Why are Influencers so Hard to Trust

According to the Oxford Online Dictionary, an Influencer is "A person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the items on social media". 
However, if this is the definition of an influencer why is it so hard for the consumer to trust them? This topic has been on my mind for a very long time and I think I finally got my ideas clear enough to write this blog post. In a world where anyone with a smartphone is able to become an influencer, is easy to fall into the trap of losing credibility in order to make more money. 

For example, if I see 10 different girls posting similar pictures with similar captions promoting the exact same product in a way that we can almost see that their text and picture style was a copy paste from one another I automatically lose interest in them as influencers, it makes it 10 times harder for me to buy said product because I feel like all the opinions we find online ware made by the brand, instead of being thoughtful and honest reviews that would help their followers make a decision. I truly believe that for a person to be called an influencer said person has to be able to influence someone, however by following this copy paste, no creativity, give me the money mentality the only thing that they will achieve is to screw it up, not only for them but for everyone else who works hard, has some good ethical values and whose goal is not to sell stuff but to simply share their passions with their followers.

So how do we chose who can we trust? Well, in my opinion there a few things that really can help. Firstly be sure that you are being informed when a piece of content was paid for. Any social media post you see with the #AD indicates that the content was sponsored by a brand and that the person behind the page is being paid to share said post with their followers, this applies to everyone from Kim Kardashian to any person with 100 followers if there is an #AD the content was paid. This may be taken from different approaches, but when I see someone being totally opened about the content that they are creating, the PR they are receiving and when you can see that they put the exact same amount of work and honesty in an #AD that they do in all their other posts, I am 100% more likely to trust them, their opinions and their recommendations.

Influencers marketing is something that has grown a lot in the last couple of years, because this type of advertisement is a lot closure to the consumer, and the person who is advertising plays both roles in their lives. They are both the consumers and the advertisers, they try other products for other brands and share that experience with the public. They are real human beings with real opinions, that they normally share.
This type of advertisement is not supposed to be scripted, like a TV AD campaign, it's supposed to be as real as all the content the person shares and that is why it works. When brands start to control content produced by influencers the trust is broken, the public suspects that something has been scripted and I normally unfollow the person immediately. Instagram has already enough ADs that I didn't ask to see as it is.

Anyway, I feel like if we keep our eyes opened and if we are truly aware of who we follow this won't be a problem. If we built a relationship with the person who is creating content we can easily see if something changed because we get used to their approach to all different topics. If we get a wrong vibe from a post, well 99% it's for a reason. I by no means am trying to attack bloggers, Instagrammers, YouTubers and content creators in general by writing this post. I just want to share my thoughts, all content creation careers are built based its trust. Most of us work our asses off to be able to get deals with brands, but we need to ask ourselves if selling out our integrity is worth it for a couple of bucks and if the answer to that question is yes, I guarantee, you are doing it for the wrong motives.

Photography: João Machado 
Location: Quinta do Lago, Algarve, Portugal

No comments