Friday, 22 July 2016
REWIND 10-15 years ago when social media barely existed, where you met people face to face rather than hiding behind a screen, and a time when people walked down the street looking where they were going rather than glued to their smartphone. Fast forward to today and the world is a different place, with social media at the forefront of everything.
Influence now seems to be judged on how much of a following you have across social media. If you're a model, you are now often asked how many followers you have on Instagram, and could be the difference between booking a job and not. When I get asked, my response will often be, "If you give me 24 hours I will have as many followers as you require for the job". The ease at which people buy followers or sign up to a progressive scheme that builds your following through a robotic method is unbelievable. Do clients know that people do this? Do clients know that people can even buy likes? I haven't got the answer to that.
Do I judge people who do it? Absolutely not. If it brings in more work then why not. I know a guy who bought tens of thousands of followers across all social media platforms and now is paid to travel to different countries to write and video his experiences. That's simply a clever use of social media. Many have been successful doing the same. People see someone with 10,000 or 100,000 followers and will often think to themselves that this must be an interesting person to follow. It's a building process. Rihanna and Katy Perry apparently bought followers on twitter when they first signed up! So if they can do it why can't others.
Some people work hard to add specific hashtags to tweets and Instagram posts and work tirelessly to legitimately build their social media following. But if they were to go on a reality show like Love Island for example, they would gain a massive following straight away. Some contestants have comfortably over 200,000 followers. This opens up a huge amount of opportunities by having such a following behind you.
A presenter I know approached ITV recently about whether they were looking for any presenters for projects at all. Their response to me really sums up where we are at right now and the huge importance given to a social media followings.
"We do not look for presenters anymore. We will look at Reality TV Shows and find the right person to train up as a presenter. They bring a social media following, which will help to bring a wider audience to our shows."
Where does that leave your experienced presenters? Well, many will continue to work hard and consistently in the future, however, they may have to accept that it could be very difficult to make that leap into a mainstream show.
I am very intrigued to hear from people who have been affected in their workplace by social media and their thoughts on purchasing a following. Would greatly appreciate comments below.