Influencer Marketing Ethical or Deceitful?

In the past year the authorship of articles having to deal with influencer marketing has sky rocketed. As more comments, shares, & engagements arise one statement finds itself to be most popular. Should companies be utilizing influencer marketing or is the internet marketing tool/strategy unethical.  In order to answer such a loaded question, the influencer, the follower, & the company need to be examined closer.  In the past, “certain companies” have used “specific campaigns” utilizing marketing tools & strategies that may have been seen by some to be misleading. However, to assume a specific tool or strategy misleads a consumer 100% of the time, regardless the company or influencer involved, may be a bit inaccurate or skewed.

When critiquing an influencer, the question that comes up: If an influencer is 100% genuine about a topic or subject matter, does their message become less genuine once they receive payment or free product from a company that they’re posting, videoing, or blogging about. The answer is no. Influencers do not just pop up overnight. Specifically, micro influencers spend a lot of energy creating quality postings. With quality comes credibility, with credibility comes traffic, & with traffic comes a regular following.  This does not come from deception it comes from genuineness & authenticity. Most micro influencers understand, the moment regular followers detect that they are not being 100% genuine, a credibility loss then occurs. A decrease in credibility, correlates to a direct decrease in regular following.  The regular following of an influencer is the most important thing an influencer has. They would never purposely do something that would result in a loss of followers.  With that being said, majority of the time the amount of company products, services, & messages that a micro influencer turns down, is at a far higher percentage than, of the ones that an influencer actually takes on.  Macro influencers have a little more wiggle room because of the vast following they have. However, they still take into consideration what they choose to influence.

When critiquing a follower, the question that’s comes up: How much does a follower need to know to ensure the follower understands whom he or she is following.  The time someone spends on the internet is very precious and internet browsing is nothing new.  The follower completely understands whom they choose to follow is a decision made, 100% by themselves. If a follower is not sure about a specific topic or subject matter discussed by an influencer, they have the ability to engage with question or comment directly with the influencer, and/or share the influencers post with friends and family to get perspective on what is being stated or shown.  When it comes to minors on the internet public and private filters are used to ensure influencers that post about adult subject matters are not easily accessed.  Followers ultimately hold the control pertaining to influencers.  If a follower has an inkling that an influencer is being disingenuous they have the ability to call out the influencer publicly, privately, & stop following them.   

When critiquing a company, the question that’s comes up: How much does a company really care if an influencer is genuine or not, when writing a post, video, or blog.  They care greatly. Why; because, the amazing thing about influencer marketing, is if an influencer is not speaking genuinely about a product, service, or message, the tool/ strategy will not work.  If you have read any of the past articles written about influencer marketing pertaining to companies, you will always see the same comment quoted here, “If a company cannot see its product, service, or message genuinely being used, appreciated, or promoted by the influencer; Then the Influencer, most likely may not be the right match for the company.  Keep in mind the influencers following will see right through it, & the company will not get the ROI its looking for”.    It’s very simple the product, service, or message has no short cuts when it comes to influencer marketing.

Companies should be utilizing influencer marketing as a marketing tool or strategy. Not only should it be used, it should be encouraged. If anything, Influencer marketing is bringing additional ethics to the internet, and we should embrace the tool & strategy, and build off of it.   

 

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