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Influencer Marketing – The Need for Transparency

Influencer marketing has evolved with time. As influencers are becoming prevalent in the industry, brands and marketers have ensured to align influencer marketing with their overall campaign.

The term influencer, however, has been there for decades. If we look several years back, many brands, even in those years, leveraged the power of influencers.

Do you remember the time when Coca-Cola used Santa Claus in one of their ads? It was during the Great Depression in the 1930s to cheer their target audience in the miserable times. 

And it was not only Coca-Cola, but several brands did use fictional characters as influencers in their advertisements.

It’s no wonder that they knew the amount of influence the influencers have on the audience.

As time passed, we saw celebrity influencers endorsing brands’ products. However, not many people looked up to them because they couldn’t resonate with their lifestyle. But then, social media brought an absolutely new era of influencer marketing.

Apart from fictional characters, celebrities, and mega influencers, many nano and micro-influencers paved their way to social media and the marketing industry. They did change the scenario of influencer marketing!

However, if we look at the influencer industry today, it is clustered with multiple influencers. Because of this, it is slowly losing its transparency. And that shouldn’t be the case. The need for transparency is rising and both brands & influencers should understand its importance.

But, why does influencer marketing require transparency?

The mindset of your target audience is not the same as before. Back in those days, people were more concerned about a brand’s product quality and pricing. They still are! But today, they expect brands & influencers to be their true self.  

Let us simplify it for you!

Off lately, we have seen many influencers promoting branded products. It’s no surprise that they have been doing this before. But some questions have been revolving around it recently. Like, Are the products endorsed by influencers being used by the first? Is the product review 100% authentic?

But why have people started questioning the authenticity of the influencers suddenly? As we said, the influencer marketing industry is flooded with influencers. Amongst them, many influencers have been insincere while endorsing a brand’s product. And what harm has it done? Consumers have been exploited because of the misleading information and several brands & influencers saw a backlash from their audience.

Looking at this changing scenario of the influencer marketing industry, even ASCI, Advertising Standards Council of India, issued new guidelines a while back. The guidelines said that influencers now need to mention if their post is an ad, sponsored content, collaboration, partnership, etc. The objective behind this was obviously to protect consumers from getting into a trap of misleading information.

Now the question is, how can brands and influencers be transparent?

Come, let us, deep-dive, into it!

1) Authenticity is the Key!

Brands & influencers need to work more closely with each other. While influencers post a review about any product, they should be completely honest about what they are conveying. Hey, that’s not just for the influencers, but brands need to be honest in their approach too!

However, the reviews can turn out even better when influencers have used the products themselves. But ensure that you are both ethical and honest when doing the same. Or else, get ready to face some serious backlash from your audience.

Recently, Kim Kardashian collaborated with a brand named Duchesnay to promote their morning sickness drug, Diclegis. Her post caught the attention of the FDA, Food and Drug Administration. What happened after that? Well, the FDA objected to the post because it didn’t clearly mention the risks and limitations of the drug. Due to which even Duchesnay was warned to face strict regulatory actions in case they don’t edit the post or remove it.

Yes, Kim Kardashian did remove the post and updated the risks and limitations of the drug in a new post. But because of misleading information, both Duchesnay and Kim Kardashian faced criticism and negative comments from their audience.  

Remember, the audience today supports those who are both ethical and authentic!

2) Be Socially Responsible!

People have become more sensitive towards social causes. They expect brands & influencers to raise their voice for the right cause. Consumers’ expectations have really touched the upper mark!

But taking a stand doesn’t mean you speak for everything that is spreading in the news. Sometimes, it is better to support a cause that aligns with your values.

Pro tip: Your silence will invite criticism. Know when to speak up!

Being socially responsible will help you in achieving your goals and create a positive perception of you in the minds of the consumers. 

3) Disclose Sponsorship or Collaboration!

Recollect what we said about ASCI guidelines. It’s time both brands & influencers should execute it in their influencer marketing strategies.

In what way will it benefit you?

Can you recall what we said about honesty? Being completely honest will help you in gaining your audiences’ trust and loyalty. Moreover, disclosing sponsorship will save you from any kind of penalty too. Voila!

Being transparent will not only help in improving your online image but even serve as a tool for long-term success.