Unless you live your life in a social media blackout, you’ll know that digital influencer marketing has become an increasingly popular tactic for brands. Utilising an influencer’s credibility and reach can see great results for businesses, but how has the rise of influencer marketing affected the way that consumers view these promotions?
We are now living in a world surrounded by disinformation, with ‘fake news’ top of the agenda over the past few months. This inevitably leads to consumers asking: “Is the news I’m reading real?” Previously this has more commonly affected politicians and political beliefs; however, it now trickles down into social media influencers, too.
Paid-for-posts by influencers are showcased in such a way to make the audience believe that the individual uses a product regularly and would personally recommend it to them, as if it were a friend. The post usually contains a statement written by the influencer endorsing a product in a casual approachable manner.
There have been numerous occasions where an influencer has slipped up when posting a paid social media post. Scott Disick, for example, clearly copied and pasted pre-written text on his paid-for-posts, causing much amusement amongst his followers. This has led to consumers being much more aware of influencers that post un-meaningful content and regarding it with a sceptical eye.
Following recent guidelines set out by The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), an influencer should always disclose when they are being paid by a brand to advertise the products to its audience. The guidelines remind influencers and marketers that they should make known their relationships with brands when promoting or endorsing product through social media. However, as these are only guidelines, they’re not always strictly adhered to.
Despite the scepticism, influencer industry is growing at a rapid rate, with it expected to be a £7 billion market in the next five years. Plus, studies also suggest that audiences trust online influencers almost as much as they trust their friends.
For brands, it remains a key marketing approach to consider, depending on your audience and goals. The secret to success though is to be as transparent as possible. By not aiming to pull the wool over an audience’s eyes, this builds trust with your potential audience and can generate a positive result for your brand.
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