#Fulldisclosure

By: Kate Miller ( twitter: @kateeeeMiller )

 Throwback, to when you were a little kid and you were super pumped your parents bought you a new toy for being good. Of course, you told all of your friends you have the latest Barbie (or lego?). Then influencing all of your other friends to be good and ask for a barbie. As people, we have always wanted to have the new, hot thing even when we were little kids. That is why social media influencers are dangerous to our bank accounts without full disclosure: the influencers are doing a better job influencing than we are recognizing we are being influenced.

Social Media Influencers have such a great impact on our society and are crucial for companies to use when trying to engage with customers. This is why so many influencers charge large amounts of money to enforce products. IT IS EFFECTIVE.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/social-media-influencers-a-marketing-experiment-thats-metastasized-into-a-mini-economy/2016/11/02/bf14e23a-9c5d-11e6-9980-50913d68eacb_story.html?utm_term=.7b189a458e8b

Most people get their news from some sort of social channel, so advertising needed its place as well. Although this became unfair to consumers because it became very hard to know whether or not it was an #AD or whether it was a consumer expressing their love for a product genuinely.

But let’s look at the flip side, my older brother offers me $10 to do his chores, as a kid, and maybe even now (broke college student) I would jump at the opportunity. It was an easy job that would get me that much closer to my new Barbie (or Starbucks). This is kind of what social media influencers are faced with, they have a genuine connection with their followers, but they are offered $10 thousand to post a photo with a new bag, AND they get to keep it. Hmm… tough decision but I would take the bag.With the role as an influencer though, they need to take responsibility and give their fans a fair caption.

A fair caption to me means expressing what they truly think of the product and that they were paid to share it. Personally, I do not think it is as trustworthy to see someone expressing their love for a product if they just got paid thousands of dollars to do so. But it is not always that obvious, sometimes the #sponsored is hidden deep within hashtags. I am not sure why people are not as up in arms about not disclosing whether it is a sponsored post or not, as they are about fake news, but they should be.

The FDA set regulations saying it has to be clearly disclosed or both the Influencer and the Company will be in trouble, but as a consumer, I haven’t seen much change.

I personally have never bought anything from the Kardashian/Jenner family and haven’t watched their show, but I still follow them. They are style icons, and frankly interesting to follow on social media. They all have their niche, for example: Khloe is now a super fit #revengebody advocate Kylie for her makeup line, and Kim for her fashion and for well.. being married to Kanye.

It seems like today people love social media like “Kanye loves Kanye” so it makes it even more important for us as consumers to be aware and question what we see from influencers, because who knows why they are posting what they are posting.

This Article Has 6 Comments
  1. Erin Petit says:

    Kate,

    Great post! I loved how you compared influencers to chores and toys as a kid. It made the concept of influencers really easy to understand and relate to.

    I also personally don’t buy products advertised by the Kardashians/Jenners. But I’ve certainly bought things made mainstream and trendy by them. I can’t tell you how many matte lipsticks I have, and I dig the current fashion trends. I’m curious: How much of an influence do influencers have on cultural trends?

    Erin

  2. Great article, Kate.

    I totally agree that I let my influencers get the best of me sometimes without even knowing that they are. This whole concept of disclosure is so interesting to me because it seems that it is so new in the social media sphere. Now, I can see the #sponsored or #ad content, but the lines are blurred online with many things.

    Even when artists are wearing brand clothing at concerts or other things, how can you really know from an online picture that they are getting paid? Seems like a trap that one too many of us have fallen into.

  3. Karalyn Arnett says:

    Kate,

    Great thoughts on this topic. I found our class discussion about influencers to be so interesting! Before J 480 I knew that there were influencers on the internet, but I never really knew that it is basically a side business. The thought process that goes into selecting influencers for your business, making sure their other posts align with your values and mission, and following FTC rules all at the same time is crazy!

    I have fallen into the influencer trap many times. I find myself ordering things online much more often now and sometimes do not even think twice about purchasing things. Some how I have given complete control of my bank account to an online influencer – who feels like a personal friend.

  4. Sarah Borchardt says:

    Kate, I loved this post! The comparison between childhood toys and influencers today makes so much sense, I could easily see the connection. It is super interesting to think about the amount of money influencers get paid to simply post about a product, and I totally agree that I want to see a fair caption so that I know the true quality of the product they are promoting. Before our discussion in class the other day, I never thought much about influencers, although I follow literally every Kardashian/Jenner on social media and I see their posts for so many products every day.
    When I think about it, they do feel like people I know and trust, which is so weird to take a step back from and think about. Thanks for your awesome insight on the world of influencers, I enjoyed reading about it!

  5. Cydney Chelberg says:

    Kate,

    I love your perspective on this topic!

    This makes me think about how now more than ever, our society needs #fulldisclosure. Personally, I am tired of being tricked into the influencer traps and I would really appreciate more organizations and influencers to put ethics as a top priority by simply making their publics more aware of what they are doing and their intentions. I know that as a consumer, I would notice the companies who do so because in the last year I have found myself making more strategic purchasing decisions and being careful where I put my money while educating myself on similar topics. I would like to see more transparency in the media and that is a huge reason why I wanted to study public relations.

  6. Katy Edgington says:

    This is a great post! I have kind of struggled with my feelings on my own affinity for social media influencers and sponsored content. On one hand, a lot like Facebook’s targeted ads, seeing sponsored content that influencers I follow post about is kind of nice because that organization is trying to reach a very specific demographic that I likely belong to by using that particular influencer, so I am usually into the kinds of products my favorite influencers promote. On the other hand, however, it is really difficult to know if that influencer REALLY likes or even uses the blue gummy bear vitamins they’re posting about, or if they’re just cashing out on a paid content opportunity. I don’t know what to believe!

    It is nice, nonetheless to at least know whether what my favorite influencers are posting about is coming straight from them or if they’re getting paid to say it. Perhaps one day I will try those blue gummy bear vitamins that every single ex-bachelor contestant seems to promote on Instagram, but for now I will remain a bit skeptical of those #sponsoredposts and #ads.

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