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Is there a shift towards influencers using social media for the greater good?


Whether it’s in the news or on social media, there’s no question that online abuse and leading a more sustainable lifestyle are two of the most talked about topics at the moment.

Until now, neither of these have been tackled in depth by YouTube influencers, however this week there have been a number of videos shared by prolific micro influencers on such topics.

Here we explore three influencer marketing examples, what this means for influencer campaigns going forward, and if they can truly help make a real difference.

Lydia Elise Millen (747k subscribers)

Video title: I was scared for my life but I’m finally making this video



Lydia Millen is a YouTuber I’ve followed for a couple of years now, and someone who shares mainly aspirational home, lifestyle, beauty and travel content.

Her videos are certainly ‘high end’ compared to other content creators, with designer items included in fashion hauls and luxury homeware scattered throughout her house. She’s always been very honest about this, saying this is how she chooses to spend her money that she’s worked hard for, which I suppose you can’t argue with. However, it is this focus on luxury in particular that seems to have spawned online abuse.

She has addressed negative comments in the past, asking those who dislike her content to simply unsubscribe and not watch her videos.

In her video released this week entitled ‘I was scared for my life but I’m finally making this video’, she highlights how she sees a key difference between constructive criticism and abuse/hate comments. She also explores how YouTubers are often told that they have to accept such negative comments as they’ve opened their lives up to the public.

While I see where people are coming from on this, surely nobody should be made to feel upset by comments like this?

In terms of Lydia’s subscriber count, it has been growing healthily in recent weeks, and the publication of this video doesn’t seem to have changed that.


Social Blade – Lydia Millen

This, as well as positive and encouraging comments in response the video, indicates a high level of support for what Lydia is saying and speaking out on.

SacconeJolys (1.9million subscribers)

Video title: We have some bad news



The SacconeJolys are one of the most popular British YouTube families, sharing content about family life with their four children and four dogs in Surrey. Their story is similar to Lydia’s experience.

You may be forgiven for thinking that, on initial inspection, the SacconeJolys present an unrealistic lifestyle with their large house and ‘perfect’ family, however their latest video proved this to be far from true.

Like Lydia, the family has been subjected to horrendous abuse and trolling over the last few years, and not just on social media. In one particularly shocking anecdote, dad Jonathan shares how one troll reported the two parents for child abuse just 8 weeks after the birth of their daughter. This prompted a police visit, which left both parents and police officers traumatised when the true reason behind the callout was uncovered. Trolls have also tried hacking their children’s school records and falsely reporting the two for condoning rape on their YouTube channel.

As mum Anna says, this isn’t something they’ve discussed before on their channel, as they want to keep content entertaining and enjoyable. But that they can’t avoid the subject any longer and feel a responsibility to help bring this abuse to a stop.

Interestingly, the SacconeJolys’ subscriber count had been falling in the days prior to this video, but started climbing as soon as it was published. If anything, this shows an appetite for honesty and transparency from YouTubers, and support for the family.


Social Blade – SacconeJolys


Content of this kind from such prolific YouTubers can only be a good thing in encouraging honesty within the community and highlighting the problem of online abuse and trolls.

Ashley Brooke (439k subscribers)

Video title: Going to lose followers for this




Ashley is a YouTuber that I’ve followed for 3-4 years now, and her content follows the life of her and her fiancé Ryan in New York City.

With regular fashion hauls, makeup tutorials, haircare advice and weekly vlogs, Ashley’s style of content is similar to many YouTubers, but I’ve always liked the down-to-earth nature and ‘realness’ of her content. She doesn’t paint a picture-perfect idea of her life, and takes you through all the highs and lows, from business successes to personal losses.

In a step away from her usual videos, this week she published an hour-long vlog entitled ‘Going to lose followers for this’. This title could be considered click-baity, however there was actually truth in what she said, with her subscriber dropping in the hours following publication.


Social Blade – Ashley Brooke



She tackled a complex and relatable subject: how some influencers are promoting an unsustainable lifestyle of over-consumption. This is something she admits partaking in, but she also discusses how her content will change going forward, moving away from mass fast fashion hauls to sustainable options. She also takes you through some of the small things she’s changing in her life to live more sustainably – think metal straws, reusable shopping bags and face cloths instead of disposable wipes.

Compared to her video posted three days earlier, which currently has 1k likes, this one now has over 2.3k likes in just 24 hours. So despite the fall in subscribers, which I believe will only be temporary, it’s clear that this content resonates with subscribers.

So are we really making progress here?

All of this talk around online abuse and sustainability is certainly a step in the right direction for social influencers taking more responsibility for their platform.

But it’s going to take some real work from the likes of Instagram, Twitter and YouTube to actually implement changes that prevent abuse. In a similar way, to make real headway with sustainable fashion, retail giants are going to have to make positive steps as well as influencers speaking out.

Content creators have a massive power to affect change in these areas, and having them on board can only be a good thing.

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