The Future of Influence
And I´m back!
As promised in this edition of my ongoing discussion of Authenticity, Influence, and Purpose, I will tackle the current state and the near-term future of Influence. This newsletter is longer than my usual ponderings because it contains bonus insights and tips.
The necessary shift to more focused content that aligns with social media users’ specific wants and needs and doesn’t take content creators for granted has already hit the big leagues. Micro, subscriber-based communities on social media sites are rapidly gaining popularity. We can observe this change from mainstream platforms such as Twitter’s Super Follows to Linked-in’s creator mode to the wildly popular, ‘not entirely x-rated’ site, OnlyFans and Clubhouse.
Only Fans is attractive for a variety of reasons. Still, the big one is that creators control what to charge for fan subscriptions. “launching on OnlyFans is all about extending the content experience, doing exclusive subscriber-only content, and adding more depth and variety that they are happy to pay for.”
Here’s a question for you – do you believe that content creation paid for by the public it serves, as opposed to advertisers, is more authentic, impartial, and truthful? Or are the messages tailor-made to drive in more subscribers?
Social audio apps are exploding! Audio is intimate – and let’s face it, so many of us need more intimacy right now. Take Clubhouse, an audio app changing the conversation around influence and social interaction. It offers “a new type of social product based on voice [that] allows people everywhere to talk, tell stories, develop ideas, deepen friendships, and meet interesting new people around the world.” If you are invited, you can enter chat rooms with a range of topics often hosted or attended by celebrities.
We live in The Expectation Economy. Clubhouse elevated consumer expectations on what human connectivity on social media can be. It forces us to change our gratification chip from a click and scroll to a listen and wait to speak mode. And as we speak, we can see Twitter and Spotify zucking-up the Clubhouse concept.
*zucking: cautionary exclamation ; (a reference to Mark Zuckerberg) is used to remind people how often they are taken advantage of without recourse and be mindful of what they say, post, and do online.
The Creator Economy represents the “fastest-growing type of small business” as the market gets more and more competitive — and the platforms and their algorithms remain unreliable — creators are devising new, hyper-specific revenue streams. The exclusivity bubble phenomenon and the era of the niche influencer are upon us. But I wonder about the exclusiveness of it all – does the future of influence include a velvet rope? It seems some brands have mixed messages when it comes to inclusivity. How do we keep the action-led inclusivity in and performative inclusivity out?
Basic.Space is an invite-only shopping platform that offers a glimpse into the lives of multi-hyphenate creatives. The app seems to pave the way for a diverse highbrow culture: It is invite-only, but once you are in, it feels inclusive. This shoppertainment experience features videos of cultural pioneers’ daily routines and carefully curated products from stoneware to streetwear that they love.
“This space is not for everyone. This space is not mass-produced. Conventional. Or influenced. This space is personal. Experimental. True. A place for unique products and experiences from the individuals shaping tomorrow.“
How can a brand state that it is “not influenced”? Are they the apex influencer situated at the beginning of the Diffusion of Innovation Curve? The key takeaway in Basic.Space’s message is “allows you to buy from someone whose taste you already trust.”
The trend forecaster in me loves to invent new trend terms. I would like to introduce you to the concept of Quality Time Curation! To illustrate what it means, I have taken an article by the sensational Tik-Tok addiction and mindfulness expert, Dr. Courtney Tracy, and added my inputs and insights to help you curate your social media experience.
1. Set an intention for using social media and use it for that purpose. Constructive purposes could include using it to stay in touch with friends or family. Brands need to think of ways to provide a channel for a constructive purpose. The new app, Sundayys, hits both the intimacy and mindfulness buttons. 2. Curate your own experience. Once you've set an intention for your social accounts, use the unfollow, not interested, and mute buttons to dispel accounts and creators that lack Authenticity and Purpose. As a brand make sure your message is authentic and your purpose is clear if you don’t want to be curated out of your users' experience. We spoke about this in the previous newsletter and will recap in the next one, so stay tuned. 3. Guard your following. Make your account private if you start to feel like you can’t be authentic around a public audience. Your true believers will remain hooked. 4. Don’t stay stagnant. Don’t allow social media to keep you from connecting IRL. Remember, offline experiences are recovering. Think outside of your box now to prepare for the moment when you can shine outside of it.
The ability to influence people without irritating them is the most profitable skill you can learn. – Napoleon Hill