Adam Walker Profile picture
Sep 4, 2018 16 tweets 6 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
So after recent drama concerning influencers, “staged content” and unrealistic lifestyles, I wanted to discuss what our industry can learn from it.


Sifting through the vile and unwarranted bullying that was present in the comments section of the content, what I saw was a number of users complaining that this kind of content is wildly unachievable and has significantly lowered their own confidence/satisfaction.
It’s important for influencers/bloggers to understand that we have a responsibility to our audience and the balance between revenue and audience satisfaction is a delicate one.

Any “influence” over our audience has a certain moral responsibility that comes with it.
Now, I have seen others in the industry say “of course it’s staged, all adverts are”.

While that is true, traditional advertising is FAR more heavily regulated industry than the influencer marketplace and there are certain rules to more common forms of marketing.
For example ASA Regulation 3.45

“Marketers must hold documentary evidence that a testimonial or endorsement used in a marketing communication is genuine, unless obviously fictitious, and hold contact details for person who, or organisation that, gives it.”
Or Regulation 3.11

“Marketing communications must not mislead consumers by exaggerating the capability or performance of a product.”

For a long time now, influencer marketing has lingered in the grey area of these regulations, often without penalty.
It’s also important to note that almost all digital/traditional advertising is almost instantly recognisable as an advert, for good reason.

This is referred to in industries like journalism as “separation of church and state”.

Good explainer vid below:

However, this is where influencer ads tend to be the “greyest” ethically as influencers want their ads to look seamless with the rest of their feed, so it fits in with their content.

So this kind of staging looks like it’s part of your own lifestyle.
We have a duty of honesty to our audience and if we are to survive we need to understand that over-photoshopped/staged content gets stale fast.

Here are 4 examples I quickly found of users fed up of this kind of content over the last few weeks in one search...
And whilst I think it’s important we actively fight against the bullying and trolling that some members have faced for simply doing their day-to-day job, I think it’s important for us to discuss the less clear message here.

Namely is this kind of content failing our audience?
Also, as this is an industry that is without regulation and bereft of any form of punitive of measures.

So for now, we are self regulated and what comes with that is the necessity to discuss how our content affects our audience.

If not, it will catch up with us in a huge way.
My sympathies to the individual who has suffered the worst of the Internet in the last few days, no one deserves to face that kind of behaviour over a single photo.

I look forward to their return to producing stellar content and a career that has gone from strength-to-strength!
As for us? Well, we need to decide whether we’ll listen to our audience or ignore them.

Make our own rules or have them clamped down on us?

Shun bad behaviour or exacerbate it.

This is an industry in its infancy and we need to mature fast.
Anyway, that’s my 2 pennies on it all.


Special thanks:
Let me know your thoughts, comments and ideas.

Let’s have a real discussion as a group and be better than those who have shown their worst colours this week...

#Influencers #InfluencerMarketing #Bloggers #Instagram

Side note: for influencers looking for direction on instagram advertising, influencer content standards and regulations for digital ads, I highly recommend checking out @NikSpeller.

He’s Head of Campaigns @InfluencerLtd and is an authority for this kind of info

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