Bridging the mistrust gap: How to future-proof your brand despite social media influencer scrutiny

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Social media influencers have become increasingly popular in advocating for brands’ ‘best self’ image, creating an idealised reality behind businesses’ values, philosophy and vision.

Social commerce can work for almost every merchant, but certain products have a social commercepropensity to perform better than others. The ethos of social media is to promote a laudable version of life reflected with a brand’s offering,” says William Gasner, chief marketing officer of an Amazon influencer marketing agency, Stack Influence.

The raison d’être of a social media influencer is to get consumers buzzing about your products. Social promotions are an amplification of word of mouth marketing, which turbocharges $6 trillion of annual consumer spending, estimating to account for 13% of consumer sales, according to the Word of Mouth Marketing Association. That’s a significant revenue boost many aren’t willing to say no to.

Meanwhile, Amazon are currently providing social influencers with special promotional pages to up-sell products they promote and earn affiliate commissions of sales they facilitate through their “Amazon Influencer program”.

Amazon’s marketplace counterpart, Walmart have takes this modus operandi one step further in their efforts to differentiate and compete against Amazon. Last June, Walmart.com started integrating influencer posts into product listings.

It is just the beginning of these marketplaces catering to social influencers and incorporating social shopping experiences into their platforms.”

However, the scrutiny towards paid-for-posts advertised by ‘brands gurus’ are raising many questions over the authenticity of the influencers’ practices; are social media influencers genuine brand ambassadors or is it the case of ‘do a review, get a freebie’ operating model? Can I trust an influencer review and recommendations – especially when the brand-social media influencer partnership seems like a poor fit?

William says the key to tackling consumer mistrust is to “target highly niche influencers who are able to authentically integrate products into their posts, making a promotion look natural and not like an advertisement. The best type of influencer to accomplish this aspiration is Micro-Influencers or social media users with following bases between 1,000 and 50,000.”

Micro-Influencers cater their social posts to extremely targeted and trusted audiences while also usually focusing on very specific subjects. This amalgamation of attributes is an exemplary social representative for product promotion since brands can narrow their audience demographic, geographic and psychographic targets, incorporate their product promotions in a genuine way, all while doing so in a relatively inexpensive manner a many Micro-Influencers will promote products in exchange for just the product itself without any monetary incentives.

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