Influencers have a significant impact on the success of a brand. When influencer campaigns are well-planned, they can generate substantial publicity.
Consumers tend to associate their feelings towards influencers with the brand they are promoting, such as trust, excitement, or relatability. As a result, influencer marketing has become increasingly popular in social media marketing.
With the evolution of social media, the relationship between influencers and consumers is also changing. The effectiveness and reliability of influencers are no longer taken for granted, and consumers now have higher expectations from these social media personalities. Despite these changes, influencer marketing remains a valuable tool for brands but is undergoing significant transformation.
A Cultural Reset
It shouldn't be a surprise that our relationships with influencers are morphing. The signs are everywhere.
Posts highlighting the (often stark) difference between social media content and the reality of creating it have been popular for years.
Last year, BeReal burst onto the scene, emphasizing unedited and uncurated social sharing.
On TikTok, #deinfluencing, or posting about how a product isn't worth the hype, is taking off with more than 500 million views.
Interactions between audiences and influencers are transactional by definition.
The influencer creates content with the express goal of eventually monetizing their viewers.
The audience demands entertainment and intimacy in exchange for their attention.
It's a mutually beneficial dynamic, but now consumers are much more cognizant of the mechanics of the deal. Realizing that someone is profiting from their parasocial relationship can feel uncomfortable.
When the underlying implications of their relationship rise to the surface, tension is inevitable.
For example, an influencer may make a video venting about the demands of content creation. Their complaints remind their audience that the content isn't a favor between friends. Instead, it's an economic arrangement.
In other situations, consumers might be unsatisfied with a product recommended by an influencer. The disappointment is a reminder that the influencer's primary goal is to sell, not to suggest things they think their friends will like.
Alessandro Bogliari, CEO and Co-Founder of The Influencer Marketing Factory, agrees, "Consumers have less spending power right now, and they're purchasing selectively and carefully. The trust factor is so much more important for influencers."
Misalignment and mistrust
Defining what it means to be an influencer is still a work in progress. However, brands and marketers are familiar with endorsement expectations when partnering with celebrities or influencers on social media platforms like TikTok.
The process involves finding a partner whose values align with yours, working together on a simple message to achieve your goals, and structuring the agreement accordingly.
While the scale and speed have changed, the concept remains the same.
On the influencer side, things could be more precise. For example, there is no industry standard for how many products they should endorse. Also, unlike celebrities, they may not have other income streams.
Balancing publicity and integrity can be tricky, as social media demands speed and sometimes leaves little time for extended product testing before advertising. However, influencers who carefully choose their brand partners and conduct due diligence can protect their relationships with their audiences and position themselves as valuable collaborators.
According to Iva Mihovska, Senior Client Director at The Influencer Marketing Factory, savvy influencers can use this landscape to their advantage.
While it's obvious when an influencer is simply reciting a script for a paycheck, those who are careful with their recommendations and honest with their audiences benefit the most.
I have been influenced.
Social media has become a cultural phenomenon in today's constantly changing culture. As a result, consumers are adapting their approach to influencer relationships.
However, they do not need to abandon the ship. According to the IZEA Insights Trust in Influencer Marketing report, over half (62%) of consumers trust influencers more than A-list celebrities.
Additionally, 56% of consumers between the ages of 18-44 have purchased after seeing a product featured by an influencer.
Consumers recognize the value of influencers, but instead of blindly following their recommendations, they take an active role in the relationship and make their own decisions.
What about the future of influencer marketing?
Consumer attitudes toward influencers are evolving, but this is not necessarily bad.
In fact, audiences are becoming more discerning and engaged in their relationships with influencers.
Marketers need to listen to consumers, choose the right influencers, and adapt to changing trends to succeed in this space.
Additionally, pay attention to the potential benefits of influencer partnerships beyond just marketing campaigns. Discover how these collaborations can help improve your business's products.