Every day I wake up I do a quick swipe down my instagram feed to absorb a dose of energy and inspiration from the 4:45am influencer crowd. What used to be a few motivated meatheads crushing weights has multiplied to thousands of “fitness influencers” looking to amass their faithful followings.

As Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube grow in popularity, so do the number of influencer accounts. With no barriers to the amount of accounts I follow it is inevitable that my attention to these accounts will minimize. Time is limited and so is our attention.

Influencer success hinges on attention. 

If everyone is popular, noone is popular

Likes, comments, sales or any other engagement metric are simply byproducts of people actively on social channels resourcing dwindling attention spans to posts and videos. The challenge for the future of influencer marketing is attention is finite.

Despite growth in social media users, humans only have 24 hours in a day with just under 4 hours spent on digital mediums (computer, phone, tablet), according to most recent Nielsen 2018 Audience Report. The time spent on digital platforms is growing (up 13 minutes from Q4 2017) but so is the number of social media “influencers”.

…as the quantity of Social Media Influencer accounts grows it makes “Influencers” LESS INFLUENTIAL.

More Influencers = Less Influence

The entry barriers to becoming an influencer are about as high as getting into my fridge. No degrees, no financial commitments, no morals, or no clothes needed…Just about anyone can be an “influencer”. Moms, dads, dogs, and even homeless can amass followings and rise to social media stardom. The problem is with more and more “influencer” accounts, attention will be spread amongst them. As social media users increase who they follow, unless they dramatically increase time spent on social media, they can’t keep up with the sheer volume of people posting. Simply put, with increases in the number of influencers, each influencer will be less influential. With the growth of ‘influencer accounts’, attention paid to people’s posts will have diminishing effects.

The Big Take-Aways…

  • The quantity of “Social Media Influencers” is GROWING.
  • Human time & attention to social media is LIMITED.
  • Social Media Influencers will LOSE their INFLUENCE

What can BRANDS do?

  1. Cut Costs:As influencers continue to grow in number, it will be hard to get the attention required to having meaningful impact. As “Influencers” become a commodity, costs paid to influencers should be cut.
  2. Avoid Brand Dilution:As influencers spread their status across multiple brands and categories, measure the potential negative consequences on brand image.
  3. Look beyond digital channels, to leverage social influencers in the real world, with authentic, experiential and meaningful ways to gain true engagement and memorable impact.

What can INFLUENCERS do?

  1. Build a distinct identity & niche down to a specific category.
  2. Create your own product line.
  3. Develop a exclusive partnership with a brand.
  4. Work for a brand.
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