– The difficult coexistence of influencers and the war on networks
In the face of the all-out spread of the Ukrainian conflict on social networks, influencers sometimes struggle to find their place. Between taking stances and “business as usual,” Geneva stars Elvira and Charles Legrand are confident in their work.
It has been two weeks since the outbreak of war in Ukraine. It’s been two weeks since influencers haven’t always known which foot to dance on. On social networks, photos, analyzes, situations and other rather serious publications related to the conflict are on top – 7.21 million visits to the mention of #russiaukraine on Instagram. Besides, promotional flyers for online marketers sometimes seem too expensive or even out of place.
The famous French youtubeur Tibo InShape – 8.5 million subscribers – caused an uproar a few days after the conflict began by publishing a video in which he commented on the physical training of the Russian president in these terms: “Respect Mr. Vladimir Putin for your exercise. But on the other hand, What we wish above all, Mr. Vladimir Putin, is peace. For those of you who watch my YouTube video and want to lose weight or gain mass, everything happens in the ShapeYou gym app. Passing – in the face of a wave of discontent raised on the networks.
Elvira and Charles Legrand, “Lifestyle” influencers from Geneva – 78781,000 Followers Between them – did not pursue the unfortunate matter. However, the topic interests them and interests them. For “Bilan” they engage in the place of their profession, in a very subtle context.
As social media echoed the first attacks, what were you posting on Instagram?
Elvira: The night of the attack, we participated in a sponsored event. When we woke up the next day, we found out on the networks what was happening in Ukraine. Immediately we decided to postpone the flyers related to the evening. Then I posted every day about Ukraine. I denounced President Putin’s policy and explained myself to my community. Especially since I have very close friends in the country and I am of Russian origin. On that day, I lost about 1000 subscribers.
After the first attacks, most ‘fashion’ influencers had an appointment at Paris Fashion Week.
Elvira Legrand, an influential figure in Geneva
A position you held for a day before returning to your daily life as an influencer?
Elvira: You should know that a few days after the first attacks, most “fashion” influencers had an appointment at Paris Fashion Week – the event began on February 28. It is a must in the middle. There, there was inevitably a little awkwardness and that impression of not really knowing where he was. It’s hard to communicate in the world of luxury when networks are conducting a war. For me and I, it was easier, because we were there privately and we didn’t contract with any brand – they have since posted about their visit to Paris. Unlike some colleagues who were asked to communicate about the event.
You have mastered the art of networking. In your opinion, what is the best position to take under these circumstances?
Charles: Social networks and Instagram have become prime places to advocate for issues, take a stand, and denounce. Meanwhile, the platform remains the realm of consumption and entertainment. I think the worst is to improvise what we are not, and to embark on a geopolitical analysis that we are not good at. With Elvira, we invited our communities to ask them to share interesting initiatives to help Ukrainians and we connected them in stories.
“When we announce something, we address the equivalent of a stadium. I imagine that comes with certain responsibilities.
Charles Legrand, influencer in Geneva
We have the impression that influencers have become public figures who must, de facto, take a stand. Do we ask too much of them?
Charles: Sometimes we forget it, but as far as we’re concerned, our lowest post is seen by over 40,000 people. When we declare something, we are dealing with the equivalent of a stadium. I think it comes with certain responsibilities. But you have to be careful. In the past I planted myself. At the time of the Covid crisis, I rushed and encouraged people to stock up. I made a mistake and was later blamed. At that time, I lost 9,000 subscribers. Now I have to be more careful. Not forgetting that our job is to entertain as well. So I didn’t stray too far from my daily streak on the nets despite the war and my community appreciates it too.
So, have you continued to create promotional and sponsored content over the past two weeks?
Elvira: We discuss it with the brands that cooperate with us. Some are asking for campaigns to be postponed in order to have a greater impact. But in general, the activity does not weaken. We just received five new partnership proposals in two days. I carried a lot of Ukrainian news at first, but have since given way to more informed and specialized accounts.
Frederic Tomasset Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Bilan magazine and responsible for Bilan.ch. Frédéric is a teacher at CFJM specializing in long forms and numeric formats, a graduate of the Grenoble Institute of Political Studies and a UNIGE master’s degree in economics and social sciences.
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