Influencer fraud. Two words that have been a hot discussion point for some time now within the influencer marketing industry. We've known for some time that some influencers have been using bots and underhand techniques to drive fake engagement and grow fake followings which is threatening to ruin trust within the industry and damage the reputation of others who've spent years organically growing their platforms. We also know that some brands are now being hit too, with the reported cost of these fake profiles at £157 million (Cosmopolitan).
Here at TBP, we are aware this is happening and we take it very seriously. Despite the negativity around fake influencers online, there a huge amount of genuine content creators who have used their social media platforms and influence online and turned it into a full time career. These influencers have organically grown a loyal social media following who are engaged with their content and as a result, influence audience opinions. Jamie from @beautyrocksblog is an example of this, and mentioned that,
"it is really unfortunate to see fraud in this industry; influencers who have real numbers can seem to have lower engagement compared to those using bots. I would encourage brands to look deeper into those numbers and also at the comments of these followers i.e. is there an intent to purchase?"
Similarly, Lee from @daddownload highlighted,
"it is a shame that negativity is always news as opposed to something positive like how influencers are revolutionising the way marketing is done. How they are supporting brands and working with them to present their products to new markets in a personal and approachable way. How they engage and give brands feedback that would never be achievable through traditional marketing methods."
Despite the backlash of this fraudulent behaviour, small business owners and boutique brands are still seeing a huge benefit from social media, with their recognition online resulting in huge increases in sales. Summer Fridays became a best-selling skincare brand in just under 3 months, thanks to its popularity on Instagram. Within eight weeks of launching, Summer Fridays $48 'Jet Lag Mask' was outselling major brands such as La Mer and The Ordinary. Other examples include Prevu London, a unique mens clothing brand that, thanks to its presence on social media, has built a loyal customer base and is now stocked in retail stores such as Selfridges. Other success stories include Sophie and Hannah Pycroft, two sisters who saw a gap in the market for trend-led beauty tools. They started making makeup brushes in their garage, and thanks to social media marketing, turned their makeup brush brand, Spectrum Collections, into a 12 million pound business.
At TBP, we've seen many examples of brands that have had huge success and exploded on Instagram, generating millions of pounds of revenue and social engagements, thanks to the use of influencers. If you look at brands like Revolve, Missy Empire, Gymshark and Daniel Wellington, the majority of their content is user generated content created by influencers. Many influencers also use their platforms for incredible causes. Molly Gunn created The FMLY Store, a fundraising shop that has, over the years, raised 1 million pounds to good causes from her family designed t-shirts. Paul McGregor is another influencer who has used social media in a positive way to shed light on mental health and the stigma around suicide in young men. Finally, popular mummy blogger Anna Whitehouse, also known as @MotherPukka, uses her online platform to fight for flexible working in the UK, and creates conversation around this by using the hashtag #flexappeal.
So how do we solve this issue? If you are a brand asking the question,
"should I spend more on influencer marketing this year?"
Our answer is yes! After all, the global spend for influencer marketing is still set to increase from 1.5B to 7.5B by 2020, with 84% of marketers demonstrating how influencer marketing has been very effective. What has become more difficult however, is finding the authentic influencers among the fraudulent ones. This is where our technology and expertise comes in. At TBP, we have a thorough 8-step vetting process to ensure all the influencers we select and work with are authentic. Within our platform, you can discover influencers using our advanced filtering tools and also see a host of data such as audience locations, ages and genders as well as growth and engagement tracking, hashtag and brand mentions and of course engagement rates, among some other features. This allows you as the brand to really analyse any influencer in detail before you decide to collaborate. All this information is demonstrated in ourPlatform Video.
We also have a team of experts that are on hand to executive campaigns from start to finish; brainstorming ideas, creating briefs, sourcing the influencers and executing the content for you. Please feel free to get in touch with us today to help improve your marketing efforts in 2019.