The influencer revolution has brought about many great opportunities for small and large brands to reach their consumers. However, the rise of influencer marketing has been accompanied by a rise in ‘influencer fraud’. This has inevitably tainted the reputation of influencer marketing, making the relationship between marketers and influencers more fragile than ever.
Creating awareness for your brand in today’s hyper-competitive climate has been the driver of influencer marketing. Businesses are constantly trying to find new ways to try and appeal to the ever-growing market of consumers that uses social media of a daily basis.
Brands have taken advantage of influencers and their loyal following to promote their products in a non-aggressive and relatable way. Influencers low cost per engagement is a great appeal to many growing businesses who can’t afford the costly traditional advertisement campaigns.
With the influencer marketing industry predicted to be worth over $1 billion, many people are wanting to take a slice of the cake. Many pretenders are willing to take extensive measures to be included in the growing market, including buying fake followers, likes and comments.
This is not going unnoticed with CMO of Unilever, Keith Weed stating that influencer marketing needs a ‘clean-up’. Coming in to 2019 there are several ways that influencer fraud can be tackled.
Buckling Down on the Analytics
Even though placing all the focus on an influencers’ analytics is one of the things that has spurred influencer fraud, strict influencer vetting remains vital. Evaluating influencers manually is the most effective way of spotting fraud.
This involves looking for suspicious activity and can include:
- Engagement to follower ratio – If there is a large difference between the number of followers and the number of likes this may indicate purchased followers
- Hashtag use – Watch out for hashtags such as #likeforlike as they may attract unrelated engagement
- Spikes in number of following – Unexplained follower growth can be indicative of bought followers
- Excessively high or low engagement rates – Just like a spike in followers, a spike in engagement can be a cause for suspicion
- Content quality and frequency – Creating good quality content over time is something that can’t be faked, if the frequency/quality of posts doesn’t add up with the engagement it could be a red flag
In an attempt to reduce the incidences of influencer fraud Instagram has moderated its users several times in attempt to reduce inauthentic activity. However not all their algorithm changes have been well received, with many influencers complaining that their content no longer shows up on their followers’ news feed until days after posting.
Having a technology service that assists in vetting influencers is now being employed by many companies. Here at Swayy we ensure hotel managers peace of mind, by vetting all of our influencers before they are allowed to work at your property.
Creating Meaningful Relationships
When working with an influencer, it’s important that it is in fact a collaborative process. Influencers should not be treated as an ad-space that needs to reach a certain statistic to fulfil your needs as a brand. In cases where companies request specific amounts of followers before they pay you for a post, influencers may feel compelled to act fraudulently.
Instead, it is so much more effective to instil authenticity in your influencer collaborations. Giving the individual free rein on the way they promote your product or service is a great way to portray your brand in an organic and appealing manner.
It becomes very apparent when a brand and an influencer share a good work relationship as the influencer will want to promote you in an effortless way. An audience can perceive forced advertisement very quickly, and they are not afraid to call people out for it. It is therefore in the best interest of both brand and influencer to be authentic.
Focus on Micro-influencers
When focusing on authenticity, micro influencers are a great target. Smaller influencers are overlooked many times due to their reduced reach, however micro influencers with 1000 -5000 followers have been shown to have the highest engagement with their followers.
Working with micro influencers has many benefits. They have a more targeted audience, which increases their credibility when it comes to promoting products. They also have greater authenticity as they tend to be individuals who don’t earn a living from social media. They can therefore be more selective and only work with brands that they really love.
To find out more about why micro influencers are the future of social media marketing, check out our blog post here!