In recent years, partnerships between influencers and brands have been growing at lightning speed. It’s not easy to navigate between all types of accepted collaboration and scams of all kinds, So, is it a simple case of content marketing or a real will to touch a target by whatever means?
Influencers who accept any type of collaboration with brands
A boring and repetitive editorial line
It’s no secret for anyone. Influencers are fond of collaborations with brands (just as brands are fond of partnerships with influencers) and they aren’t afraid to show their pleasure in offering such content on their social networks.
Pushing their communities (and therefore consumers) towards an increasingly digitalized world, these actors of tomorrow manage to touch their targets as much as those of their neighbours.
At a time when influencers are constantly being asked to produce a variety of content formats for brands, it’s not easy to keep a clear and precise editorial line. While the very principle of influencer marketing is based on the use of an influencer’s notoriety for purely marketing purposes, some tend to deviate widely and move away from the heart of this new communication marketing method.
Just surf social networks and watch, for example, influencers’ Instagram Stories to realize that the proposed content is repetitive and therefore… boring. A collaboration here, a collaboration there, Youtubers, Instagramers, bloggers don’t which way to turn to satisfy a contract with a brand.
And subscribers don’t miss the opportunity to make them notice!
A topsy-turvy editorial line
The multiplication of sponsored content, publications that are so obviously commercial partnerships or that aren’t in line with the influencer’s values etc. These are the phenomena that internet users have been witness to since the emergence of influencer marketing and more directly from content marketing. By definition, what is also called “content marketing” means aiming to provide prospects or customers with a certain amount of useful or fun content. The main objectives of this technique are to generate visits to a site, to promote e-commerce transformation or to constitute a support for exposure and promotion of the brand.
In recent years, we have witnessed the emergence of diverse (and subverted) forms content marketing. Influencers are ultimately influenced by brands and are no longer based on qualitative but quantitative content.
On social networks, internet users show their discontent and exasperation at seeing such a topsy-turvy repetition of editorial lines and use hashtags to create a buzz.
Influencers involved in multiple scams
Dropshipping scams (The EmmaCakeCup example)
First of all, it’s essential to understand the principle of dropshipping, an alternative to an online store. By definition, dropshipping is a solution allowing a web merchant to sell online products stored by its supplier. The latter will then be responsible for delivery, usually in place of the seller.
The advantages of this sales method are numerous, particularly since it makes it possible to limit the risk of keeping too much stock, to gain considerable time in terms of logistics and to offer a more extensive range of products. Faced with this, several influencers have taken advantage of the trend to promote products with commercial practices sometimes bordering on illegality.
Last year, it was the Instagramer couple Emma Cakecup and Oltean Vald who paid the price for a Dropshipping scam. With a community of very young followers the two influencers promoted watches and fitness accessories for rather dubious brands.
A well thought out operation certainly since it was held a few days after Black Friday but widely disputed by internet users.
Proposing, via Instagram Stories, a promotional code to obtain the said products at very low prices, Oltean Vald got dragged into controversy. And for good reason, the prices that the accessories were offered at were totally unjustified, way over the real market prices . Prestige Chronos, the site in question, was mysteriously taken offline a few weeks after the appearance of the first negative comments and some the influencer’s followers never received their orders. This phenomenon of dropshipping scams is unfortunately very common among influencers and victims (i.e. followers) very often fall into the trap. If there are many examples, the case of Emma Cakecup and Oltean Vlad is certainly one of the most telling. Trusting in the notoriety of their influencers, followers place orders on sites with malicious practices. If Oltean has since justified himself on the issue, and said he has lodged a complaint against the site,, there has been no news from Emma on the subject.
For a few months, a controversy around “fake influencers” has continued to flood the Web. A real scourge for marketing professionals, these impersonators often manage to convince brands to set up partnerships at the expense of their credibility, e-reputation and real return on investment. Buying influence online like in a real supermarket, faking data and followers; malicious practices and fake profiles of influencers are numerous. An approach largely taken into account by social platforms like Instagram but it’s a witch hunt that’s not over yet.
Enticing engagement rates, number of followers skyrocketing, there are many techniques to carry out fake influencer strategies.
Posted on social networks and accompanied by very attractive visuals, these “advertisements” offer influencers the possibility of significantly increasing their visibility through some tools sold by some agencies. Behind these potentially salivating propositions in fact, hides data that are distorted or unrepresentative of an influencer’s community.
Most often, it’s on Instagram that the “magic” of fake influencers operates. It must be said that that social network is in a way the home of influencer marketing.
If, for a very long time, brands and agencies didn’t pay close attention to the influencer with whom they collaborated (based only on the data on a profile), they must now redouble their attention to avoid negative impacts.
To counter this phenomenon, it is often recommended that agencies and brands take action in several possible ways. A not insignificant way to limit the damage.
Fake partnerships with brands to look good
It’s plain to see that social networks are full of partnerships of all kinds as well as advertisements offered by influencers. Behind this exciting showcase can hide a different reality. A few months ago, twitter was flooded bu users accusing some young influencers of publishing fake sponsored posts for the sole purpose of attracting brands and obtaining real partnerships.
And this pretence can go very far.
This phenomenon is unfortunately not new and many aspiring influencers try to bluff for the sole purpose of reaping real collaborations. A study of the most prominent attitudes and examples of this practice was carried out by The Atlantic. It’s easy to see that future influencers want to hit the heights and are absolutely ready to do anything to achieve it. A more than doubtful method that sometimes brings followers to purchase… for a product that isn’t really “a special offer”.
If influencer marketing is a communication method increasingly used by brands, its limits are sometimes difficult to understand and the damage is often inevitable.
Swept up in an advertising whirlwind, influencers sometimes abandon their communities to the detriment of products and sponsored posts. A repetitive and annoying editorial line, non-existent partnerships, scams of all kinds, “fakes influencers”, controversy is common and often justified.
Behind that, “real influencers”, brands and agencies must act to maintain a balance and control their credibility. A fundamental combat is required by these actors to stamp out this nasty trend.
If influencer marketing and content marketing are laudable practices for brands, be careful not to burn your wings (and be the showcase of a faked digital marketing strategy).
In the age of social networks, many brands are making the choice to anchor bloggers in their strategies. A different communications channel, sponsored articles are often neglected at the expense of sponsored posts. The ratio of trust in blogs versus social networks is a parameter to take into account when a brand decides to set up a marketing influence campaign.