With Jane Clayson
People you know are getting paid to push products on social media. We’ll look at the rise of nano-influencers.
Sapna Maheshwari, business and advertising reporter for The New York Times. (@sapna)
Kelsey Rosenberg, nano-influencer. (@krosenbergg)
Nicole Nguyen, tech reporter for BuzzFeed News. (@itsnicolenguyen)
From The Reading List
New York Times: "Are You Ready for the Nanoinfluencers?" — "By now you have probably heard of influencers, that group of internet-famous people who have more than a million social media followers and can make big money by plugging various brands. And you may have even heard of microinfluencers, who do the same thing for a still sizable but somewhat smaller social media audience — from the tens to low hundreds of thousands.
"Now get ready for the nanoinfluencers.
"That is the term ('nanos' for short) used by companies to describe people who have as few as 1,000 followers and are willing to advertise products on social media.
"Their lack of fame is one of the qualities that make them approachable. When they recommend a shampoo or a lotion or a furniture brand on Instagram, their word seems as genuine as advice from a friend.
"Brands enjoy working with them partly because they are easy to deal with. In exchange for free products or a small commission, nanos typically say whatever companies tell them to."
BuzzFeed News: "Here’s A Guide To Spotting Fake Amazon Reviews" — "Online reviews can be useful when you can’t see, touch, or try products before you buy them, like you can in a store — but they’re often manipulated by opportunistic third-party sellers, especially in Amazon’s highly competitive marketplace where positive reviews are their best chance to stand out. While bogus reviews don’t necessarily mean a product sucks, they make it hard for even savvy shoppers to know if the product is actually good or bad. Fake reviews are an indication that you should do extra research before adding the item to your cart.
"There are many time-intensive ways to determine whether review manipulation is present — including looking at each reviewer’s rating history and analyzing the language of every review — but here are some telltale, easy-to-spot signs that a product is stacked with fake and paid-for reviews. Keep these tips in mind when you head online to start Black Friday or Cyber Monday shopping."
The Guardian: "Opinion: The rise of the nano-influencer: how brands are turning to common people" — "For his book Mimesis, the German-Jewish literary critic Erich Auerbach undertook a grand survey of western literature from his wartime exile in Istanbul. He wanted to show that literature was becoming ever more democratic in its representation of reality, ever more attentive to the human individual. From Homer’s gods and monsters, we had moved through Shakespeare’s warriors and kings, to Austen’s ladies, Dickens’s merchants and Zola’s workers, down into Woolfian streams of consciousness. Here, at least, was a sort of moral progress to set against the darkness of the Third Reich.
"Clearly there’s a similar dynamic at play in Instagram influencing – that signature 21st-century means of 'representing reality' (to use an Auerbachian term). A few years ago, only celebrity demigods such as Rihanna were courted by brands for their coconut water endorsements on the photo-sharing platform. Soon it was the turn of more #relatable individuals such as the makeup vlogger Zoella and her YouTuber boyfriend Alfie Deyes, who built up multimillion-follower counts and now incessantly try to sell them things. 'Big love to @visit.dubai for helping make the holiday happen!' Deyes captioned a recent selfie in the lift of a luxury hotel – part of a “paid partnership” with the afore-hashtagged.
"More recently, marketers have turned to micro-influencers: more specialised and thus more trusted individuals, who might be persuaded – for a micro-fee – to become a 'brand ambassador' for a vegan bacon startup, or share a post about an aspirational cuticle treatment. And now (according to the New York Times’s Sapna Maheshwari) we must welcome the nano-influencer. Perfectly ordinary digital citizens, with follower counts as low as 1,000, are being courted for their influence. The whole point is that they are not famous."
This program aired on November 29, 2018.