Influencer Marketing Has Been Around for Centuries - But Is There Enough Transparency Today?

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According to Forbes, influencer marketing has been around a lot longer than social media - but is this actually even marketing, or is it plain old advertising by paid actors - and is there enough transparency?

Lon Safko is the author of The Social Media Bible:

"Since the beginning of social media more than a decade ago, 'Mommy Bloggers' were the most influential communicators on the Internet. So much so, the FTC had to create a Mommy-Blogger law enacted in 2012 that stated any blogger receiving any form of compensation from a company of which the blogger is giving their review has to state that clearly in the first line of their blog. It was all too often that a Mommy-Blogger would talk about how wonderful a particular brand of disposable diaper was only to have Proctor & Gamble pull up to their house the following day with a semi-tractor full of free disposable diapers. This law only applies to bloggers, not Facebook influencers or Instagram, or Twitter, or TicTok influencers," added Safko. "No such laws are provided by the FTC or the FCC to protect us from other influences who are sponsored, or worse, mainstream media news outlets that are generating revenue from sponsors and owner personal views and agendas."
Spotlight on Influencers

Lawrence Parnell is an associate professor and director of the Strategic Public Relations program at The Graduate School of Political Management at The George Washington University:

"With so many people, young adults in particular, getting information online - the role of 'influencers' in promoting brands as well as new products and services deserves close attention. While the FTC guidelines are clear enough, they appear to fall short on enforcement - placing the bulk of the responsibility on the influencer to disclose a commercial relationship via a hashtag (e.g. #sponsored) or identifying themselves as an 'Ambassador' for example."
Financial Disclosure

James R. Bailey is professor of leadership at the George Washington University School of Business:

"Financial-conflict disclosure has taken a beating in recent years. We as a society and many of our leaders have put a distance between what we do and how we are compensated for our work. There is little understanding of the importance of acknowledging financial connections between influencers and the products they promote, or even discuss."
Gaps can turn into chasms on social media

Bailey also reckons:

"Because of its ephemeral nature, social media can have a powerful but fleeting influence, and is often not taken as seriously as it should be," he added. The immediacy of social media makes it rich ground for conflicts and deceptive practices. Endorsement guides like the one produced by the FTC bring front and center the importance of transparency. Social media influencers have a platform to inform but a duty not to deceive their audiences. Clarity about brand relationships and conflicts ensures the public knows 'the what' and 'the why' of an endorsement."
So, why should consumers expect that influencers are really behind those products?

Parnell says:

"The sad truth is consumers don't give them any more attention than the required legal disclosures delivered in small type or by a fast talker' in car or finance ads," suggested Parnell. "Almost everyone overlooks these and focuses on the glamorous and exciting material presented by the celebrity or 'lifestyle expert."
Safko says:

"I am always amazed that millions of followers will believe and follow the advice from a pop, country, or rap singer with absolutely no qualifications whatsoever, just because they had a hit song. This is now more than fake news and biased reporting. This is a serious lack of credible, truthful, and unbiased source of information."
Parnell adds:

"Brands that want to be seen as authentic and transparent would be well advised to be more upfront in identifying relationships with influencers so current and prospective customers can make an informed decision."
#– #centuries #influencer #longer #marketing #media #social
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  • Profile picture of the author CraigM123
    Everything we watch and listen to these days is advertising a product, its allmost like the movie "The Truman Show", Signers sing about product and have them in their video clips and movies just conveniently place items so the camera picks it up. Its just plain old paid advertising with lack of transparency.
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  • Profile picture of the author Profit Traveler
    It is all about the numbers. The advertisers and sponsors can smell that aroma miles away.

    Wonder how many influencers total will not be with us in 2021 over a Selfie picture.


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