Influencer marketing can be seen as an inevitable future component of social media, but at the same time, a fad where its true value to marketers is always limited.

  • Influencer marketing is held under constant scrutiny, with 47% of consumers feeling fatigued by repetitive influencer content. 
  • Influencer content is ridiculed for both its lack of evidence behind claims and the failure to correctly label paid-for posts - 61% of consumers believe that brands are failing to be transparent about how they are using influencers to promote their products online.
  • Consumers' patience with social influencers is wavering, only 8% of global Internet users believe that the bulk of information shared on social media is true - consumers are searching for more authentic content from brands.

“People are searching for intimacy and the manner in which [brands] work with influencers is not just ‘chuck me a grand and I will say something nice about your product’.”James Kirkham, Chief Business Officer, Copa90

Brands are starting to question whether or not they should invest in influencer marketing. Some industry experts strongly believe there is a place for influencers due to their huge reach and potential influence however, the way in which marketers adapt how they use them within campaigns is crucial. Brands values should align and promote a message that resonates with their key demographic otherwise the partnership will appear forced and inauthentic.

40% of 18-24 year-olds take into account how authentic or real an influencer’s content feels before considering following them on social media.

Scandals, where influencers have released incorrect information, has made marketers aware of the potential problems that come with relinquishing control to influencers, and the implications this can have on the brand image. However, when used appropriately, influencer marketing can be an effective way to connect with a range of target audiences and below are two key factors marketers need to consider before incorporating influencer marketing into their strategy.

1. Transparency

In a world of post-fyre influencing, it was found that 60% of UK students believe influencers have a responsibility to ensure they are not misleading their followers. Additionally, just 6% of students agree that the Fyre Festival was not the fault of the influencers and that they should not be held responsible for what occurred. 

In order to repair the damage of distrust surrounding the culture of influencers, complete clarity between the brand-sponsored influencers and their following is crucial. For Instagram influencers, this has been achieved by using the sponsored content pin which is used alongside appropriate hashtags. 

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is reprimanding any influencer who does not comply to these rules and has twice this year, banned content posted by reality star Louise Thompson from the Channel 4 show, Made In Chelsea, when she did not include a qualifier or #ad in her Instagram story that promoted a product from Vanity Planet Store who she was contracted by. 

Louise Thompson IG Story

2. Authenticity

Industry leaders are now demanding that marketers invest more time into choosing influencers which are better fits for their campaign, looking further than purely their following. Marketers will need to consider their audience more so that they are able to create campaigns which more accurately represent their reality.

A study carried out by Benefit cosmetics found that 51% of Gen Z want to see companies working with a wider range of people who are more like them. 

More honesty across social media needs to be emphasised as many influencers have a following of impressionable users which will buy into the materialistic and misrepresentation of real life. 

Influencer Chessie King focuses on empowerment, liberation, and body confidence, often posting images caption ‘Instagram vs. Reality’ where she is encouraging women everywhere to love their body no matter its shape or size. 

By ensuring transparency and authenticity are considered before adopting influencer marketing into a campaign, brands can make the most of their influencer spend in a way which will deliver positive results. Influencer marketing is set to grow to $10bn by 2020, so without a doubt, it is here to stay and marketers will continue to invest but, the influencers they choose to work with has the power to make or break their brand image. 

 

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