Close this search box.

Don’t get influenced by social media influencers

Influencer marketing. Potential product buyers or consumer products buyer, online engagement communication business or digital customer research process strategy illustration

Consumers today expect trustworthy brand relationships through influencers and celebrity endorsements, but trends show that brands are shifting away from expensive celebrity endorsements and moving towards influencer marketing to promote their products or services. Core reasons for Influencer endorsement rise is , (a) The consumers purchase products supported by influencers (b) Consumers trust online opinions (Reviews and Comments) (c) Consumers spend lot of time on social media digesting peer written content (d) Consumers consults influencers for new trends and ideas.

It is also based on the trust and respect the consumer has built with an influencer as influencers interact with their followers, responding to comments and giving their opinions on products and services. The reason for influencer success is that these influencers provide insight into their personal lives and interact with their followers on a constant basis.

All that glitters in not gold, like wise all the followers and the engagements that you see on majority of the social media influencers may not be original (either they are bot or fake). You can buy a 100 followers for as low as 100 ₹ alternatively you can buy 100 guaranteed followers (guaranteed means no unfollows) for 150 ₹. New market place has emerged where public complimenting and public shaming have become a commodity and it is difficult to differentiate between a paid post and a personal opinion because of lack of user awareness.

New trends by fake social media influencers:

Many of the most deceptive fake companies (Mobile betting, Online Gaming, Online Investment, Online Multi-level marketing, and Crypto Currency) operate anonymously on the internet with the help of social media influencers and launch costly marketing campaigns to entice the average middle class person to invest time and money in their applications.

Most of these companies applications are not legitimate as they are not downloaded from the Apple Store or Play Store. These companies who are making the real money are virtually undiscoverable to the people, police, and judiciary. It’s time for India to have proper statutory and compliance in place so that social media influencers do not take people for a ride.

Psychological and Financial Impact

First, the psychological impact is well-documented as many studies prove how excessive attention to influencer content causes negative self-comparisons, body image disorders, and low self-esteem. The curated nature and depth of curation and editing which some influencers apply to present their lives establish a standard of beauty, success, and happiness that is impossible to achieve for an everyday person. As a result of watching influencers, people often begin to feel deficient and not fully living one’s life, which becomes harmful to their mental health.

Second, the financial implications of following influencers are negative due to added advertising when influencers promote products or services while being compensated. Although this is an effective marketing strategy, it causes viewers to engage in impulsive shopping for goods they do not need or cannot afford.

Finally, it requires cultivating a critical mind to resist the influence of social media. It means questioning the post’s purpose, checking if the advice is not paid and if it is aligned with one’s values, and intentionally maintaining a circle of people they follow.

Identifying fake social media influencers:

As per the survey done by the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance, up to 50% of the followers are fake. Many top Bollywood actors and actresses and rapper, also came on the radar. We have listed a few tips to identify between fake and real influencers:

(a) Look at the follower trends – The majority of the followers are obtained through the use of bots or purchased followers.

(b) Frequency of posting – Examples like inactive accounts with a large number of followers and fewer postings should raise red flags as genuine accounts have consistent upward growth.

(c) Followers to engagement ratio –There is always a poor engagement rate considering the followers. A few of the fake influencers do overly high engagement, and the catch is almost all the engagements are identical, i.e., same set of comments and same set of followers.

(d) Use influencer monitoring tools – Its recommended that you use a tool that is AI driven to identify and eliminate fraudulent interactions by monitoring click-through rates, affiliate links, coupon codes and bio descriptions, etc. (e) Fake Verified Account – Sometimes even the blue mark is part of the full name, so make sure you do a fact check.

What should Social media influencers should do:

(a) Promoting Products/Services – Don’t get carried away by the money offered by fake products/services/applications over the internet, here are some tips (i) Pause – Have a pause and remember that Anything that is “Good to be True” will mostly be false. (ii) Ask – Ask google/Ask the source legitimate information. (iii) Read/Review – Read the Fact-Checks or research on relevant information and then only confirm. (iv) Inform – Inform people that are facts and not fiction.

(b) Stalking – (i) Do not publish your phone number or address on your social media as it could be harvested and processed for commercial use. (ii) Check the access privileges given to Apps. (c) Search through connected apps and followers and delete unwanted ones.

(c) Privacy – Do all the required privacy settings. (i) Set your GPS, Bluetooth, Set passwords and PINs on your phone. (ii) Download only from trusted providers. (iii) Consent should be treated the same way for all offline and online Interactions

(d) Photo / Video – (i) To keep your personal life safe, it is important to ensure, no personal stories, no expression of opinions, no swimsuits etc, should happen as you could be trolled. (ii) Use watermarks on all your posts.

(e) Set Boundaries – You should be mindful of the privacy of yours and others. (i) Never indulge in personal stories that could embarrass you in future (ii) Do not post that make someone hurt their feelings. (iii) Avoid racist, political and religious comments.

(f) Protecting Your Data – (i) Use paid tools that block malware and trackers. (ii) Use 2FA to protects passwords, email and payments.

(g) Buy – Neve buy fake reviews, comments and likes to impress followers