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Influencing Authentically on Social Platforms

June 29, 2022

While it shouldn’t be unfamiliar to anyone using social media these days, there is one form of advertising that has changed the industry landscape. Influencer Marketing. By taking the form of a “word of mouth” approach in marketing, influencers intend to sell products by way of making recommendations to their followers. For the consumer, it shapes up to be something like taking advice or product ideas from what feels like a close friend.  

Trends have shown that the upcoming generation isn’t responding to produced content in forms of commercials and traditionally styled ads. Instead, brands are seeing higher responses from content that is authentic and sincere. Even a recent Martin Group intern told our team, “If it looks like an ad, I’m not clicking on it.”  

Through influencer marketing, consumers get to see their favorite people to follow using products and giving their honest reviews. In turn, influencers gain trust from their audiences by not only promoting brands, but by promoting a type of transparency by sharing their personal lives in social spheres. Most influencers are posting stories every day that contain a look into their homes, families, and thoughts. This approach allows consumers to get to know their salesperson and become part of their community, thus trusting what they have to say and creating a foundation for small online communities. 

As influencer marketing has evolved as a piece of the greater advertising industry, influencers quickly realized that the way to grow their business was to gain more followers and create their own personal brands that followers turn to for inspiration. They then leverage their audiences as opportunities to negotiate brand deals with advertisers nationwide.  

Through these brand deals, most influencers have seen the highest success through a perfectly curated feed where everything is ascetically pleasing, and nothing is “off-brand.” This leads to heavily edited images and highly curated content which can be appealing to brands when looking for influencers to work with. However, recent reports have shown that consumer mind sets are shifting back towards sincerity and want to see true authenticity. What does this mean for the influencers? Drop the editing. Drop the filters. And definitely drop anything that you don’t believe in. 

Unfortunately, the overedited, perfectly-curated posts and partnerships have created a culture online that is toxic for social media users. Users are finding that their mental health is being affected due to the comparison culture that influencers have fabricated through their feeds. The idea that every image posted has to be perfect and look a certain way has had drastic effects on users’ mental health.  

Ogilvy UK recently came out and said that starting in 2023 they will no longer work with influencers who retouch their skin or bodies. This is a major step for this company and is expected to have ripple effects industry-wide, encouraging others to follow suit.  

By doing this Ogilvy is going back to the roots of influencer marketing and is enforcing a standard for influencers to share their authentic selves.   

Ogilvy’s concept is expected to help with the negative mental health that accompanies over-edited posts. Social Media users should be able to scroll through their feed and see that the influencers they follow are just like themselves and not see the inauthentic version promoting unrealistic expectations of how consumer lives should be.   

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