Many Instagram influencers feel the pressure to stand out, making more elaborate posts and this raises the question; are influencers losing authenticity? Our very own director Nigel Stickland explains all.
Everyone wants to share their most positive self on social media, especially on Instagram. As users, we often ask ourselves and others the popular phrase ‘Is this Instagram-worthy?’ How can you measure worth within Instagram? Well, it’s how many likes you get and as human nature dictates, we want as many likes as possible. The positive response makes us feel happy, special and boosts self-confidence, so we replicate this over and over again. It’s become ingrained in us that we must post the best representation of ourselves online; no one wants to see something that is not inspirational or reminds them of reality. But what happens when the effort becomes work and becomes staged? A new wave of users turned influencers are making Instagram a full-time job. Many influencers feel the pressure to stand out, making more elaborate posts and this raises the question; are influencers losing authenticity?
A new popular hashtag movement on Instagram called ‘Instasham’ puts together the site’s name and sham, to show the Instagram staged picture versus the reality. These pictures normally contrast one another and shows a life that everyone can relate to. But which gains more followers and garners more likes; truth or aspiration?
Instagram has created new legislation which says that if a post or Instagram story contains a paid advertisement, meaning an influencer has been paid to promote products, it must be disclosed in the caption and story to create transparency between the promoter and audience. However, now that audiences can see if a post includes a paid promotion, some followers are starting to distance themselves from the influencers that can be seen as ‘sell-outs’, and thus non-authentic.
As authenticity is becoming a commodity, many influencers are offering their followers behind the scenes peaks at collaborations or first-time unboxings to create the illusion of truth, thus gaining the trust and some authenticity back.
Influencers are always keen to keep their metrics in the green, constantly growing and gaining attention from businesses big and small. Some influencers have been exposed buying their followers on sites, the size of followers can range from 1,000 to 10,000 at a time for a price. This ups their following size to create the illusion that they have gained followers authentically. Many multi-million-pound companies see influencer marketing as the future and are taking advantage of this cultural boom by working with them thinking they have the attention of all these followers and hoping they’ll turn them into consumers.
But what if an Influencer you’re working with has taken the route of buying followers? Would you be less inclined to work with them? The massive corporation Unilever is cracking down follower fraud by not working with influencers who have bought followers. This is to uphold Unilever’s credibility, authenticity within brand management and is a fantastic example of showing how bigger businesses should go forward when it comes to influencer marketing.
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