The Problem With Influencers

During a recent conversation with a client of mine, I asked her, “Do you want to be an “influencer” or an expert who has influence?”

She stopped in her tracks and said, “That’s a great question, I want to be an expert who has influence.”

Most people I know aspire to positively influence the lives of others through a topic they have a great deal of expertise and experience in. But… with a quick scan of Instagram, you’ll find Reels and TikTok videos from those same experts, seemingly seeking attention as they attempt to be an influencer.

The Difference Between an Influencer and an Expert with Influence

An expert who aspires to influence others will care about the impact and outcome, not the number of likes, comments, shares, etc. An expert with influence will not be attached to such vanity metrics while trying to be cool in their latest videos.

An expert who aspires to influence others will care about their impact, not how many likes, comments, or shares they get. An expert with influence won't be attached to such vanity metrics. Read more: Click To Tweet

Influencers, on the other hand, are all about the follows, likes, views and comments. They seek and sell in the attention economy and many of them have zero expertise, lack depth and fail to add value.

When you behave like an influencer, trying to be cool and amass a huge following, you confuse your buyer. You don’t look like a professional with expertise, you look like someone gaming for attention.

When you behave like an #influencer, trying to be cool and amass a huge following, you confuse your buyer. You don't look like a professional with expertise, you look like someone gaming for attention. Read more: Click To Tweet

The attention economy requires a ton of energy, “coolness” and follow/unfollow manipulation. It requires you to hustle for likes, comments and views. And, it’s fleeting because if all you have is influencer status, and no expertise, that attention shifts as soon as the next cool person hits the scene.

Just Ask GloZellImage of a google search for "GloZell"

When you are reliant on vanity metrics, shiny new trends and social media algorithms, your influence can fall apart as quickly as Apple releases a new iPhone or Facebook creates a new app.

Take Glozell Green and the countless other influencers who have fallen from their pedestal, for example.

Once extremely popular with millions of followers, movie roles, book deals, interviews with the president and in Vanity Fair, GloZell quickly fell from grace when YouTube changed its algorithm and she couldn’t adapt, and when she failed to deliver value to her audience.

At one time, her videos had over 55 million views. Shortly after, they went down to only a few thousand. When you fail to know what your audience’s wants and needs are or fail to provide real value, you will fail in business, too. 

So, the next time you decide to jump on something new because you think it might get you a few quick eyeballs, stop and ask yourself, is your ego really that attached to your following? Or, is the real impact that you want to make done one person at a time?


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Lisa Larter Bio Image of Lisa x400

Lisa Larter

Founder and CEO of the Lisa Larter Group, master strategist, author, speaker, podcast host, social media expert, consultant, and business coach. Lisa inspires entrepreneurs and business owners to see the possibilities for their organizations when it comes to strategy. She uncomplicates modern marketing and creates (and implements) strategies for businesses that are guaranteed to increase visibility, inbound leads, and revenue.

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