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It seems that in 2018, fake followers, fake engagement and influencer fraud have almost become synonyms for influencer marketing to the outside world, with big media outlets often reporting on the latest cases of fraud. As an industry, we need to cultivate an influencer marketing environment that understands the value of long-term relationships & measuring beyond reach - and that’s the goal for 2019!
Back in 2017 - I wrote an article on the ‘’war’’ against fake influencers, with nearly two years having passed, it seems that the topic has become more relevant now than ever. With notable people such as Keith Weed from Unilever weighing in on the topic and adding some much needed urgency and attention - this has led to the topic unforgivingly hitting the mainstream in 2018. Last November, Instagram delivered news confirming their ongoing activity in the quest to reduce inauthentic activity on their platform, focusing on applying machine learning to cull fake followers and fake engagements alike. Great stuff right? I agree - but doctors always say that it’s better to prevent than to treat symptoms.
A lot of people talk about fake influence, too - and being part of Traackr’s professional services team allows me to enable our clients to deal with this topic effectively, making sure that we provide the knowledge and tools to combat influencer fraud. We focus heavily on the educational aspect of influencer marketing, making sure that we showcase the benefits of data driven, long-term activations in the battle against fraud.
We should keep in mind that true influencer marketing combines paid, earned and owned influence. Creating a long-term, sustainable strategy means activating all tiers, this includes (however you wish to call them) brand advocates, nano, micro, macro and celebrity influencers. They all have a role to play.
Secondly, the importance of relationships within the context of influencer marketing shouldn’t be discounted. Smash-and-grab relationships are not often associated with trust, neither between brand and influencer; nor, between the content creator and their audience. As a brand wanting to build and instill trust, there needs to be a framework in place that empowers long-term relationships and measures their impact. Which is why we’ve incorporated content tracking and reporting, not just on your paid campaigns, but on all content publicly published by an influencer. With this in hand, you have the power to properly vet and grow relationships with influencers over the long haul.
As the stakes and investments continue to mount, global brands are taking the above very seriously, and I would urge everyone in the industry to share best practices and success stories of programs that go beyond vanity metrics and empower the industry to move towards a more sustainable, long-term influencer marketing ecosystem.