Social Media Influencers: Money Over Credibility? It’s a well-known fact of how much social media has integrated into our day-to-day lives. Its impact on our real lives is nothing to sneeze at as well. In a way, it’s a mirror of reality but on a completely different level of communication, with tons of information being shared every second.
And just as real-life has celebrities that people follow, social media has its own set of influencers. They are celebrities too, but with more interaction with their followers and thus more influence.
People look up to these social media giants for almost everything. Bloggers, Vloggers, Youtuber, Content Creators and Influencers are all people with a certain hold on their audience. People trust them and follow them on a lot of things, especially when it comes to lifestyle, fashion, and skincare.
This gave rise to the culture of sponsorship. Much like celebrity endorsements, when people see someone they follow on social media use some specific product or highly recommend something, they naturally feel more inclined to give it a chance.
Brands saw this and began to approach social media influencers to promote them among the consumers. These paid sponsorships became the main source of income for our social media stars and it was all good too until they began to mislead their followers.
But let’s start from the beginning…
To be an Influencer and to be responsible
An Influencer is a person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or services by promoting or recommending the items on social media.
Influencers are trusted by their community of followers and when they endorse something, these followers take it as a personal recommendation. They use those products and services, spending their hard-earned money on them so naturally; the people who recommended them to have to bear some kind of responsibility too.
Sadly, most of the Social Media Influencers these days do not give a second thought to this. They sponsor anything and everything as long as they are getting paid without thinking of the negative influence it might have on their followers.
Now, money is not a bad thing and as long as they are honest with their followers, it’s fine but when they hide the fact of their recommendation being a paid sponsorship and make their followers believe it’s organic, that’s misleading them and thus breaking their trust.
Multiple sponsorships and the dwindling faith
Hiding paid sponsorships is one thing and cannot be entirely blamed on the influencers since the brands that are paying them to have the most say in this but sponsoring same products of different brands at the same time? Now that’s some serious work ethic issue.
Another side of the same coin is when multiple influencers are promoting the same products and brands, at the same time and saying the same lines… it’s clearly a ‘fake’ recommendation and highly undermines the intelligence of their viewers.
The products and brands may not really be good, but as long as they are getting paid, most of the social media influencers don’t really care about the people who would consume these products based on their recommendation and that’s wrong no matter how you look at it.
Let’s take a look at what some of the social media users have to say (we won’t be specifically naming any influencer or brand) –
“This Youtuber/Instagrammer xxx is an epitome of what you describe as promoting new products every day. Plus she would not even mention that those were sponsored…. Would just blatantly say that I bought xyz products from Body Shop worth Rs. 50k. And would claim to have been using a certain product in her videos but if you looked closely the bottles are filled till the cap… absolutely unused. The thing is that your audience will always see through all these little things… I pity innocent girls who idolize these kinds of people.”
“This should be stopped. Yes, money is important and everyone works hard to earn money so that they can have a good life but that should not be done by cheating people who follow them…”
“The fact that *brand name* has spoilt the market and bought literally half the influencer community. They look the same, talk the same promote the same and that is deceiving. They can even change a person who believes in cruelty-free (products and brands) to promote a brand that is not. This horrible mob mentality of yes women of *brand name* needs to be boycotted…”
“Literally lost all respect for xxx the moment I understood how she straight up blocks anyone criticizing her even if it’s constructive. People called her outrightly under her fake sponsored videos and her monotonous styling and next we see is a video replying to ‘hate comment’- where she leveraged a handful of rude ones to shut all viewers down. Wth? Just own it up, dude.”
“Call them out? Are you kidding me… one negative comment and the so-called influencer would straight up block you. The whole blame should be on the consumer, stop admiring and idolizing people who are good with makeup and clothes focus on real-life issues and real professionals … Think about it…”
These few comments are enough to get a grasp of the seriousness of the situation. People who have the power to influence people should be responsible for the consequences of their actions too. Misleading your followers and not caring about them isn’t the way to go, these people trust you and look up to, and breaking that trust for money cannot be considered right in any way.
We aren’t saying that all social media influencers prioritize money over credibility but there is still a fair share of them who do, and we hope they realize that no matter how popular you are or how much money you stand to make, trust and credibility always outlast money and fame.