Our industry needs to learn from influencer fraud

Written by Hayley Paterson


influencer fraud

It’s becoming more likely for businesses to use influencers to market their brand and get their product or service seen by the right people, but this can run the risk of falling victim to influencer fraud if the proper research isn’t undertaken.

Influencer marketing has grown in stature, particularly with the rise of social media. With influencers on every platform from Instagram to Snapchat engaging their following, it’s something brands have been unable to ignore.

Nearly one-third (32%) of marketing professionals saw influencer campaigns as essential to their strategies, and just under half (41%) said they have seen more success than in more traditional advertising efforts, according to research from Bloglovin’ and Marketing Dive.

So, there’s money to make for influencers because, even though there’s no fixed price per se, brands are prepared to pay for the right fit. UK tech company, Tribe, told Business Insider in 2017 that their influencer prices ranged from £50-£350 depending on followers and reach potential. However, some companies have paid tens of thousands of pounds for an influencer to promote their brand or product.

THE RISKS OF INFLUENCER MARKETING

Like any kind of industry development, there are always pitfalls because with great power comes great responsibility.

Statistics have shown that there has been a rapid rise in ‘influencer fraud’ because of how marketing is utilising this powerful tool. And whilst 71% of consumers admitted they thought influencer marketing was unregulated (City AM, 2018), it is guided by communication laws set by The Advertising Standards Authority.

THE RISE OF INFLUENCER FRAUD

As job roles shift and evolve with people seeing greater value in pursuing careers as vloggers, bloggers and social media influencers, businesses have to be even more aware that the person they are speaking to is right for their brand and ultimately, their audience.

There has to be a connection between the influencer promoting a brand for it to even make sense in the first place. Luxury hotels in particular are getting hit by the growing influencer market – and it’s not always for the best intentions.

As the Atlantic reports, people who are giving themselves a self-titled influencer role and whom have ‘bought’ followers have attempted to gain a free holidays and perks in exchange for social posting and promotion – and that’s if they live up to their end of the deal. If a business pursues such leads without really researching the influencer and seeing how relatable and fitting they are for their brand, they could be in danger of forking out for something that doesn’t drive sales.

It can have a lasting effect too because influencers who don’t know how to pitch to businesses or how to communicate in the most effective way, can serious damage a brand. It can also lead to a decrease in the business’ credibility and result in products and services suffering – as well as returning little, to no, ROI.

To not fall foul of influencer fraud, there has to be something agreed between both parties to make for a mutually beneficial relationship. Surely you both want a long-lasting relationship which promotes all interests in the most correct, honest, authentic and transparent way, right?

BRAND GIANTS FIGHT AGAINST INFLUENCER FRAUD

Taking a stance against influencer fraud, brand giant, Unilever, has sent out a rallying call for the crackdown on fraudulent influencer marketing – and announced it will no longer be working with influencers that buy followers. As reported in The Drum many other big brands are contemplating just how useful an influencer is to their business, reverting to more traditional methods of paid-for social advertising done in-house.

There are, of course, genuine and hard-working influencers out there who will get to know your brand and do their utmost to get your products and services into the hands of the right people – which can be hugely beneficial for businesses. A true influencer will also (shockingly) give honest feedback rather than just saying how great and life-changing every product they push is. So, do your research.

Want to explore influencer marketing for your brand?
Learn how to you can tap into influencer marketing here

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