Influencer Fraud: The Lurking Risk Behind Influencers’ Marketing
You might be familiar with names such as Shannon Haris, Em Ford, Chiara Ferragni. In Indonesia, there are also Atta Halilintar, Rachel Vennya, and Ria Ricis. We often see them in social media platforms – Instagram, YouTube, blog – with high engagement with tens of thousands to even billions of their followers. These individuals create digital contents that somehow influence online and offline behavior of their followers, including buying decisions. They are what we call ‘influencers’. The bond and trust between influencers and their followers are what brands have perceived as a new opportunity in marketing their products.
Nielsen said that consumers trust what influencers say much more than they trust conventional ads – billboard, flyer, brochure, TV, and any printed media ads.
Through influencers’ storytelling on their digital platforms, brands expect they will sound more like ‘human’ than mere logos. This human-like quality allows brands to reach their consumers who have flocked to digital platforms. In the end, brands expect to generate trust, awareness, and loyalty among their consumers, and the voices of influencers have the power to produce all of these.
In terms of reaching potential consumers, the digital era does offer new opportunities in a way that the previous era couldn’t. However, there are lurking risks behind the opportunity. Like any other marketing methods, digital marketing influencers also carry certain risks towards brand reputation, and they could jeopardize brands even more than conventional marketing methods ever would.
One of the potential risks is influencer fraud. The term has been gaining popularity along with the rising trend of digital marketing influencers since around eight years ago. Fraudulent influencers carry out fraudulent practices by manipulating social engagement.
In a world where statistic becomes a currency, the number of followers and engagement matter to influencers. In an attempt to bolster their social standing and attract brands, Instead of generating abundant followers in organic ways, an individual may purchase numbers of fake followers. There are also a bunch of cases where individuals use software or bots which automatically generate ‘likes’, ‘comments’ and ‘share’ in social media. At the end, these practices will not lead to consumers’ genuine trust and awareness, and these fraudulent influencers will rip brand reputation apart while costing a substantial amount of money.
Nonetheless, digital marketing influencers have become the hottest marketing trend for the past couple of years. While they have proven to benefit brands, at the same time, they put brands at risk. Assessing the risks influencers may carry, it is important that brands take mitigation efforts in managing their reputation.
One critical step that a brand should take before making a decision in cooperating with any influencer is conducting a background check to the individual. By conducting background check, brands will be well-informed about who the account owner really is, whether the account’s followers and engagement are genuine, and whether the individual has ever been involved in criminal acts.
For more than seventeen years, Integrity has been trusted by its clients to provide mitigation solutions, including background check services. We also provide other checks such as criminal check and credit check. For detailed information about the services, do not hesitate to contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org and let us be your reliable and trusted partner in managing your brand reputation.