How Two-Way Conversations Can Fix the Influencer Marketing Backlash

How Two-Way Conversations Can Fix the Influencer Marketing Backlash

It’s not just the ill-fated festival that’s stoking the backlash. If anything, the overwhelming demand that the Fyre Festival got speaks to the power and effectiveness of influencers. Given the huge potential of influencer marketing to help companies reach the right audience, marketers and consumers must work together to fix the reputation of this practice. For influencers, embracing transparency is key. For example, many influencers don’t really know why people are following them. It’s easy to see which posts get the most likes, but it’s not always clear why some content does better than others. Influencers already have a captive audience -- they should leverage this community to understand what resonates with people and why. Imagine having real data on the interests, demographics and attitudes of your followers. Re-imagining influencer marketing. But ultimately there’s a real opportunity here to re-imagine the brand-influencer relationship.

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How Two-Way Conversations Can Fix the Influencer Marketing Backlash

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Thanks in part to the recently released Fyre Festival documentary on Netflix, influencer marketing is now under a microscope. More than ever before, companies, regulators and consumers are all bringing up concerns about the use of influencers to build awareness for brands. Many people believe that the influencers involved with Fyre should be held accountable for helping market what ultimately became a failed event.

It’s not just the ill-fated festival that’s stoking the backlash. At last year’s Cannes Lions Festival, some prominent industry leaders were already raising red flags about influencers. Unilever CMO Keith Weed called for more transparency, saying that his company will do its best to avoid working with influencers who buy followers. Another senior marketer, HP’s Dan Salzman, said the backlash was “a natural shaking out.”

Influencer marketing may be experiencing a bumpy ride, but it’s wrong to think this space is dying. If anything, the overwhelming demand that the Fyre Festival got speaks to the power and effectiveness of influencers. One 2018 report from the social analytics company Shareablee found that one in three consumers trust an influencer’s words over what a brand says. Another study from our sister company, Reach3 Insights, found that Gen Z consumers think online personalities are just as influential as mainstream actors and music stars.

Collaborating to improve transparency and effectiveness.

Given the huge potential of influencer marketing to help companies reach the right audience, marketers and consumers must work together to fix the reputation of this practice. For influencers, embracing transparency is key. It should be clear from the audience’s perspective if a piece of content is a product of paid partnerships. This should be a no-brainer.

But the bigger opportunity for influencers at…

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