On June 17, a group of civil rights organizations including the Anti-Defamation League, the NAACP and Color of Change called on businesses to “hit pause on hate” and not advertise on Facebook in July, hoping that it would cause them to make changes. With Facebook making more than $70 billion in ad revenue, last year alone, you would think they would have already committed to making the changes, but it seems those changes aren’t happening fast enough and they still aren’t tackling the biggest issues.
Companies have the right to spend or not spend their advertising dollars where they please, but there’s one very big problem… companies are not only pausing their paid ads on Facebook and Instagram, they are also pausing influencer campaigns.
Someone, somewhere got the purpose twisted.
I support the reason behind the boycott 100% and agree that the changes absolutely need to be made and Facebook needs to do WAY better. But how does pausing influencer campaigns hurt Facebook? Something may have been lost in translation. Because, pausing influencer campaigns does not hurt Facebook. Influencer campaign money goes directly to the influencer, not to the social networks. And now, with this boycott, campaigns are getting postponed and cancelled completely, even though many of these influencers had already done the work to create content, take photos and submit drafts. And now, they won’t be paid for months, and some, won’t be paid at all.
And this doesn’t stop at the influencers. It extends to anyone an influencer hires to help them get their content ready, like photographers, videographers, managers, agents, virtual assistants, etc. What about the agencies that work solely with influencers? How will they pay their staff if everything has been paused for a month? This has become so much bigger than just punishing Facebook.
So what happens to those of us that solely support our family as content creators?
We suffer. We suffer because someone, somewhere thought that boycotting Facebook and other social channels meant pausing all influencer campaigns.
SOMEONE WAS WRONG.
We are not Facebook. We definitely don’t have Facebook’s money. Many of us are struggling right now already, because the pandemic slowed down campaigns drastically and now, we are left wondering how we are going to pay our bills and worse, how we are going to feed our families. Many of us aren’t eligible for unemployment because we are self-employed. We can’t just run out and get a job to supplement our income either, because as of May 2020, there are 21 million people out of work and a lot of businesses are running on a skeleton crew right now.
If companies don’t reconsider who they are punishing with this boycott, you can add influencers to that list of unemployed as well.
What Needs To Happen?
Companies can stop spending their advertising dollars on social media and still keep influencer marketing alive. Companies are estimated to spend $9.7 billion dollars this year on influencer marketing, because it works. It gets their product out to the masses through regular people, like me, who have a love of marketing, photography and sharing our favorite products with our friends, family and followers.
Influencer marketing not only helps companies to keep their product fresh in people’s minds, but it helps people all over the world, support their families.
Influencer marketing is needed right now, more than ever.
If I’m able to reach just one company with this message, I hope that they will reconsider pausing influencer campaigns this month. Instead, why not reallocate some of the budget that would have been given directly to Facebook and Instagram, to us, the hard working influencers who have always had your back and use our voices for good. Don’t punish us for Facebook’s wrongdoing.
Edited 7/7/20: I want to thank Ilyse Liffreing for featuring me in an article titled, Influencers and Their Agencies are the Unintended Victims of the Facebook Boycott on AdAge.com. Please check out that article for an agencies perspective as well.