitter over this) except it’s shared with millions of people.

Our desire to be like our favourite influencer can be explained by the psychological concept ‘social proof’ which was popularized by psychologist Robert Ciadlini. Basically, whenever we don’t know what to do or how to act we look to others and imitate them, especially in times of crisis. Who knew that copying a makeup tutorial from your favourite youtuber and failing miserably is psychological.

Another psychological example of why influencers work is the halo effect. The halo effect is cognivite bias where we judge someone’s opinion based on our overall impression of them. Basically, if we start to enjoy someones content and have positive thoughts about them, anything they’re involved in becomes more positive to us. This is why influencer testimonial works. SCIENCE.

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Anyway, enough of that technical stuff. Back to the real world.

So yeah, innocently following a good looking instagrammer that you spotted on the explore page (wearing an outfit you can only dream being able to pull off) seems all fun and games, but who knew it’s contributing to our everyday life & companies are making MILLIONS FROM US. Is anything NOT strategic these days?

At the end of the day, social media is pretty toxic… so let’s just remember that the girl with 122k followers who we claim we’d DIE to look like (bit dramatic) gets her hair done every week for free in an exchange for a instagram post, is sent all her clothes in PR packages AND has access to any beauty treatment she wants – WHENEVER SHE WANTS IT, as long as she puts up a pic on the gram of her new lashes.

So for the sake of our own self worth – let’s stop comparing ourselves to them & stop being constantly under the influence.

Catherine Maguire is a 3rd year BSc in Communication, Advertising & Marketing student at Ulster University, currently on a placement year at The Irish News. She can be found on Instagram: catherinelauram and LinkedIn: Catherine Maguire