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Brands and social media are now allies. But with them, false influencers have come to harm the business model
In recent years, the creation of content for social media has become a business, giving rise to a new -and exhaustive- work: influencer. This word means, among other things, exposure to public life by different social media, especially Instagram.
Leer en español: Falsos influenciadores: la pesadilla del influencer marketing
The influencer marketing (IM) is based, mainly, on the relationship of the brands with the influencers. With this, the advertising business is constantly searching for these influencers, because their followers end up being the consumers of the content.
That is why the audience ends up playing a leading role in this new business model. The IM has been so effective in advertising that some brands, such as Adidas, have decided to put aside their ATL advertising (for example, TV commercials, advertisements, etc.) and change it for advertising with the influencers. The scope has been such that, currently the fashion catwalks have in the first row the most successful influencers.
Many celebrities, if not all, are influencing. However, being an influencer is not an exclusive work for famous people. In fact, most of the influencers are common people, precisely to create a connection with their followers making the advertising effective. So, the brand searches for people in which the audience will be reflected, bringing closer the product to the audience.
Being such a recent business model, there are often doubts about its success. How can they win only with the publication of a photo? How do brands benefit from this?
Asri Bendacha, a director and film writer, asked the same questions, which he solved in a documentary released in 2017 called Follow Me. There, he tries to become an influencer getting followers in all possible ways and tries to earn money. At the same time, it seeks to understand why people end up turning celebrities into others.
What is the problem?
Searching for followers is a struggle, and it ends up being a vicious circle: the better content you create, the more followers you get, and if you have followers, the brands will pay you and, therefore, you will have better content.
According to a digital marketing expert quoted by Bendacha in the documentary: "Brands have always worked in the same way, they put their money where the audiences are".
That desire for fame that nourishes the influencer marketing has created companies and applications that sell followers. This means that any person is allowed to buy followers even if they are real or false. New followers help to bring more likes, comments, and activity on their social media. Since, the more they have, the more attention they will bring and they will be more desired for brands.
However, this is something that Instagram, which is the social media par excellence of the IM, is trying to prevent. Purchasing followers precisely end the dynamics of this business model because the brands would be reaching less audience.
Mexican Fake Blogger is an Instagram account that was born in early 2018 to show that some influencers in Mexico cheated to inflate their numbers. Later, and although they are not an influencer marketing company, they published an e-book where they teach what this new business model is, as well as the importance of creating authentic content, and how to avoid being scammed by those who buy followers.
Mexican Fake Blogger told exclusively to LatinAmerican Post that from the e-book and their Instagram account they:
"Educate both brands and users about the influencer marketing industry and its good practices, as well as inform them of the frauds that are made by these people who claim to have influence when in fact they are nothing more than scammers who steal money and products from brands that do not have as much preparation in marketing issues".
That is why in today's world, full of communicational exchange, influencers of all topics and diverse content, both brands and audiences must know who to hire and whom to follow, without being tempted by high numbers of followers that, in many cases, turn out to be false.
Mexican Fake Blogger highlights several of the signs in the search for false influencers:
1. Interaction: the 'engagement rate' supposes a relation between the numbers of followers, with the interaction in the publications. The more distant the relationship is, the more likely it is to have false followers.
2. Contests: the contests and dynamics to give away prizes seek only to maintain an audience so that it interacts with the account but that, in fact, does not consume the content.
3. Followers: there are suspicious accounts with unreal name, without activity. Those are ghost accounts created just to be false followers.
4. Time: becoming an influencer is a matter that takes a long time. The accounts that grow exponentially without having a wide background are most likely to buy followers.
LatinAmerican Post | Juliana Suárez
Translated from: 'Falsos influenciadores: la pesadilla del influencer marketing'