Authentic Influencing on Social Media
October 10, 2022.
By: Micheaux Media & Marketing Productions Content Writer
One form of advertising has changed the landscape of the industry, which shouldn't surprise anyone who uses social media today—marketing through influencers. In terms of marketing, influencers use the "word of mouth" approach by making recommendations to their followers. Consumers perceive it as taking advice from a close friend or getting product ideas from them. Commercials and traditional-styled ads aren't being reacted to by the upcoming generation. Sincere and authentic content is seeing higher responses from brands. Our team even heard a recent intern say, "If it looks like an advertisement, I'll pass."
Customers can see their favorite influencers using products and giving honest reviews through influencer marketing. By sharing their personal lives in social spheres, influencers gain trust from their audiences not only by promoting brands but also by promoting a sense of transparency. In most cases, influencers post daily stories that give viewers a glimpse into their homes, families, and thoughts. Small online communities can develop as consumers trust what their salesperson has to say and become part of their community.
With influencer marketing becoming part of the larger advertising industry, influencers quickly realized that gaining more followers and creating a brand that followers could turn to for inspiration is the best way to grow their businesses. By leveraging their audiences, they can negotiate brand deals with advertisers across the country. In order to achieve the best results from these brand deals, influencers have created curated feeds in which everything is visually appealing and nothing is "off-brand." When brands seek influencers to work with, heavily edited images and highly curated content are appealing to them. According to recent reports, consumers' mindsets are shifting back towards sincerity and wanting to see true authenticity.
What does this mean for the influencers? Drop the editing. Drop the filters. And definitely drop anything that you don’t believe in. Unfortunately, the overedited, perfectly-curated posts and partnerships have created a culture online that is toxic for social media users. Users are finding that their mental health is affected due to the comparison culture influencers have fabricated through their feeds. The idea that every image posted has to be perfect and look a certain way has had drastic effects on users’ mental health.
Ogilvy UK recently came out and said that starting in 2023 they will no longer work with influencers who retouch their skin or bodies. This is a significant step for this company and is expected to have ripple effects industry-wide, encouraging others to follow suit.
By doing this Ogilvy is going back to the roots of influencer marketing and is enforcing a standard for influencers to share their authentic selves. Ogilvy’s concept is expected to help with the adverse mental health that accompanies over-edited posts. Social Media users should be able to scroll through their feeds and see that the influencers they follow are just like themselves and not see the inauthentic version promoting unrealistic expectations of how consumer lives should be.
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