The Social Media Star is a phenomenon that really came about with the creation of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, blogging and and other social media platforms. It’s a great new opportunity for a whole new type of fame for some based on what they posted about their sometimes extravagant, indulgent and uber cool lives. A chance for fashion and trend loving fashionistas to compete against each other for the title of coolest, hottest or most widely followed, or “liked” influencer of the masses.
An influencer can sell any product, but can they sell you a boob job?
An influencer is someone others follow and listen to for advice from fashion trends to the hottest place to eat or be seen, to which tv shows to watch or which makeup is the hottest right now, and everything in between. They can sell any product they wear, use or buy simply by posting a photo, or mentioning that product in a post. It is because of this that it’s become a billion dollar industry. An influencer is suddenly a career option. But beware of fakes!
As one of the most popular Influencers Chloe Morello says in her recent YouTube Expose on fake instagrammers “… so, the brand is paying for nothing, they’re paying for fake followers, fake likes, fake comments, and that’s fraud.” – yes, she’s annoyed about Fake Followers and Fake Comments.
Some influencers become influencers by default – that would include movie or tv stars, or any public figure with a separate career that the masses consider on trend. However, there’s a whole breed of influencers borne out of social media and social media alone, without previously having had a public profile.
An influencer can even indirectly “sell” a boob job, fillers or any other cosmetic procedure simply by having one. Just recently two of Australia’s beauty influencers had breast augmentation surgery. One of them – Brittney Lee Saunders has over 1M followers. She had surgery with Dr Nick Moncrieff from Hunter Plastic Surgery and shared her journey with her Subscribers on YouTube; and Shani Grimmond who also has over 1M followers recently had her augmentation with Dr Kourosh Tavakoli and shared her boob job vlog on YouTube.
If an influencer has accepted free surgery or a payment, they should be aware of new code of conduct rules for advertisers launched this year, specifically targeting social media.
There are lots of ways that influencers comply from simply including the hashtag #ad or #collab. Someone that really does this well is beauty and fashion influencer, @elle_ferguson who actually tags the business in a new Insta feature and states, “paid partnership with XX” in the location field.
There is no doubt there is a considerable upside for the public in these Influencer videos because they are often very detailed about the choices before surgery, experience on the day and the recovery process.
With the Brittney Saunders series of 3 video for example, women considering augmentation can learn a lot about implant size and shape and costs, how the shape changes over the months and scarring. And Shani Grimmond details the highs and lows, including the difficult days after surgery when the walls can close in a little being confined to bed.
The other upside of being able to see these patients document their experiences is that because social media is their focus, the quality of the videos is high and they have clearly spent time looking at the questions their followers have posted and try to answer the most common ones.
What about Ethics?
The comment was made to me about the question of ethics. Was it free? If it was free and something went wrong where does that stand legally? Is it right? Is it wrong? Is it advertising? Promotion? It does raise a few questions.
What if hundreds flock to have a procedure at a particular clinic because an influencer did, and one or a few of those have bad experiences? Plastic surgery or cosmetic treatments are such an individual thing, and what suits one might not suit another.
Ultimately, surgery is a serious decision and something that shouldn’t be entered lightly. Both patients and surgeons need to take responsibility to ensure the patient is having their surgery for the right reasons, and for themselves, not because of someone else.