Influencer marketing is off the scale. But so too is the news coverage of it – and it ain’t all rainbows and unicorns.
One minute, we’re getting details of the disastrous Fyre Festival, the next we read that an egg has become the most liked picture on Instagram. And best not mention Kim Kardashian West promoting appetite-suppressing lollies to her 100+ million Instagram followers.
It’s no wonder that consumers are questioning whether there’s any authenticity left in influencer marketing.
Over the last ten years, influencer marketing has been a much-favoured tactic by brands looking to promote their wares. Social media stars have been in a state of continual posting, boosting their follower count and cashing in on brand deals.
But there’s only so many online makeup tutorials and fashion hauls we can take before we reach tipping point. Could this be about to change?
According to an article on the Guardian, we are now entering a new phase of influencer marketing which can be summed up in one word: authenticity. Other words like passion, genuine talent, and transparency also give you the gist.
It certainly feels like a new phase of influencer marketing is needed. Last year, the situation was so bad, some went as far as to declare the death of influencer marketing. Trust in digital celebs was so low, their opinions were rendered virtually worthless.
As a result, something of a clean-up operation has been underway. Millions of fake accounts have been culled, regulations about sponsored content have been tightened, and influencers have posted videos of how they earn their money.
The question is, are these moves wholly sincere?
It’s hard to tell. But one thing is clear: the industry is growing. Data from Mediakix estimates influencer market value on Instagram will increase from $800 million in 2017 to $2.3 billion by 2020.
One signal that we are moving to greater authenticity is the buzz about micro and nano influencers. Brands are snubbing mega influencers with their multi-millions of followers in favour of lesser known talent.
As Sarah Penny, head of content at marketing agency Influencer Intelligence, put it: “They worked with so many brands they couldn’t possibly be authentic.”
This suggests that smaller may be better in influencer marketing land.
There’s also a new wave of ambitious young influencers who are choosing to advertise brands for free. Why? They feel they gain more kudos and credibility if they look like they’re being paid to post content.
Perhaps authenticity is only ever really achieved if influencers grow with their audience. The idea being that they’re on a journey together – ideally an authentic one.
What the future holds for influencers is hard to say – no one has done the job long enough to know for sure. And it’s highly unlikely that the influencers of today are still going to be churning out social media content at such a rate of knots for the rest of their lives.
Authenticity needs to be a driving force in influencer marketing, and gives brands a story that consumers want to hear. And let’s be honest, nobody likes to be lied to.
Let the team at Spot Digital help you take a more strategic and authentic approach to influencer marketing. Get in touch today.