ONLINE INFLUENCERS OR THE LOCUST INVASION
What used to be bloggers not so long ago, are now so-called influencers – a hard to grasp species. Why are they so famous, and why are they such good vehicles to sell products, not least from the luxury segment? In the case of beauty influencers – naturally most of them ladies – it is easy to see why they are popular: They are true experts in their field – namely, make-up. As women are constantly looking for instructional videos on the internet, they are in high demand. It’s a fact that most influencers are attractive without make-up as well (the keyword here is: identification) and that they reveal at least parts of their private life (keyword: curiosity). They are also great communicators which makes them beloved by brands and audiences alike. Emotions and personality sell products!
Developing a homogenous visual language is considered state of the art on all social media platforms, but on Instagram in particular. This platform increasingly replaces classic blogs, and is considered to be the fashion reference of our generation. But critical voices are becoming louder, claiming that bloggers and influencers nowadays invade everything: Fashion brands, travel destinations, and soon enough, the arts. In the advertisement industry this is called the locust principle: Everything is devoured, and when there is nothing left to consume, the swarm moves on.
Nowadays, influencing has turned into a business model, which differentiates precisely between target groups, content, and degrees of quality. The girl next door spontaneously starting a blog is history. Social media tools enable an almost endless optimisation of the bloggers’ appearance and continuously cast doubt on their genuineness. A quote from Pedro Almodovar’s film “All About My Mother”, where the transgender woman Agrado is talking about her numerous operations, gets to the heart of the authenticity question: “It costs a lot to be authentic, ma’am. And one can’t be stingy with these things because you are more authentic the more you resemble what you’ve dreamed of being.”
Yuya, aka Mariand Castrejon, is the world’s most successful influencer and one of the internet personalities with the most subscribers on YouTube. With her funny, colourful, and very girly videos, the Mexican lady delights around 18 million followers worldwide. Her monthly income via YouTube was estimated at $41,000 per month in 2015.
Yuya talks almost frenetically about make-up and beauty care products, while her outstanding humour is certainly a unique selling point. Even if you don’t understand Spanish, her videos are still very entertaining. On the subject of Spanish: The global language number four certainly contributes to the amount of Yuya’s followers, after all there are 420 million people speaking it. Before her time as a social media influencer, Yuya studied ballet and theatre. She opened her first YouTube account aged 16 after winning a make-up contest.
Huda Kattan, better known as Huda Beauty, is the uncrowned beauty queen of the Middle East. Among her fans and customers are celebrities like Eva Longoria, Nicole Richie, and even members of the Arab royal family seek advice from Huda. Huda Kattan clearly rules the Middle East beauty league. Born in Oklahoma to Iraqi parents, today she lives and works in Dubai, after completing her training as a make-up artist and beauty consultant in Hollywood.
The make-up artist and blogger is an eminent authority when it comes to beauty and fashion, especially since her co-operation with Sephora on her own eyelash design line. Her product line Huda-Beauty, meanwhile, is represented by Sephora in the US. Kattan is a fountain of knowledge, particularly when it comes to beauty care. As an aside: Those who want to lose weight quickly, should have a look at this video by Huda: Slimming contour!
Italian Chiara Ferragni has been active in the blog business with “The Blonde Salad” since 2009 and has become a European online icon. Her mother endowed her with a passion for fashion and photography, and today she works internationally with the biggest fashion brands and designers. She has been on the covers of around 30 of the best-known magazines.
By now, Ferragni is creative director of her own shoe brand, which is produced in Italy. Due to her country’s heritage, fashion was probably in her DNA already. It is therefore hardly surprising that Forbes Magazine rated her as one of the most influential personalities in fashion. And it doesn’t stop there: Ferragni earns more than many international top managers. According to WWD, about 75% of her 9.2 million euro are actually revenue from her “Chiara Ferragni Collection”.
Instagram: 9,7 million subscribers
Within one year, Business student Caroline Daur, who lives in Hamburg – and quite modestly: at her parents house – skyrocketed into the highest influencer echelon. The petite and jittery blonde (have a look at her Instagram stories and you will know what I mean) is considered by many in the blogger and influencer scene as their favourite kitten, and has sneakily conquered the hearts of brands, colleagues, and followers with her congenial charm.
Her memorable face and her well-toned body certainly contributed to her participation in runway shows for Dolce & Gabanna, and her being allowed as the only German blogger to create her own lipstick for cosmetics brand Mac – an honour which is usually limited to stars. This year’s highlight for her is most likely to have been the invitation to the Dior Cruise show in the Californian desert. Her blog is not particularly informative or creative, but Caro simply has the charisma to create a gigantic online following. Certainly unique in Germany.
Instagram: 1.1 million subscribers
Maja Wyh is a phenomenon: Suddenly, she was there. First without a blog but instead with a perfect visual presentation on Instagram. All bloggers and would-be bloggers kneeled before the Düsseldorf-born newcomer, and became addicted to the mysterious lady’s feed. She is rarely seen at blogging events, in this respect she seems a bit anachronistic – nevertheless her look is ultra modern: edgy, avant-garde, and definitely a twist more artificial than that of her colleagues. She does fashion travels for German Vogue, advertises for the exclusive online shop Net-a-Porter, and is the face of the Apropos Store campaign. Nowadays Maja also runs her own blog. It is, however, dominated by images and videos, with a bit of music and art thrown in the mix. The written word is still very rare. Maybe sometimes it is better to keep silent to be successful, and to focus on the strong points. In this case, they are visual.
Instagram: 230k subscribers
Camille Charrière’s look seems effortless but is nevertheless styled: Her hair sports a laid-back “undone” look, and she uses nude make-up. However, preparing this casual look probably takes more time than styling the entire Kardashian family. With good reason, Camille is described as the French Kate Moss. She lives in Paris and London which becomes apparent in her relaxed look, infused with French elegance. The thing that makes her stand out from other influencers: Her humour! Between the seemingly casually posted pictures she drops amusing bon mots.
Her blog is special but in one respect tailored to a mass audience: All photos form a homogenous overall image and this, dear reader, is due to face-tuning apps, countless filters, and picture editing tools. Camille is also giving testimonials for Bally and presents accessories in their lookbook. In addition she co-operates with brands like Chloé or Acne Studios, whose attitudes she perfectly incorporates.
Instagram: 557k subscribers