An Influencer with over 2 Million Followers Couldn't Sell 36 T-Shirts

by WF Will Administrator
61 replies
This Instagram Influencer (@arii) has recently been getting some heat over her controversial product launch for her brand "Era" because she had trouble selling 36 T-Shirts even with her massive following.

According to her original post, the manufacturing company she was working with had a Minimum Order Quantity of 36 units before it can actually be fulfilled which is why she stopped her whole operation.

There has been a bunch of speculation by people on social media on whether or not this was a legitimate case of her not understanding her audience or if it was actually a staged marketing stunt to gain sympathy and buzz.

Twitter User Jack Appleby (@JuiceBoxCA) makes some excellent points about the whole ordeal in the screenshots below:




I personally agree with Jack's points that it was likely a PR stunt because by sheer numbers, you should be able to easily sell anything when you have over 2 million followers.

Do you think the influencer bubble is at a bursting point? Or was this her plan all along?

Would love to hear your thoughts!

#facebook #followers #influencer #instagram #social media #twitter
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  • Profile picture of the author King Manu
    It seems to me to be a PR stunt. She definitively tries to capture some REAL audience by testing things out. Consider the fact she has the same number of comments other accounts with less than 200k followers have.

    The last picture she posted is there for more than 1 day and it has ZERO comments. Does that look like a real 2 million audience?

    I think she bought her audience.
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    • Profile picture of the author WF Will
      Administrator
      Her last post actually had comments disabled because she's getting a lot of "negative" press from all the media outlets covering the story.

      I looked into her insights a bit more and it looks like there is still a good amount of real followers so definitely think it's a PR stunt now.


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    • Profile picture of the author Odahh
      Originally Posted by King Manu View Post

      It seems to me to be a PR stunt. She definitively tries to capture some REAL audience by testing things out. Consider the fact she has the same number of comments other accounts with less than 200k followers have.

      The last picture she posted is there for more than 1 day and it has ZERO comments. Does that look like a real 2 million audience?

      I think she bought her audience.
      the has a few pic up in a stop and panties over a year ago .. so maybe the follower are just not that interested and to lazy to unfollow .. because maybe her icon is 5000 on there pages being followed list

      it is like you tube channels with 5 million subs who take a week to get 10,000 views ..

      so she has a page for 2 years or three .. and get millions of people to click follow doing maybe a few post a week ..

      so real people .. just maybe not really all that interested ..

      where is the transiton.. in her picture on instagram.. with here wearing the shirt she is selling .and letting people know she is selling them without going into comments ..

      may a picture of her wearing the tee shirt and white panties and some clue .. that she is selling the tee shirt .

      it leess she failed to sell.. looks more like she failed to even try to look like she was selling..

      i don't know how this influencer thing works .. but if she isn't even willing to buy the minimum order of her own brand and try to sell them..

      that is the failure..

      reading the post from her.. all the effort she put in blah blah blah.. to lazy or dumb to get mom or family to buy the first 36 pieces ..

      but again i don't know the mystical nature of making money as an influencer
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      • Profile picture of the author WF Will
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        Originally Posted by Odahh View Post

        the has a few pic up in a stop and panties over a year ago .. so maybe the follower are just not that interested and to lazy to unfollow .. because maybe her icon is 5000 on there pages being followed list

        it is like you tube channels with 5 million subs who take a week to get 10,000 views ..

        so she has a page for 2 years or three .. and get millions of people to click follow doing maybe a few post a week ..

        so real people .. just maybe not really all that interested ..

        where is the transiton.. in her picture on instagram.. with here wearing the shirt she is selling .and letting people know she is selling them without going into comments ..

        may a picture of her wearing the tee shirt and white panties and some clue .. that she is selling the tee shirt .

        it leess she failed to sell.. looks more like she failed to even try to look like she was selling..

        i don't know how this influencer thing works .. but if she isn't even willing to buy the minimum order of her own brand and try to sell them..

        that is the failure..

        reading the post from her.. all the effort she put in blah blah blah.. to lazy or dumb to get mom or family to buy the first 36 pieces ..

        but again i don't know the mystical nature of making money as an influencer
        Her reasoning for shutting down her clothing line is not pretty bad. I guarantee before the scandal, lots of brands would think there is nothing wrong with her page and gladly sponsor at least $2000+ for a post (especially with the fact that she's a verified account).

        And agreed, like you said worst case scenario she can get her family and friends to buy the minimum 36 units. That's why it definitely seems like it was an intentional setup.
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        • Profile picture of the author Odahh
          Originally Posted by WF Will View Post

          Her reasoning for shutting down her clothing line is not pretty bad. I guarantee before the scandal, lots of brands would think there is nothing wrong with her page and gladly sponsor at least $2000+ for a post (especially with the fact that she's a verified account).

          And agreed, like you said worst case scenario she can get her family and friends to buy the minimum 36 units. That's why it definitely seems like it was an intentional setup.
          i think i learn more from reading stufff like this though than all the actuall claimed successes ..

          before reading this i still though you needed to order at least hundreds of clothing units ..as a minimum order ..

          but start a fashion brand with a first order of 36 shirts .. interesting
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Evans
    Jack Appleby is behind the forthcoming promo of '36 ERA T-shirts' - The much anticipated hip n' happenin' sequel to the beloved 80's hit '99 RED Balloons'.

    It's hitting stores as soon as Princess Balestra finishes the lyrics....
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  • Profile picture of the author DRP
    The majority of "influencers" do not make much money and would do better if they were simply a salaried employee. Shocking to most keyboard warriors, I know, but it's not glamour and swag. This post isn't surprising at all. Just because people might "follow" you or stalk you on social media...doesn't mean they would pay for the pleasure.
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    • Profile picture of the author Odahh
      Originally Posted by DRP View Post

      The majority of "influencers" do not make much money and would do better if they were simply a salaried employee. Shocking to most keyboard warriors, I know, but it's not glamour and swag. This post isn't surprising at all. Just because people might "follow" you or stalk you on social media...doesn't mean they would pay for the pleasure.
      well the majority of inluencers seem to have not have the slightest idea .. how to make money doing it.. sure they look cute and get people to look at their picture or watch their you tube ad or read their blog ..

      but no strategy from the start to build a business.. it oh let me get millions of readers.followers or viewers .. and the money will rain from heaven .. i hope
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    • Profile picture of the author codyhay
      Well said mate, You actually can make money from the followers. But the catch is your followers are genuinely interested in the product of yours. That is quite hard to achieve.
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  • Profile picture of the author writeaway
    There is a 3rd possibility: a significant amount of her following is either paid, fake, or a little bit of both

    This is not unheard of.

    Many influencers buy followers to get SOCIAL PROOF

    After all, most people won't follow someone who doesn't have much of a following

    The problem with inflated follower numbers is they COLLAPSE your engagement ratio which impacts visibility
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  • Profile picture of the author Genier
    I think he has his reasons
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  • Profile picture of the author bond87
    May be it was the quality of the shirt produced or the marketing system had some fault in selling some where.
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  • Profile picture of the author Hoplitis
    Is there a more phoney term than "Instagram Influencer"?
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    • Profile picture of the author WF- Enzo
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      Or more generally speaking, Social Media Influencer. They're pretty much everywhere.

      Originally Posted by Hoplitis View Post

      Is there a more phoney term than "Instagram Influencer"?
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  • Profile picture of the author Karan M
    Thanks Will -- This was Enlightening
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  • Profile picture of the author sgalla414
    Very interesting post ! I've never heard of this influencer before but 100% suspect this is a stunt, although I can't figure out what benefit would truly come from this. But there is no way that out of 2 million followers she couldn't get even 36 people to purchase a shirt. There are impressionable people everywhere who idolize influencers who would purchase their brand in a heart beat.
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  • Profile picture of the author George Flm
    Not a stunt but a lesson.

    Better have 1000 loyal customers than 2M of tire kickers.
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  • Profile picture of the author luciesmazanska
    I dont understand why the minimum order was 36? lol
    and with a 2M followers unless they are not fake there is no chance you wouldnt sell anything
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    I dont understand why the minimum order was 36?
    Because the 'printing company' has a minimum order before they will print tshirts.


    I think the entire 'influencer' theme is polluted. Too many wannabes pretending to have sponsors....some resorts are rejecting 'influencer' discounts - friends who are starting a specialty travel agency were told in training to be skeptical of those claiming 'influencer' or other special social media status.


    A few top people ARE influential - and thus 'influencers' - my guess is most who claim that status are fooling themselves or trying to fool others.
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    • Profile picture of the author Odahh
      Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

      Because the 'printing company' has a minimum order before they will print tshirts.


      I think the entire 'influencer' theme is polluted. Too many wannabes pretending to have sponsors....some resorts are rejecting 'influencer' discounts - friends who are starting a specialty travel agency were told in training to be skeptical of those claiming 'influencer' or other special social media status.


      A few top people ARE influential - and thus 'influencers' - my guess is most who claim that status are fooling themselves or trying to fool others.
      it is like people who claim to be internet marketers.. because they attempt to use email to see information products..and add words or something to get people on those email lists ..

      then there are bloggers, vloggers, pod casters ,you tubers. i guess the term influencer ..is better .. than calling people who have lager twitter follower .. twitts .. and big Instagram follower ..grammers ..

      i put it all in one bucket .. of using the internet to attempt to sell stuff or make money some how ..
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  • Profile picture of the author agmccall
    People should not equate the number of followers to influencer status. I could probably set up an account on any social platform, then go to fiverr and buy a bunch of followers, and keep doing that until I had hundreds of thousands of followers. Then in the eyes of some I would be an influencer, but in fact I would probably not be able to sell 36 t-shirts either.

    On the other hand, you could have an earned following of only a couple thousand people and truly be an influencer but would not be looked on as so from someone who does not know you.

    al
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    • Originally Posted by agmccall View Post

      People should not equate the number of followers to influencer status. I could probably set up an account on any social platform, then go to fiverr and buy a bunch of followers, and keep doing that until I had hundreds of thousands of followers. Then in the eyes of some I would be an influencer, but in fact I would probably not be able to sell 36 t-shirts either.

      On the other hand, you could have an earned following of only a couple thousand people and truly be an influencer but would not be looked on as so from someone who does not know you.

      al
      I agree. This is the reason why some marketing agencies are looking at microinfluencers now. They're not looking at your reach, they're looking at your engagement. It doesn't matter if you only have 10k followers, If at least 10% of those followers interact with your post on a regular basis, your golden. What's the point in having 2M followers if none of them would be bothered to like a single photo.
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
    It reminds me of the WF bragging about having over 1.3 million members...
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  • Profile picture of the author Sebastian Hare
    I feel like everyone now a days wants to be an "Instagram Influencer", and there are so many fake "Influencers" out there now that its hard to sift through the fake ones.
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  • Profile picture of the author Profit Expert
    I can say they are bought/ fake followers. Otherwise this kind of following can bring you loads of money if in targeted niche.
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  • Profile picture of the author DURABLEOILCOM
    It's free to subscribe & follow someone. Actually spending money is a completely different beast. Subscribers & Followers does not = instant customers.
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  • Profile picture of the author James McAllister
    Jesus.

    Marketing stunt or not, people have the wrong impression that more followers equates to more sales, or that people good at growing Instagram accounts are also good business people.

    There's certainly a correlation between them, but it's definitely not always the case.

    My brands have worked with accunts with greater than 50k followers and have sold nothing. We've also worked with accounts with under 5k followers and were shocked with how many people bought.

    Marketers need to look deeper than just follower counts before investing time and money into influencer deals. Influencers need a deeper understanding of their audience if they want to monetize them effectively.
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Evans
    'Content Creator' though admittedly one that I don't favour, probably holds more meaning than 'Influencer'.

    People stand chance of succeeding in their goals on the Internet when they come to the revelation that numbers ultimately mean very little.

    Then, when they realise that, they often focus on their content.

    ...and that stands as the productive circle.
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    • Profile picture of the author Odahh
      Originally Posted by Daniel Evans View Post

      'Content Creator' though admittedly one that I don't favour, probably holds more meaning than 'Influencer'.

      People stand chance of succeeding in their goals on the Internet when they come to the revelation that numbers ultimately mean very little.

      Then, when they realize that, they often focus on their content.

      ...and that stands as the productive circle.
      and then who is consuming that content.. and what they will spend money on .. an if they will support the content creator in some financial capacity .. or if the content creator is giving the fan base options ..on how to support the creator financially

      but the creator also has to be willing to lose control.. and push the content in the direction the fans support ..
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel Evans
    Slow down and act morally and intellectually.

    ...is the message.

    Offering content first aimed at people - not acquiring a buck from numbers.

    Adjustment is part and parcel of aiming and that's done effectively as the audience gives relative feedback over time.

    In the same respect, and with the above point considered; multi-million dollar businesses are failing in ventures latching onto new 'Content Creators' way too soon as they act on the basis of assumption, falling victim to the lure of numbers alone.
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    • Profile picture of the author sgalla414
      Out of curiosity I was just on this influencers instagram page. The key thing that is missing from the 10-15 or so posts i looked at was that there was ZERO content, no value, nothing to engage in. She just posts pictures from various places. This is a case of not offering anything and attempting to acquire a buck from numbers alone. I can definitely see why this didn't work for her.
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  • Profile picture of the author KJ Gyllenstorm
    How does it works if you buy followers? Is it possible that this Twitter profile has done that?
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  • Profile picture of the author pheonix44
    My first question would be how many of those followers are actually real followers. These days there are so many ways to manipulate these types of ratings that they shouldn't even be shown publicly anymore. Chances are a nice percentage of those followers aren't real or were obtained in a way where their overall value is low.
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    • Profile picture of the author Odahh
      Originally Posted by pheonix44 View Post

      My first question would be how many of those followers are actually real followers. These days there are so many ways to manipulate these types of ratings that they shouldn't even be shown publicly anymore. Chances are a nice percentage of those followers aren't real or were obtained in a way where their overall value is low.
      well looking at what she has explaiined.. is she has had the account for 4 years.. and the 140 active post only go back two of those years .. so who knows is it really that hard for an attractive teenage girl willing to take photos in her underwear and two piece bathing suits .. to rack up a lot of followers .. over 4 years ..

      but the other numbers she mention about thi .. was she wasn't selling tee shirts.. she was trying to launch 7 products at once and each needed a minimum order or 36 pieces for the line to be a go ..
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  • Profile picture of the author Ravi Talwar
    capture or target some real audience to influence the market to purchase the t-shirt
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  • Profile picture of the author DarkHydra
    Also worth taking into consideration that a fair percentage of followers may no longer be actively using the platform, so the amount of people who saw it is much lower than 2 million. Could also be a bunch of bots and fake followers in there, but yeah even if 50% were bots or inactive that would still be dull sales figures. She shouldn't have made sales numbers public and it would never have been a big story in first place.
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    • Profile picture of the author Odahh
      Originally Posted by DarkHydra View Post

      Also worth taking into consideration that a fair percentage of followers may no longer be actively using the platform, so the amount of people who saw it is much lower than 2 million. Could also be a bunch of bots and fake followers in there, but yeah even if 50% were bots or inactive that would still be dull sales figures. She shouldn't have made sales numbers public and it would never have been a big story in first place.
      i used the example of my you tube account.. i havea little over a hundred .. though probably around 150 channels i am subscribed too.. and ... i only look at content from 3 on a regular basis ..

      ever notice how many you tube channel have hundreds of thousand or close to a million subs.. but average a few thousand views on a new video.. hell if you tube actuall informed me every time a channel i am subscribed to posted a new video.. id be un subscribing very fast

      as danial pointed out.or may have been trying to point out. there is a problem with the theory of thinking large numbers matter ..
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  • Profile picture of the author lukeo
    This has to be a PR stunt like you said, but i just cant understand the logistics of having 2.6m followers and 36 shirts sold? lol either they are all following her just to stare at her in the news feed or this is another case of fake followers. Then again she is verified :/ i don't know something isn't right anyway, don't become an influencer lol.
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  • Profile picture of the author erichvonmanstein
    People don't buy because of someone's influence (except famous actors, singer,..etc), people buy by emotion
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  • Profile picture of the author Master Beats
    Ridiculous PR stunt lol
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeffery
    Originally Posted by WF Will View Post

    This Instagram Influencer (@arii) has recently been getting some heat over her controversial product launch for her brand "Era" because she had trouble selling 36 T-Shirts even with her massive following.


    <snip>


    Why would she qualify as an Influencer? Is it because she has a lot of followers?
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    • Profile picture of the author WF Will
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      Originally Posted by Jeffery View Post

      Why would she qualify as an Influencer? Is it because she has a lot of followers?
      It doesn't really require much to be an "influencer", even people with 10,000 followers will start calling themselves that. Nowadays, that title doesn't hold too much weight and is pretty much just used to address a title to people who are trying to make a career with their social media channels. YouTube addresses their creators as YouTubers but it would sound a bit off to call someone on IG an Instagram-er.
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      • Profile picture of the author Jeffery
        Originally Posted by WF Will View Post

        It doesn't really require much to be an "influencer", even people with 10,000 followers will start calling themselves that. Nowadays, that title doesn't hold too much weight and is pretty much just used to address a title to people who are trying to make a career with their social media channels. YouTube addresses their creators as YouTubers but it would sound a bit off to call someone on IG an Instagram-er.

        Thank you Will.
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  • Profile picture of the author dana67
    It may well be a PR Stunt. Either way, the story went viral.
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    • Profile picture of the author reubenchng
      Totally agree with you on that. No publicity is bad publicity. To be fair, she has the internet's attention on her now.
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  • Profile picture of the author dojodesign
    Just like other fellow commenters pointed out, some followers are fake and most of them follow because it's free. Getting them to actually buy something is a different beast, especially when the clothing line is different from what she promoted and, let's face it, a little bland anyway.
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  • Profile picture of the author Odahh
    well was i the only one who looked at her instagram page .. and read the comment to find this 18 year old womans explination for what happened ..

    she wasn't selling t shirts.. i don't know what she was selling.. but to get the line going she need to pre sell 36 units of 7 different items ..

    which she failed to do .. the internet turned it into t shirts .. or sweaters .. and we get this story.

    in the end i really can't find the evidence for a real marketing effort ..and i am still of the mindest .. she should have raised the funds to buy the merchandise .. then sell it ..or market it an sell it ..

    but i don't know how this influencer or instagram marketing stuff is supposed to work .. so where i would think starting up a store with a very small inventory .. is great .. i guess failing before you start must work to
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    • Profile picture of the author Jeffery
      Originally Posted by Odahh View Post

      well was i the only one who looked at her instagram page .. and read the comment to find this 18 year old womans explination for what happened ..
      <snip>

      Odahh, I did look ar her page, but did not see any comment about the explanation or the sale. What am I doing wrong?
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      • Profile picture of the author Odahh
        Originally Posted by Jeffery View Post

        Odahh, I did look ar her page, but did not see any comment about the explanation or the sale. What am I doing wrong?
        the explination is as of this moment when i checked is in the popst about 5 posts in..with 159k likes and 2 k comments..posted about may 30
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        • Profile picture of the author Jeffery
          Originally Posted by Odahh View Post

          the explination is as of this moment when i checked is in the popst about 5 posts in..with 159k likes and 2 k comments..posted about may 30

          Got it. Thanks Odahh!
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  • Originally Posted by WF Will View Post

    This Instagram Influencer (@arii) has recently been getting some heat over her controversial product launch for her brand "Era" because she had trouble selling 36 T-Shirts even with her massive following.

    According to her original post, the manufacturing company she was working with had a Minimum Order Quantity of 36 units before it can actually be fulfilled which is why she stopped her whole operation.

    There has been a bunch of speculation by people on social media on whether or not this was a legitimate case of her not understanding her audience or if it was actually a staged marketing stunt to gain sympathy and buzz.

    Twitter User Jack Appleby (@JuiceBoxCA) makes some excellent points about the whole ordeal in the screenshots below:




    I personally agree with Jack's points that it was likely a PR stunt because by sheer numbers, you should be able to easily sell anything when you have over 2 million followers.

    Do you think the influencer bubble is at a bursting point? Or was this her plan all along?

    Would love to hear your thoughts!

    I am a bit torn and here are the reason(s):

    1. It appears, by the images you provided, she has been promoting or showcasing their products/services.

    2. If indeed she could not get anyone to buy 36 T-shirts then it appears what @kissmyelite is implying is correct: @arii followers are, what I call, junk followers. Meaning, she probably paid to get those followers. She did not acquire them organically.

    3. Given the fact @arii later erased the post maybe it was a stunt.

    ----------

    In the end I am not sure as to what is going on with her page but if it is true than she could not sell 36 T-shirts to her 2+ million followers then it is a teaching moment for marketers with using Influencers to promote their business and/or services on Instagram.

    Stay cool and successful...
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  • Profile picture of the author Ritika Pahwa
    Influencer marketing, partcularly in lifestyle & consumer brands is over-hyped. Many of these Insta/FB accounts have fake users.
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  • Profile picture of the author sh91
    The influencer trend will never be over, that's literally tantamount to saying ads don't work. It's much more likely her followers are fake.
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  • Profile picture of the author XenG
    I thought an influence is someone who gets people to buy stuffs. I see a lot of influencers in youtube on makeup. That's why. Oh well, millions followers doesn't always equate to the same number when actually promoting to sell goods.
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  • Profile picture of the author BingoBongo
    Based on her, followers/comment/like ratio, I believe that she really just failed. Although it might be a brilliant PR stunt, I do really think this is an outcome of poor engagement. Heck, we all know those people who just go to popular and subscribe to anything in there. They don't bring engagement or really any value besides adding numbers. She has engagement of 200k followers account to my estimation.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tsebo Mallane
    Can't say what the truth is, it's not easy to tell. But it could be that she did try to sell the shirts and when she couldn't she used that as a way to get more publicity. I think that's the case as she is still young, 18, so she has a lot of time to grow her followers and ways of marketing to her followers in any case.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rozok
    I feel liike she bought her audience, 2mil people and small amount of likes or comments
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  • Profile picture of the author ajb93
    I feel like Instagram was a very strong platform for marketers 1-2 years ago, but it is slowly declining. This is in part to a lot of people going on there to promote their 'personal brand' or get a big following so they can sell shout-outs. My businesses's instagram for example was followed mainly by automated software likes and people doing the follow/unfollow technique. Still, let's say only 200,000 real people of her 2 million followers saw the post. That means she converted at .0002%. I doubt anyone could do that bad
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  • Profile picture of the author cearionmarie
    There can be a lot of possibilities here and of course, it could also be a PR stunt, However, having a lot of followers doesn't necessarily make you an "influencer". You need to have to power to "influence". Did she fail as an influencer? Or is it something else?
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    Cearion Uy - Marketing Advisor
    www.influencerauditor.com

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