Social Influencers are social media users who have a large social reach, and posess the ability to persuade their followers by virtue of their industry credibility. Up until now, it could be argued that social influencers are a brand’s best marketing tool, but this is beginning to change.
Customers are beginning to wise up to traditional social influencer marketing tactics and can spot insincerity and lack of authenticity a mile off. This is not helped by the lack of care and planning some influencers take when preparing content that will potentially reach millions of people. With this in mind, here are four times social influencers missed the mark.
Kim Kardashian West's Questionable Diet Tips
In 2018, arguably the world’s most famous influencer, Kim Kardashian West, gave a lesson on how not to use social influencer marketing.
The reality star chose to promote the alleged appetite suppressing ‘Flat Tummy lollipops’ with a 15% off code to her 111 million fans on Instagram. Many argued that selling these products to her fans, the majority of them young women, when she herself has a personal trainer, a private chef, and several nannies to watch her children while she trains, encouraged disordered eating.
With a net worth of over 85 million dollars, many wondered why she felt she had to promote such products. Others called out her lack of authenticity and double standards, as the post also goes directly against the personal brand Kardashian West has built for herself as a feminist in recent years.
One of the more entertaining ways social influencers miss the mark is simply by forgetting to remove messages written by their team. This often happens with celebrity influencers, who’s Instagram and Youtube content isn’t their full-time job. For example, in 2016, the band Little Mix posted a photo of their new perfume plastered on the side of a London cab.
However, one of the girls had forgotten to remove a note from their editor. When copied and pasted, ‘how’s this copy, Jade?’ was seen at the start of the caption. While instances of this kind can be humorous, this practice can destroy the trust between an influencer and their fans. It can, unfortunately, also have lasting repercussions for the whole industry.
This is not the first occasion this has happened in the world of social influencers. Just a few years prior, a member of the Kardashain clan, Scott Dissick, outed himself with a paste fail whilst promoting detox tea brand Bootea. Similarly, the blunder was well-publicized, and tarnished Dissick’s reputation as a reputable ambassador.
In 2017, family bakers Warburtons decided to run a Christmas campaign using the hashtag ‘#crumpetcreations’ to showcase recipes made by their followers using their products.
However, someone at Warburton failed to do their research as the world of Furries greeted those typing ‘#crumpetcreations’ into Instagram. Warburton had attempted to use the hashtag already belonging to Furries, a community of people who enjoy dressing up as cartoon animals.
This resulted in musician, writer, and influencer Tom Fletcher rather inappropriately using the hashtag to promote a partnership between the brand and his children’s book The Christmasaurus. This embarrassing mistake could have easily been avoided if just one person had bothered to check the use of the hashtag before the campaign was rolled out.
One of the worst cases of social influencers completely missing the mark is by Kendall Jenner, Emily Ratajkowski, and various other world-renowned models. The influencers were each paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote the now-infamous Fyre Festival in 2017.
The event, which was dubbed fraudulent for misleading ticket holders, ultimately sued Jenner, Ratajkowski, and many others for their part in promoting the festival on social media. Neither Jenner nor Ratajkowski disclosed on their Instagram posts that they were being paid to promote the event.
Yet again, this is an example of the power of influencer marketing. The promo for Fyre Festival featured some of the world’s most renowned models and influencers. However, they failed to take their roles seriously, and this had repercussions throughout the entire industry.
Both Jenner and Ratajkowski failed to adhere to the FTC sponsorship guidelines, and by promoting an event that never took place, people lost their faith in influencers to be authentic voices in a sea of overzealous advertising. The ordeal was so scandalous that Netflix picked up the story, and released a documentary that detailed the influencers’ shortcomings in the promotion of the festival.
It’s clear from these examples why customers are losing faith in social influencers to guide them on where to spend their hard-earned cash. Every time a social or celebrity influencer makes a mistake, the whole industry is affected, and brands are questioned about their authenticity.
It is because of such instances that marketers are looking to more reputable and authentic influencers, such as micro-influencers and employee influencers, to create content on behalf of their brand, and advocate for them online.
This is especially the case for employee influencers, who are considered to be the most reputable and authentic ambassadors for a brand. After all, the company they represent is much more to them than just a one-time payment.
As always, we’re eager to hear your thoughts, so feel free to leave a comment below! If you’d like to hear more about alternatives to social influencers, or book a demo for our employee influencer platform, simply click here.