Social Media Star: Vasudha Rai
On October 1, beauty influencer Vasudha Rai posted on her Instagram page that she would no longer accept PR gifts (free beauty products) and will now only post about products she purchases herself. This is a decision several content creators have taken internationally amid growing sustainability concerns about waste generation from unused and discarded PR products and packaging.
Move over gifts
Vasudha’s post set off a slew of online conversations about influencers and their role in a still evolving, murky and unregulated digital space. PR gifting has always been the bedrock of the beauty industry and the simplest way for brands to get people talking about their product. Take that away, and a marketing team has nothing to rely on but the hope that their product is actually good.
The influencer industry was born because readers lost faith in advertising-hungry publications and put their faith in people instead. People who spoke directly to them, who were relatable, whom they could trust. But influencers have become the new magazines. Trust has become that rarest commodity, difficult to gain and gone with just one undeclared post.
In good faith
Tired of PR packages sent to her without her permission and brands hounding her to post about their products, Rai says she does not want to be “a brand stooge”.
But without freebies, how does a content creator discover new products without affecting her wallet? Rai will certainly spend more, she says. “I research Reddit and MakeupAlley, read studies and watch beauty videos. I will discover new brands that are worth my time and money. Earlier I was gifted everything beyond make-up and skincare – thermals, saris, earrings, air purifiers. Now I will have to buy it all, so I will have to become more serious about making money,” she says.
Aishwarya Subramanyam is the former editor of Elle India and now runs her own content company
.Who should be the next HT Brunch Social Media Star Of The Week? Nominate using the hashtag #BrunchSocialMediaStarOTW or email firstname.lastname@example.org
From HT Brunch, October 11, 2020
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