Social Influencers: The good, the bad and the ugly

Firstly, let’s start with the basics. For those of you who don’t know, social influencers are individuals or groups that have established a credibility within a specific industry, giving them access to a large audience in order to promote brands or products. By virtue of their reach and fan base, social influencers are able to persuade others to buy certain products or services.

The cost of using a social influencer to promote your brand or product can vary massively, depending on the industry and their following. Low-level influencers with around 10,000 followers may charge around £100 per post, on the opposite end of the spectrum the likes of Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner can rake in around £750,000 per post!

Brands may opt to use an influencer for a one-off post, or establish a long-term relationship, in this instance, the influencers are often referred to as ‘brand ambassadors’.

You may have noticed hashtags such as #ad on #spon across your social media feeds recently, this is because Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have recently released new guidelines to ensure followers are aware that these types of posts are in fact, paid adverts.

Although the ASA has stepped in to make this kind of advertising more transparent, there are still a number of serious flaws, particularly for businesses when it comes to using social influencers to promote their brand. Research that has taken place since the rise of social influence has found that many individuals and brands purchase fake followers, therefore meaning their engagement rates don’t reflect their follower statistics.

According to a study carried out by Points North Group, culprits of buying fake followers included Ritz-Carlton with an estimated 78% and Pampers with 32%. In an industry where social influence is on the rise, it is likely thousands of brands have fallen victim to this scam, and as a result have lost of millions of pounds.

From my personal point of view, so many ‘influencers’ in the industry are in it to make a quick buck, promoting products that capitalise on the insecurities of impressionable followers to sell the latest ‘detox’ tea or teeth whitening product, over the years I have grown savvy to this, and as a digital marketer can usually spot it a mile off, unfortunately, this isn’t always the case with unknowing consumers.

That being said, when a reputable social influencer is hired to promote a brand in an ethical way, following ASA standards, it can be a fruitful endeavor for both parties, and I’m all for it.

But as a brand, if you are considering using an influencer, do your research first, be sure to check their engagement rates reflect their following stats. If you are hoping to be a social influencer, or even build your brand across social media, buying fake followers could potentially have a long-lasting damaging effect, and although it can take a long time, it is 100% more worthy of your time to build your brand through genuine followers and genuine engagement within your industry.

If you would like more advice on finding a reputable social influencer, feel free to get in touch! Over the years I have built up a database of trusted UK bloggers and influencers with proven results.

Thanks for reading! xo


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