Can we really trust influencers on the internet?
Can we trust influencers and especially those who extol the merits of a product or service?
This is a question that I am asked regularly, but also a question to which too many people answer in the negative … because for them, it is obvious that we can not trust an influencer who is paid “In quotation marks” to say good of a product or a service.
I then told myself that it would be nice to demystify this topic in the marketing of influence. For that, let’s lay the groundwork again on what is an influencer from a digital point of view.
The influencer from a digital point of view
The influencer blogger, the instagramer, the youtubeur or any influencer working on any social network has influence only because it has an audience that follows it. Without audience, no influence … since it is unfortunately still at the size of communities that we will define the influence in our countries.
The influencer will thus have the capacity to be relayed by his community and he will win through these shares and his actions, commitment. This commitment will result in various interactions such as likes, comments, shares and clicks pointing to a particular web page.
We can also say that the influencer is often an expert in his field … even if he clowns in front of a camera. He just needs a large audience to follow him through his videos.
The influence can then take on different hats with the key interest or not for brands …. but we bet that any brand will bounce on an influencer with a large community. An influencer can be used for product placement, unboxing, photography, an article or a simple sponsored post. For these actions he will be paid up to the commitment that he can potentially generate, see directly according to the size of his community.
The influencer is therefore paid to promote a product or service, but can he say anything wrong, really say what he thinks or the devaluing to the point of losing credit to the brand partner?
To these questions do you imagine that the answers are rather no … while the influencer decides in certain cases, what is his room for maneuver and how does he work to the point of always being positive?
How do some influencers ensure the choice of their partners?
A sensible brand will never let an influencer pay for it, speak openly about its product. And it makes sense on the brand side, otherwise it would lose all credit vis-à-vis the consumer and its acquired customers. How does she act then?
Within the brand influencer relationship, it is implied that the influencer regularly has a course of action towards the brand. This line can sometimes be neutral, or it is up to him to refuse a collaboration that would raise the negative points of a product. That is, it is preferable in some cases that the brand can review its product and update it to avoid negative spillovers.
On this subject, it can be said immediately that the influencer is not totally free to say what he thinks, since he is paid for an action. He must therefore know how to refuse and argue about the reason for his refusal. The goal is that the brand can improve and offer a mature product ready to find its audience. It is therefore not in the interest of having a product tested that is incomplete or unsuitable for sale.
We are talking here about the paid influencer … who, on the other hand, could not say anything about what he thinks positively or negatively about a product or a service.
The choice of partner brands by the influencer, will therefore mainly on safe values where the influencer can raise the positive points while rarely pointing to damaging aspects for the brand. He may, however, make pertinent remarks aimed at improvement.
How to trust an influencer in the end?
In the first place a brand will be interested in weighing the value of its product and minimizing the risks. It will not subject a risk product to an influencer. Secondly, and this is the main point for the influencer, it will be out of the question to say that a product is excellent, magical or use a term that puts the product in orbit, if it’s wrong!
Why ? Because it will not only be the brand that will be incriminated but also the influencer. And if the influencer is discredited on a lie or a too full of positivity with regard to a product, it is his e-reputation that will fall into the water. Outside an influencer will not take the risk of losing his influence, which has taken years to gain.
So we can say that we can trust an influencer … but one question brings another:
Is it relevant to consult influencers for product / service reviews in this case?
This, in my opinion, is the real question to ask and the one we could answer in the negative, because what is the point of consulting an influencer who will tell you the good of a product? We must see the only interest is to make it known and viralize its existence, its output etc … Clearly it remains a promotional action in all cases and not a clear opinion that you decide to buy a product or not.
An influencer is not a real tester, he shares a little dream and allows the brand a not inconsiderable peak of visibility.
Keep in mind that the influencer shares a promotional action that aims to reach a large number of people and that it has every interest in weighing the value and the real interest of the product put forward. It is of course the hypothesis that he is paid to do so.
Apart from any remuneration, he can balance his role and decide between positive and negative opinions, vis-à-vis any brand to which he has no commitment.
We can also emphasize the lack of interest to consult influencers to have the opinion of a product, on pain of a generally positive return. It is therefore better to consult neutral bloggers or consumer associations.
If nevertheless influencers have already been paid to give a negative opinion, I would be curious to know them.