Influencers vs. Brands: Who’s Really Running the Show?
In recent months, there’s been a great deal of debate over the amount of influence an influencer should truly have over a material, product, or brand. Believe it or not, half of the companies polled recently admitted that they wanted full control over an influencer’s marketing posts. Is this the right thing to do?
What Is an Influencer?
A social media influencer is someone who has established a presence and a following on one or more platforms based on his or her reputation and credibility in a specific industry. These individuals have large audiences and can usually persuade people to make purchasing decisions with authentic reviews and opinions. Over the last few years, influencers have become an incredibly important marketing tool for even some of the world’s biggest and most well-known brands. Today, many marketers pay influencers to show off products on posts or videos; others simply provide the products for free in exchange for the influencer’s review.
There’s a Disconnect
In the recent report, which polled more than 4000 consumers, marketing companies, and influencers throughout the US, UK, and Germany, Takumi, which is an influencer marketing platform itself, found that there’s a pretty serious disconnect between influencer and marketer trust. While some 86% of the marketers included in the poll said that they trusted in the influencers who marketed their brands, the influencers themselves are facing a great deal of scrutiny from the brands that are supposed to trust them.
How Brands View Influencers’ Posts
Two out of every five marketers polled in US and UK said they viewed influencers’ posts no differently than any other advertisement and wanted full control over them. In Germany, that number was even higher at 55%. Despite this, influencers continue to maintain that they want to keep creative control over their posts because these are the hallmarks of their brands. After all, influencers must be engaging, or people simply won’t care enough to follow them. Thus, it seems that the biggest fight is for creative control.
How the Relationship Should Work
The trouble with the relationships between influencers and brands is that it’s difficult to find a healthy middle ground that allows both the brand and the influencer to enjoy their own unique method of creative control. Ultimately, both should have some control over the content that the influencer posts – particularly if that content is being sponsored or paid for by the marketer. From the influencer’s standpoint, though, the marketer should have no right to ask any influencer to be disingenuous or give false information simply to persuade someone to buy a product. Coming up with clear guidelines before making an agreement is the best way to avoid these issues.
Influencers are important to the marketing world. They have huge audiences that not only look up to them, but also trust them to provide honest opinions and remain authentic. As such, it is critical for marketers to remember that even though the influencer is portraying their brand, that influencer should always have the ability to be honest with his or her audience – and he or she should also retain a portion of the creative control.