5 reasons why Emily in Paris could not be an influencer in real life
In a year that people would rather fast-forward their lives, Netflix’s easy to watch ‘Emily in Paris’ has achieved an impressive entry on the list of the streaming platform’s 10 most watched shows. The plot is far from elaborate: An American millennial goes to work in Paris even though she cannot speak a word of French, falls in love with the city, its cuisine, and its men – oh, and on the way, she also becomes an overnight influencer without much effort.
Created by Darren Star, the same man behind HBO’s Sex and the city (1998 – 2004), “Emily in Paris” stars Grammy and Tony nominated actress Ashley Park, and The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones’ Lily Collins (who was also executive producer). The series was shot in France last year, from August to November, in a pre-Covid era when people could still go out and maintain normal lives.
It is hard to realistic place Emily as a normal girl. She is perhaps the only twentysomething American with just 58 followers to be transferred abroad to work in a marketing agency. Even more bizarre, she is taking a post at what must be the only marketing agency in the world without any social media accounts, which makes it even harder to imagine the character thriving as a content creator.
Over the years, I have worked with hundreds of content creators and brands in Asia, Europe and America. So, believe me when I say that although the influencer marketing ROI is higher than most traditional sales approaches, it is way more complex than it looks.
Here are the five main reasons why Emily in Paris could not be an influencer in real life.
Emily is often impressed by the number of people finding her account, for no obvious reason, and following her, for no obvious reason, either. However, she doesn’t make any effort to check who those people are, nor to interact with them. Despite the fact that her Instagram goes from a few dozen followers at the series pilot, to thousands of people following her short posts once she starts sharing her Parisienne life in later episodes, Emily never replies to a comment or leaves even an emoji on others’ accounts.
Ask any real-life content creator and they will tell you how many interactions they have to create every day to keep people commenting and sharing their content. From a simple ‘thank you’ to a more detailed reply, influencers can’t afford to simply ghost post. Ghost posting is an expression created to describe people who disappear after uploading their content, instead of interacting with followers within the first few minutes of their content going live – these are the crucial minutes that will make or break a piece of content on social media.
No planning whatsoever
Emily is a free spirit in a new city and posts away with the same carefree attitude. here is no content planning. Emily just creates her next post in an improvised way.
In real life, influencers spend hours planning their content. This includes crafting great captions, creating outstanding photos and videos, and meticulously planning what time they will post based on research and a deep understanding of their own Instagram insights. Knowing their followers well and what time they are most likely to be online is the key difference between content performing well or falling flat.
Ignoring Instagram’s tolls
In Emily’s world, it is good enough to post on the main grid. She lives in an unrealistically simple digital world.
In the real world, all tolls released by the Facebook-owned platform over the past decade massively help to drive engagement. We know that the protagonist is aware of Instagram Live, as we see Emily watching a live stream of her friend, Mindy, singing in a bar. However, she doesn’t explore Instagram Live while creating her own content, nor does she use stickers, location tags, filters, or any other available tolls.
No video content
Although Mademoiselle Emily works in marketing, she blatantly ignores the fact that, according to a survey by Cisco, the worldwide leader in IT and networking solutions, by 2022 online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic — 15 times higher than it was in 2017.
The changes in the way people consume video content is a forecast widely spread across the marketing industry. So much so that, a few years back, while outreaching content creators to be part of a new campaign, I would often be asked in which format the brand expected them to post – as they had different fees.
Video content takes longer to be created and approved; therefore, it commands a higher price. The difference is that in 2020 most influencers are posting in any possible format to maximize their reach. So, instead of negotiating a static post, savvy content creators are now more likely to offer brands a package that will include videos, stories, Instagram reels and, in some cases, even blog entries and cross promotions. With the latter, the influencer would also post across different social media channels.
No follow up
Influencers spend a reasonable amount of time doing something that only a few people see: following up with brands. Once they land a collaboration, be it paid or in exchange for a free product to review online, the partnership doesn’t end once the post is up on social media. In fact, this is actually only half-way through the process. Within the first hours of a branded content going live, often people will ask specific questions that will require the content creator to liaise with the sponsor to answer them. The more related to the post, the better the engagement. Companies and their marketing agencies also expect influencers to follow up with them, after a while, to share content insights (how many people interacted, how many clicked the promotional link etc). It is worth spending some time doing it properly and in a professional way because that follow up will allow brands to decide if a content creator is a good fit to work on future campaigns.
All 10 episodes of Season 1 of “Emily in Paris” are now available on Netflix.