The influencer tsunami has reached worrying heights. Washing away the innocent onlookers in the hunt for a quick quid.
You’d be amiss to question the influence of influencers. They’ve literally taken over social media. Flooding Instagram, Facebook and Twitter with “honest” recommendations of the latest slimming shakes, curve caressing clothes and even medical marvels! Yes, you did read that right. Social media influencers are being paid to review medicinal products to their unfiltered followers.
The ASA have had a long-standing guideline that prevents celebrities from endorsing medical products, but some marketers have been circumventing this through the use of influencers. Sanofi, manufacturers of a sleeping tablet, paid ThisMamaLife for an Instagram promotion to her 32,000 followers.
This caused the ASA to weigh in on whether an influencer counts as a celebrity, and a recent ruling has stated that anyone with over 30,000 followers should be considered a celebrity. What impact this will have outside of the medical industry remains to be seen.
With influencers seemingly just after a quick quid, marketers are finding themselves back in the wild west, with some asking when the bubble is going to burst.
Prof. Mark Ritson argues that it’s almost impossible to tell how many of the followers are real and not paid for, and if any of the real followers even trust the influencer enough to be influenced by them.
To top it off, brands have such little control over the lifestyle of the Influencer. Disney are starting to get a bit of a track record for dropping sponsorship of influencers who have gone on to create anti-Semitic and culturally insensitive content. It raises the question, why put your brand in the hands of someone else?
The truth is; working with social media influencers can be beneficial to some businesses if carried out correctly. However, it is still notoriously difficult to qualify the benefits of it as a marketing activity in the long term.
One Los Angeles ice cream seller has made his mind up about perceived power of the influencer generation.
Joe Nicchi went viral after posting a sign that said, “influencers pay double”, writing on Instagram that he would “never give you a free ice-cream in exchange for a post”.
Speaking to The Guardian, Joe said;
“We’re the anti-influencer influencers. It’s weird… but I think it’s really fun. I hope it inspires small businesses to hold their own and tell people to **** off.”
Co-written by Steven Dumbleton & Matthew Simpson-Dunn