There’s no doubt that social media influencers have significantly impacted how brands are marketed in recent years. Using social media influencers to promote your brand or product has been an effective and powerful marketing tactic.
The accepted truth is that social media influencers have a large and dedicated following of people who already trust and admire them and are more likely to be swayed by what they say.
Until now, working with influencers presented an opportunity to tap into a new and often very targeted audience and could help establish the credibility and visibility of your brand or product. Additionally, using influencers could be typically more cost-effective than relying solely on traditional forms of advertising.
By partnering with an influencer, you could leverage their credibility and expertise to add value to your brand and likely increase sales.
But as social media influencers have become more and more prevalent, the trustworthiness of these digital celebrities is coming into question. Recent surveys have revealed that consumers are becoming increasingly wary of influencers, with many citing trust issues with influencers pushing products on their platforms.
Furthermore, influencers are coming under fire for potentially dodgy business practices, such as being paid for promotional posts without disclosing the payment or giving advice about products and services they don’t fully understand.
Recently, a class action lawsuit was filed against Yuga Labs, the parent company of Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC), in which investors claimed the company didn’t disclose celebrities’ alleged involvement in promoting the NFTs (non-fungible tokens). The lawsuit names Gwyneth Paltrow, Paris Hilton, Kevin Hart, DJ Khaled, and Jimmy Fallon, among a long list of celebrity and social influencers that promoted the NFTs to their followers without any disclosures.
This lack of trust could have a serious effect on your brand. If you’re working with influencers or considering doing so, it’s important to be aware of this trend and take steps to ensure that your brand is not adversely affected.
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The Rise of Influencer Marketing
In recent years, with the rise of influencer marketing, companies have been turning to social media influencers more than ever to reach their target audiences. This strategy has proven highly effective in many cases — after all, who better to endorse your product or service than someone who has a million-plus audience at their fingertips?
Whether you’re a startup founder, a small business, or the CMO of a larger organization, leveraging the power of social media influencers has been an effective way to market your products and services.
Working with influencers has proved to be a great way of reaching potential customers, increasing brand awareness, building customer loyalty and trust, and driving sales.
Until recently, Influencer marketing has been incredibly effective because it allows brands to tap into an established fanbase that follows and looks up to the influencer.
This means that when they feature or recommend a product or service, their followers are more likely to take their word for it and purchase what you have to offer.
The recent decline in trust for social media influencers
Although there have been many advantages to using Social Media Influencers in the past. Trust in this platform seems to be at an all-time low. This raises a potential concern for companies planning to use the medium as a tool for their marketing efforts in the future.
There are several reasons for the drop in trust for social media influencers. For one thing, countless scandals have come out involving influencers who were caught engaging in unethical practices or making false claims about their products.
Additionally, studies have shown that many people feel like they’re being bombarded by unauthentic recommendations whenever they open their social media feed. This over-saturation has led to people feeling jaded and skeptical towards anything that looks like sponsored content.
Another reason behind the decline is that customers are getting wise to what influencer marketing is — advertising disguised as something else — and so they are wary of taking any claims made by influencers as gospel truth. As these issues become more pronounced, customers will become even more suspicious of what they see online, which could further decrease their faith in influencer endorsements.
But what does this mean for your brand?
Simply put, it means that you should think twice before investing heavily in an influencer-based marketing strategy. Although it can require a lot more work than buying access to a social influencers existing audience.
A strategy of cultivating and building direct, authentic connections with customers through strong social activities and content development can be far more effective and return greater results in the long term. (More on this in another article.)
The importance of building authentic connections with your audience
Focus on creating authentic relationships with your target market rather than just relying on superficial endorsements from third parties. Authenticity is essential to any brand’s successful connection with an audience. Without it, your message will immediately feel distant and disingenuous, leaving them feeling undervalued and unsatisfied.
As a CEO or CMO, it’s important to be deliberate and strategic in how you engage with your audience by speaking their language and communicating from the heart. This doesn’t mean you have to play up to stereotypes or pander; instead, it means that you should strive for an authentic representation of your values, knowledge, and expertise.
Being creative and innovative in how you approach this will help showcase the passion and purpose behind your mission, giving people a tangible reference point that resonates with them. Brands must remember that authentic dialogue with their target market builds trust and reaps measurable rewards.
But If You Insist.
Social media influence marketing can still be a potent tool for brands looking to expand their reach and connect with new customers; however, due to a decline in trust for such endorsers, it’s important for businesses to take proactive steps to protect their brands from any potential negative consequences associated with this shift in perception amongst consumers.
To ensure maximum ROI from your campaign and protect your brand, it’s important that you focus on finding trustworthy influencers who will give an honest assessment of your product or service.
Make sure that any endorsements are clearly labelled as such — the FTC requires disclosure whenever there is a relationship between an advertiser and an endorser — so there can be no confusion about who’s behind a particular post or video.
That way, followers will know exactly what they’re getting when they see content from one of your chosen partners. Additionally, create clear guidelines for what your influencers can and cannot say when promoting your product or service.
The decline in trust for social media influencers is a trend that brands can’t afford to ignore. With trust in influencers waning, brands should be aware of the impact this could have on their campaigns. As people become more aware of the trust issues associated with influencers, brands might consider changing their approach.
It may be time for brands to start focusing on a longer-term strategy of cultivating directly, authentic relationships with customers and building trust in their products and services through informative and engaging content.
By investing in alternative marketing strategies that cultivate direct relationships with customers, brands can start to own and control the conversation with their audiences. Ensure that their campaigns remain successful even as trust in influencers continues to diminish.