paid online influencers you are probably aware of one of the biggest risk factors in the technique: the fraud of influence – a dilemma that occurs when their application rates to engage their audience on behalf of a brand.
What was once an isolated trend has exploded in recent years, to such an extent that the digital landscape is getting rid of all this false activity. To put the scale of the problem into perspective, up to 20% of middle-level influencer followers are likely to be fraudulent, according to a North Points Group study .
Regardless of whether an influential partner intentionally participates in fraudulent practices or that he or she is unwittingly victimized by a third party effort to operate the system, the cost for your business – and its content – remains the same: The favor of curry with false followers.
And even if do not pay popular social stars to stimulate interest and increase reach, your content marketing activities may not be immune from fraud and other marketing pitfalls. see recent news.
Social Media Rejection
The sheer scale of the hidden side of social media sends shock waves into the digital landscape – starting with the social networks themselves.
For example, a New York Times survey recently revealed that 15% of Twitter users were probably automated accounts designed to simulate real people. Twitter reacted by launching into the "Great Purge of 2018", eliminating millions of blocked accounts, which increased the chances of being fake. According to several sources, including Variety purging Twitter has resulted in a significant drop in the number of followers for some of the most powerful influencers of the platform, including about 7.5 million on his @Twitter account.
Economics of trickle-down marketing
Many consumers felt cheated by their favorite social networks, including the Facebook, Facebook leader, knowing that their trust in influencers' recommendations could be misplaced. When news of Facebook's bot problem surfaced, it seemed likely that eroded trust would drive the despised users off the site. TechCrunch and MarketWatch reported that growth and engagement decreased by contributing to Facebook's recent drop in market capitalization of $ 123 billion, more than most startups and public companies.
Consider: For content marketers, reducing subscribers on your brand's social profiles due to erased accounts or massive exodus from the social channel can represent millions advertising expenses. CMI's founder, Joe Pulizzi, highlighted the fragile nature of marketing on "rented" social media lands by invoking the likelihood that these chains will change their rules The possibility that your brand may be unintentionally made In the trap of the robot spammers war is another reason to follow his advice and focus on developing your audience on the channels you own and control entirely.
Can brands tackle the downstream problem?
If consumer confidence in social media remains in free fall, will the rest of the marketing economy be dragged down? Not if companies like Unilever have a say. As reported in the Wall Street Journal, the consumer goods giant, which spent more than $ 9 billion to market its brands last year, seeks to fight fraud by banning influencers who pay for their subscribers or use other deceptive means. . Keith Weed, Marketing Manager at Unilever, expressed his willingness to improve social marketing reform and call for increased measurement and monitoring to address these issues.
And speaking of weeds …
Although not an act of fraud, another recent article on influencer marketing partnerships is written in a risky way: Digiday recently reported that cannabis companies were hiring influencers to attract new customers. recreational use is legal. These efforts go against the bans established against the industry by Facebook and other social platforms. For example, MedMen uses micro-influencers from the Los Angeles area as part of a $ 4 million campaign to promote its outlets in high-end commercial areas.
Up to now, most influencers seem reluctant to risk the potential repercussions on social media and laws arising from the approval of a product banned federally in the United States. But this can change as the cannabis industry continues its quest for full legalization and increased legitimization.
Consider: Even though the influencers of your designated brand are not tempted to work with risky companies like MedMen, that does not mean that they're not engaging in d & # 39; other activities personal trends or conflicting relationships with customers who might come back to haunt your brand if they are revealed. To minimize the risk of unpleasant surprises, look for influencers whose social personalities strongly match your content strategy and mission statement and make sure you go beyond could offer your mark.
Battle Bots with Robots
If you can not solve the problem of the bot-follower, why not adopt the technology that allows it? This is a question some brands are asking because the ability to use virtual influencers – online personalities that are fully imagined and programmed to interact as a real person would – is taking shape. As Adweek recently pointed out, working with these artificial intelligence-based accounts eliminates the threat of a dishonest spokesperson while harnessing the massive and committed audience of these mecha-marketers. Although intellectual property, moral clauses (covering the creator, not the actions of the bot itself) and the ability to sustain a long-term commitment are among the potential commercial and legal pitfalls, it is not an exaggeration to believe that Δ-π "- could one day be considered as a safer alternative to working with the PewDiePies of the social world.
How to spot fraud
In a world where machines can simulate human emotions, tweets of politicians are lacking, and a pug well dressed can earn thousands of dollars by Instagram, how to say which influencers offer a commitment Authentic and what are the flashy frauds?
MarketingProfs recently addressed this issue with a list of clues that can help marketers to discern the methodology and underlying mechanisms used by an influencer to determine its authenticity and value.
Conclusion of content
The power and popularity of social media allows virtually everyone to become a public figure, to grow and to be an argument for your brand and its content. But if you want to tap into the influencer fan pool, you need to make sure that what they have to offer is more than a superficial mirage.
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Cover by Joseph Kalinowski / Content Marketing Institute