Social Media Influencers have been blowing up and companies have been taking advantage of that by paying them to promote products. Normally, Social Media stars will give shout outs to brands, or specific products to make the brand seem relevant. But while you may trust your favourite Instagrammer, when it comes to sponsored posts, you are better off doing the research yourself to find out whether her the product has any actual quality
This picture Kylie Jenner got 1,413,548 likes and 95,105 comments. With audience engagement like that, it’s not hard to see why companies are eager to get on board. In her caption, she identified this as sponsored content by using the “ad” hashtag, as required by law. Her caption went on: “I’m obsessed with @sugarbearhair vitamins! I put a lot of stress on my hair and these bears make my hair look and feel amazing! Plus they are DELICIOUS #sugarbearhair”. The hashtag, #sugarbearhair, went viral and has over 110k posts with positive comments recommending the product.
Emma Chamberlain got 1,096,484 likes and 9,014 comments for this post about a phone case, writing, apparently without sarcasm, “OMG SO EXCITED ok so my very special and fun phone case with @wildflowercases comes out at 3pm PST so…(This is like my lifelong dream lol i’ve been an extreme wildflower fan for like my entire life ok bye) LiNk In BiO”. Her followers were apparently persuaded by her eloquence because the wildflower cases blew up.
Khloe Kardashian showed that you can promote a product even if your followers know you don’t have to use it. Here she promotes a teeth whitener, but as one of her commenters noted, Khloe wears veneers and has no need for whiteners. She got a lot of backlash for this post, but seems to be taking it in stride.
Statistics show that 40% of people have bought something after seeing a tweet about it. This is why false advertising can be so damaging. False claims can be made very easily by changing the appearance of the product or the results it is supposed to provide. It has become even easier now that we all have easy access to photo and video editing technology. Companies will also sometimes give a social media influencer an edited version of their product. But when then claims turn out to be false, it is the influencer, as the face of the brand to the consumer, that takes the fall.
The US Federal Trade Commission’s guidelines are intended to help customers get the quality product they’re promised. The guidelines are pretty much just require advertisers to be upfront with customer endorsements—sounds easy, right? But 90% of social media influencers violate those Federal Trade Commission’s guidelines, advertising products without giving an indication that they are being paid for their endorsement.
Some products that are being advertised by social influencers may be worth your money, but don’t let your trust of the celebrity cloud your judgment. I suggest you watch a review video on the product, and read customer reviews. And if notice that your favourite Instagrammer isn’t tagging posts with #ad when they are obviously sponsored, you may want to reconsider who you are placing your trust in.