Social media influencers have gained immense popularity in recent years, with brands and businesses turning to them as a means of promoting their products and services. However, this rise in influence has also had a negative impact on audiences, particularly in terms of their mental health and well-being.
Influencers often present an idealized version of their lives on social media, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem in their followers. This is particularly true for young people, who are more susceptible to being influenced by what they see on social media. Studies have shown that social media use can lead to increased levels of anxiety, depression, and feelings of loneliness, as well as a decrease in self-esteem and body satisfaction.
Influencers’ mainly exist to, you guessed it, influence their audience. This has a direct impact on their audience’s purchasing habits– I am a victim to the “viral items“ on TikTok and have bought many items I didn’t need! These social media stars can turn your wants into needs quite easily. Influencers are often paid by brands to promote their products, and they often do so in a subtle and seemingly authentic way. This can lead to their followers feeling pressure to purchase the same products, even if they cannot afford them.
Many influencers present a false sense of reality on their social media accounts, which can have a detrimental effect on their followers’ perception of the world. For example, an influencer may present a picture-perfect life, but in reality, they may be struggling with their own personal issues. This can lead to followers feeling like they are not good enough, and it can also lead to a distorted view of what is attainable in life. Holly from TikTok calls out her own content and others’ as she edits and de-edits content to show her audience the difference.
Lastly, social media influencers have been criticized for promoting unhealthy and dangerous lifestyles, such as disordered eating habits or excessive exercise. This can lead to their followers adopting similar habits, which can have serious consequences for their health and well-being. While social media influencers may seem like a great way for brands to promote their products, they also have a negative impact on their audiences. From promoting unrealistic expectations to encouraging unhealthy habits, it’s important to be aware of the potential negative effects of social media influencers and to approach their content with caution.
If you were a social media influencer, would you do the same things as your favourite influencers to manipulate you audience? Why/Why not?