Last year, the world scrutinized social media platforms like never before and dominated news cycles. There was a crackdown on ‘fake followers’, with social networks purging bot accounts causing follower counts to dwindle. Facebook also faced controversies over the Cambridge Analytica crisis and the heat directed towards its COO, Sheryl Sandberg.
But parallel to that scrutiny is the rise of brands choosing to engage in influencer marketing. According to Altimeter’s 2018 State of Influence Report, 72% of brands put in six-figure amounts as their influencer marketing budget for 2018. 41% of B2C marketers also put in “developing relations with influencers” as a priority in the same report.
Here at Narratrs, we believe the two parallels are not coincidental. With brand spending and global scrutiny on the rise, there is one important thing our industry needs to do for 2019: build on consumer trust. According to Hootsuite’s 2019 Social Media Trends report, users have grown distrustful of many media and celebrity influencers, with 60% of respondents saying that they no longer trust social media networks.
What must be understood is that we now have a more conscious and discerning market that is wary with whom they interact and share data.
Hootsuite’s 2018 Social Media Trends report recognizes this too: “Consumers want to be treated like individuals, not demographics. They’re demanding more value in exchange for their time and information. The pendulum has swung back to social’s roots: real, personal and authentic.”
And going by this, we start at the root of it: let’s make sure what we put out there is authentic and personal. It can be as simple as sharing stories of how a product is made, and showing the amount of work and effort that goes into making or providing it. Influencers too can share photos of how they come up with their content and give a glimpse of the process. Brands can opt to humanize themselves more and share the identities of the people responsible for the product or service.
Keeping things fun is also a way to do this. While most marketers work on pre-scheduled social media content, jumping in on surprise opportunities can be a nice way to spruce things up. The official Wendy’s Twitter Account has made its mark by being sassy and honest with the people who interact with it. Social media managers have had their fun taking jabs at people who ‘troll’ Wendy’s, and sometimes at the expense of their competitors.
Take note that sassy is not something most brands would want to be identified as, but Wendy’s managed to pull it off – most of the time.
And here’s the thing: if ever you made a mistake, own up and apologize. Social media gaffes and errors happen every day. That’s as real and authentic as it gets. And we are confident that this grown-up and discerning market will truly know the difference.