For this one, Natalie is putting on her detective hat, doing her best Sherlock Holmes impression and trying to pin-down what we can do in the PR industry to ensure brilliant strategies aren’t comprised by influencer issues. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you...Natalie Clarke!
The land of bloggers, vloggers, Instagrammers, Snapchaters has exploded in the last few years, but with great content and partnership opportunities comes great responsibility.
For just a small fee these days, any social media user can purchase thousands of followers and even engagement with their posts, creating an inauthentic fan base that allows people to position themselves as having 'influencer' status.
There are certain tell-tale signs such as spikes in followers, a skewed engagement ratio and a host of unrelated comments on posts. These can be initial indicators that something is a bit fishy. Some recent studies have exposed the extent of the problem, creating fake Instagram accounts to show how brands are tricked into sponsorship deals.
Why is this problematic, I hear you ask? (go with it..) The raw data of numbers of followers, likes and engagement become inadequate metrics for a good investment. Naturally, the size of an influencer’s following is important, but it’s equally important that the following is authentic and comprised of a target audience that reflects who the brand is trying to speak to.
So what can we do? From a PR standpoint, education is key. Digging a little deeper into those potential partnerships means we can get the best fit and make sure we’re not duped by fake followings #FakeNews.
We can help brands use effective outreach tactics and vetting processes to choose the best influencer fit for their brand so they stand a greater chance of building authentic relationships and reaching relevant audiences.
The influencer-meets-brand dynamic is managed best by a third party well-positioned to help build trust, nurture relationships and tell an engaging story. Now, I'm not saying it should necessarily be Clearbox, but carrying out effective vetting processes and checking out the authenticity of influencer engagement, is a time-consuming, yet crucial task.
Like anything else, the world of influencer marketing isn’t without issues, from micro- influencers to macro-influencers, the landscape is constantly in flux. But as a creative PR agency it’s our job to make sure we’re building valuable partnerships - we’ll do the detective work so you don’t have to!