If you’ve been paying attention in the beauty sphere of social media, you’ve interacted with content produced by an influencer. Some of the most well-known beauty influencers come from the makeup world, but every industry has a set of personalities who could be considered to have influence over the buying patterns of their following.
If you’ve ever been tagged in a post about nails that squirt milk, light on fire, or turn into a spoon and fork, you know what I’m referring to.
The Current Landscape
Lately, the discussion has swayed a bit from the latest outrageous tutorial videos X Influencer has made to the consequences of influence and how a technique, tutorial, or look they’ve created can be potentially damaging. The peak of the influencer culture may already have passed, as more YouTube personalities are being called out for racist tweets, behind-the-scenes bad attitudes towards their following, and the hefty price tag brands have been asked to pay just to be mentioned in an influencer’s video.
The influencer marketing landscape took another hit when the entire Fyre festival debacle was fueled by influencer social posts and attendance. That’s not to say that influencers were responsible for the festival’s failure, just that when it was apparent to many that the event was poorly managed and likely not happening, influencers kept promoting it.
Recently, an Instagram influencer named Caroline Calloway promoted a national tour that was so spectacularly bungled that it became a meta meme complete with merch that referenced the twitter thread calling her out. Her hubris and lack of remorse for taking money from her followers with little experience or expectation on delivering the tour dates has soured many members of her audience, and led to the shuttering of some of her fan accounts. the trouble with influencers in the nail industry
Influence in Nails
With great power comes great responsibility, and in the nail world, a social following seems to be the only barrier to entry for someone to be considered an influencer. As I wrote last year, likes and follows on social media are pretty meaningless since they can be bought, but some brands still flock to those with an audience, making them brand ambassadors, affiliates, and guests of honor at events. the trouble with influencers in the nail industry
Unfortunately, the world is not a meritocracy, meaning that popularity often doesn’t guarantee quality. It’s when a following alone deems someone an authority that issues arise. The next frontier beyond quick tutorials and endorsements seems to be the Influencer as Educator. the trouble with influencers in the nail industry
Influencers Who Educate
You’ve likely seen an ad or a post on social media inviting you to a class or workshop put on by someone who is Insta-famous. I want to preface this by saying that there are a lot of great nail educators out there who also happen to have a large following on Instagram. This is not about them. This is about those who will teach you how to recreate their signature style, while slopping monomer all over their client’s skin, showing you a one bead acrylic method that has the consistency of olive oil, done with a size 50 brush, and promising to show you their groundbreaking techniques on a series of DVDs that mysteriously never arrive.
This is about the influencer educators who cancel classes the day before and refuse to refund deposits. This is about the “educators” who take classes from people who actually did the work and checked their facts, and then repackage it into something that is 30% incorrect, but who even cares? Haters gonna hate.
This is about social media educators who teach wrong or outdated information and spell basic words incorrectly in their promotional materials. The educators who prey on religious beliefs or ethnic groups and pour bad advice into the industry under the guise of women elevating each other, girlfriend. the trouble with influencers in the nail industry
What happens when you’ve paid and spent your time taking these “classes,” and you’re dissatisfied? You’re likely ignored or called out publicly. And if you try to comment on social media with your concerns, the influencer’s followers label you “crazy” or “jealous of X’s success.” the trouble with influencers in the nail industry
I have nothing against a social media personality trying to monetize their online popularity. Believe me, I know how hard it is to create consistently good content and maintain a following of size. People should be allowed to benefit from that work.
The difference here is that just because you’re popular, it doesn’t make you correct.
How to Move Forward
My advice to those who wish to take a class, whether led by an influencer or not: Do your homework. Research the educator’s credentials. Just because someone has been in the industry for a long time doesn’t mean their info is correct. Reach out to people who have taken that educator’s classes and ask about them. Always guard yourself against shady business practices. If payment can only be sent through Western Union, really ask yourself if you want to learn from someone who has been locked out of PayPal. Don’t ignore the red flags, and assess if the class will be beneficial to your business, not just to your Instagram stories.
What do you think about influencers as educators? Have you taken a class from one? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
the trouble with influencers in the nail industry