Opinion, Student/PR

How Much Influence Should We Allow Influencers To Have?

You may have heard the news, you may not have. But yesterday, it broke that BBC 3 series Blindboys Undestroys The World had ‘spiked’ several well known-influencers by asking them to promote a product on their Instagrams that actually contained cyanide – literally yikes!

Influencer Fail No.4703403489724987…

We know all too well that a lot of Influencer Marketing is very flawed, but this is truly one for the books.

Lauren Goodger, Zara Holland and Mike Hassini were all duped into believing that they’d be promoting a new weight loss drink. All 3 of them agreed to participate without having tried the product nor seeing what ingredients it contained. So much for influencers being genuine and trustworthy, right?

The made-up drink – called Cyanora – included hydrogen cyanide, one of the toxic substance that was used during the second world war by Nazis in gas chambers. Truly horrifying stuff.

Not only did Lauren Goodger sign up for promoting Cyanora, she also went on to blab that she’d never even tried ‘Skinny Coffee’, which she frequents was one of the major driving forces behind her weight loss.

0_Lauren-Goodger-admits-shes-never-tried-Skinny-Coffee-as-she-agrees-to-promote-poisonous-cyanide-dri.jpg
This is just really bad all round, isn’t it? Source: The Sun.

It really is scary to me how much these individuals can sway the opinions of their followers. For really high profile influencers, such as Mrs. Hinch, their followers will pretty much hang on to any word they say. (Luckily, she’s one of the good ones!)

But perhaps what’s scarier is the abhorrent lack of responsibility displayed by these so-called influencers who hold the trust of so many people. As of today, Lauren Goodger has 762k followers, Zara Holland has 291k and Mike Hassini has 288k. That’s a potential of 1.3 million people who could have been exposed to a product that literally contained poison. How is anybody supposed to trust social media stars after this?

Which raises the question: how much influence should we allow influencers to have? Have we, as a nation, caused this – by letting ourselves still be engaged with those who’ll literally promote anything or anything. Or, is this just a classic argument for the importance vetting your influencers and ensuring that you’re only working with the ‘goodies (of which there are many, by the way).

How Much Influence Should Influencers Really Have?

People’ll lose faith in Goodger, Holland and Hassini after this, sure. But unfortunately, this kind of thing continues on a daily basis. And I think so long as Influencers exist, there’ll always be those who are corrupt. The kind who’ll promote anything for a quick buck. The exact kind who taint the Influencer Marketing industry and everything it’s worth.

But we really shouldn’t let it stain the good that comes out of Influencer Marketing, too.

Since working in PR I’ve dealt with a wide number of influencers. Trustworthy ones, that have added true value to my brands. Why do I still endorse them? Because they’re genuine.

It’s much harder work to find an influencer that’s authentic, and that’ll only promote products and services that fit their brand. But boy, are they worth it when you do find them.

This debacle unearthed by BBC 3, for me, really just bangs the drum of how crucial it is to only use influencers who are well aligned with your company’s values. The kind who you’ll know will be bona fide and those whose followers have genuine trust in them. I know I really talk about her all the time, but Sophie Hinchcliffe is really the best example I can highlight here. She only really talks about homeware and cleaning products, which is what the majority of her fans follower her for. This is why, when she posts sponsored content, not only do her followers not mind, but they also engage. I bet it’s no secret that cleaning giants such as Proctor & Gamble have benefitted so greatly from the Mrs. Hinch revolution. For me, this is far greater an argument for the huge value of Influencer Marketing than the select dodgy few will ever be able to diminish.

Did you hear the news? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter. I always love hearing your views.

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