“I’ve been #influenced”, we say as we merrily punch our card details into a shopping cart without a moment’s thought. Despite some fairly rogue public opinions, I think the evolution of the influencer industry is fantastic. It finally takes the power away from huge publications and puts it into the hands of real people who we as consumers can connect with.
But, that does mean that we’re exposed to marketing and advertising more often, even while we’re scrolling our social feeds and catching up on what our friends and family are doing.
What to do when you’ve been #influenced
If we’re not careful, we can get influenced a little too far – or too often. A harmless swipe up can take us from a fairly strong financial position to $200 poorer within minutes. But there are ways to allow ourselves to support our favourite influencers, enjoy their content, and be influenced in a positive way.
When you find yourself mesmerised by a pair of jeans or a new candle that an influencer is talking about (paid ad or otherwise), acknowledge the feeling. Notice that you’re being poked, and that you may be about to act impulsively.
Then, write down the thing that’s influencing you on a note. It could be a list on Google Keep, in a journal or just on your phone’s note taking app.
That way, you can step away from the situation and not get caught up in the moment. Often the nature of the influencer industry means that items be catapulted into extremely high demand and sell out really fast. The result is we’re left frantically throwing our card details at the checkout page, high on the adrenaline buzz of hoping we’re going to get a slice of the action.
Follow this flow chart next time you find yourself wanting to act on impulse after being #influenced. It could help you quantify when you should and shouldn’t act on your feelings, and make smarter decisions around unexpected exposure to shiny new things.
Supporting your fave influencers without buying
I hesitated writing this blog post because I don’t want to diminish the influencer business model. Often, products influencers share are associated with an affiliate code – this isn’t necessarily anything directly to do with the brand (i.e. it’s not a collaboration for sponsored content), but it gives the influencer a very small commission when people buy through their link.
If you are going to purchase something an influencer has mentioned, consider going back to their page and clicking their link, in case they get a little kick back. It doesn’t cost you any extra, and it helps them keep creating all the content we consume for free.
But of course, supporting your fave influencers shouldn’t come at the cost of your financial health. If you follow the flow chart and decide not to purchase, you can support the influencer in other ways. Sharing and commenting on their content on Instagram helps drive their engagement up, and shows them you’ve enjoyed the content. Sharing their blog post links on your socials or with others you think would enjoy it also spreads the word about their work, too.
Want more advice on making better financial decisions? My “Be Better With Money” eBook is out now.
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