Social Media Influencers and Cultural Exploitation: Fame and Views Catalyst?

Age of Cultural Exploitation by Social Media Influencers

Social media influencers are the most talked-about figure in twenty-first-century marketing. Bloggers, Instagrammers, Pinners, and other social media users curate and share material with their followers. They make money by cooperating with well-known businesses. The emergence of these phenomena fuels people who want to be convincing and well-known online.

An influencer earns a living off of social media fame. The interchange of information and advertising of services, goods, or lifestyles generates profit. Young people are getting increasingly interested in becoming influencers as a result of the power of social media. The problem is that influencer marketing is unregulated.

As a result of the lockdown, social media usage has increased by 72 percent. Influencer marketing has swooped in and taken over as the dominant marketing technique of 2020. Influencers rethink their material to keep up with their followers’ newfound need for amusement and escapism. The digital world appeared to be one step ahead of traditional advertorial, resulting in competitive content creation.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing differs from traditional marketing in that it allows for creative freedom. Brands have eased their grip on how influencers promote their products, allowing for more natural and individualized content sharing. Brands frequently encourage influencers to provide real content. While providing rules and presenting brand information is vital, authenticity comes out on top by a long shot.

Influencers’ real-life messages published on social media help raise brand awareness and draw attention to the company. Influencers thrive when they can provide relatable content in a natural flow of information. People are more likely to express themselves freely when aware of the importance of true collaborations between brands and influencers. Influencers honestly showcase a firm and its products, allowing their followers to witness real-life products in action.

According to estimates, influencer marketing will be worth $15 billion by 2022. Sixty-three percent of marketers plan to boost their influencer marketing budgets in 2021, and 63% have already done so. Video content will continue to reign supreme, with value-driven content becoming the norm. Within brands and among influencers, the emphasis will shift to diversity and inclusion.

Social Media Influencers and Cultural Exploitation: Fame and Views Catalyst?

Culture Content Marketing

The collective mental training of the human mind that separates one group of people from another is culture. This programming impacts thinking patterns mirrored in the meaning people assign to many elements of life and society. Culture content marketing seeks to advertise a message, a service, or a product to a specific culture or demographic of potential buyers. It is a company’s reaction to and contribution to many cultures.

Understanding cultural variations can aid in the creation of more effective material that crosses borders. All you have to do to witness the impact of culture is travel abroad or spend time with foreign people. The way a person acts, interprets, and reacts to events depends on their cultural surroundings. Several examples of brands seek to take culture into account, and the results are not always positive.

We need a greater understanding of culture and how to break it down. Through this, we can look at the practical consequences of culture on marketing material. Learning to communicate requires understanding where someone comes from and what is important to them. Businesses and influencers prosper when they are culturally aware and communicate appealing messages.

Clickable Content

Every day, people spend hours browsing through their newsfeeds, keeping in touch with their online contacts and the virtual world. It has become a mainstream social networking platform for companies wanting to expand their customer base. The answer is to create distinct content.  The purpose is to develop content that attracts attention and directs visitors to the website.

Viewers can respond to interactive material in more ways than just comments or likes. Posts that elicit strong emotions in individuals are more likely to succeed on social media, according to studies. User-Generated Content (UGC) is extremely useful for gaining social media impressions and engagement. UGC, particularly on networks like Instagram, can increase interaction and reach.

In the internet sales cycle, content provides a high-quality opportunity to convert browsers into purchasers. Lead the target customer through the facts they require before deciding to capture and hold their interest. The average individual spends eleven hours each day interacting with various media types. Delivering critical information in a larger range of formats enables effective audience acquisition.

Social Media Monetization

The primary source of revenue for social media networks is advertising, but new channels may give content creators more control. The process of producing cash from your social media audience is social media monetization. The product, the social media channel, the available technology, and the target demographic all play a role in the outcome. Corporations, celebrities, and influencers in the United States must reveal their content sponsorship in response to the Federal Trade Commission.

Common social media influencers’ assumption is that monetizing your audience requires a great number of followers. Using social media to make money as a micro-influencer is possible. A micro-influencer is a person who has 1,000 or fewer highly engaged followers on social media. Despite their limited fan base, these guys have a sizable following of active listeners.

For most creators, brand collaborations are still their primary source of income. Some are making money through unconventional methods such as affiliate marketing, physical or digital product sales, and advertisements. New creator economy platforms and technologies, such as tipping or subscriptions, give creators greater ways to monetize their communities directly. Most artists prefer YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, but Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, and even LinkedIn.

Social Media Influencers and Cultural Exploitation: Fame and Views Catalyst?

Cultural Exploitation

Cultural exploitation occurs when a dominant culture appropriates components of a subjugated culture without reciprocity, permission, recompense, understanding, or appreciation. Appreciation is when someone strives to comprehend and learn about another culture to connect with individuals across cultures. Appropriation is when you take one piece of a culture you don’t own and use it for your gain. It includes buying a piece of jewellery or clothes with cultural meaning but only wearing it as a fashion statement.

Cultural borrowing or collaboration can become exploitative when individuals overstep boundaries. Consider the context when distinguishing borrowing from exploitative cultural appropriation. Nas Daily, a channel by Palestinian-Israeli renowned vlogger Nuseir Yassin, faces accusations of exploiting a 104-year-old tattoo artist and using racist language. Yassin is subject to criticism for offering a traditional tattooing course taught by legendary tattoo artist Whang-od.

Whang-od, who hails from the Philippines’ Kalinga province, is the country’s oldest and last indigenous tattoo artist. Whang Od’s granddaughter claimed that the academy is a scam, and Whang-od did not sign any contract with NasDaily. The alleged academy’s course entitled Learn the Ancient Art of Tattooing costs approximately $15. The alleged contract is under  National Commission on Indigenous Peoples’ investigation, a federal body-protecting Indigenous peoples’ rights.

Following the controversy over the Whang-od course, Louise Mabulo accused Yassin of abusing her culture. Mabulo is the founder of the Cacao Project, a deforestation-fighting project that empowers farmers. Yassin visited her project two years ago, she said, and belittled farmers and used discriminatory words. The influencer insulted the Filipino accent, termed Filipinos poor, and accused farmers of not being clickable viewable content.

Feeding on Insecurities

Cosmetics created exclusively for women is the most profitable business on the internet and in history. Companies that profit from patriarchy make a lot of money by persuading women that they aren’t good enough. Our beauty standards are dependent on societal views of ideals and beauty. Diet culture is probably the most visible of these strategies.

Diet culture is available in powders, teas, and workout programs tailored to the ideal body form of the moment. Consider the Kardashians, who have become famous solely because of their inaccessibility. Their business model derives from social media celebrity and the exploitation of young women. Their appearances and figures have gradually evolved throughout their rule, adjusting to changing media expectations.

They sell yoga pants that make waists smaller and contour sticks that make noses narrower. They profit from the dream that transformations are easy adjustments that they can perform on their own. They don’t mention personal trainers, dieticians, and plastic surgeons who scientifically create their bodies. It creates the illusion of natural yet unattainable results.


People’s emotional connections to their online followers’ ideas and sentiments fuel influencer culture. Influencers have the power to influence others’ purchasing decisions due to their authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with their audience. If abused, it can harm society. Mutual tolerance and knowledge are vital when it comes to cultural appreciation and exploitation.

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