Beyond Influencer Marketing Fraud: The Truth About Authentic Social Referrals

October 24, 2018

Influencer marketing has rapidly grown over the past few years, with some estimates calling for it to become a $5-$10 billion dollar channel in the next five years.

In a survey of its members, the Association of National Advertisers found that 75 percent of marketers currently work with influencers and of that, 43 percent plan to increase spending in the next year.

Of those who are not currently using influencer marketing, 27 percent indicated they plan to do so in the next 12 months.

In other words, the future of influencer marketing looks bright.

Not so fast.

Recently, there’s been increased discussion and scrutiny about the dark, fraudulent sides of influencer marketing:

The truth is, most of these issues stem from the use of paid online influencer marketing. But that doesn’t mean that these perceptions don’t spill over to authentic influencer marketing.

Weed has said, “the key to improving the situation is three-fold: cleaning up the influencer ecosystem by removing misleading engagement; making brands and influencers more aware of the use of dishonest practices; and improving transparency from social platforms to help brands measure impact.”

Event organizers shouldn’t shy away from a few proverbial “bad apples” in the influencer-marketing cart as they search for new audience acquisition tools to grow their show. For organizers, in particular, authentic and transparent influencer marketing is a highly effective marketing strategy. After all, studies show today’s consumers trust referrals from people they know.

The difference is that rather than investing in paid influencers who may unknowingly participate in deceitful practices or have fake followers that inflate their reach, organizers can and should turn to influencers they already know: their own event attendees.

Event attendees have already earned the trust of their followers on a more direct, authentic level. And they likely already share similar interests, concerns or passions with their networks. It makes sense to tap these influencers as part of a more robust audience acquisition strategy.

As an example, through a social referral marketing platform like Gleanin Connect, it’s easy for genuine advocates to recommend an event to their contacts and networks however they see fit – whether that’s through email, social media or WhatsApp.

For attendees worried about sharing access to their social account, advocates can still spread the word without connecting a social media account.

Since an attendee chooses whether or not to advocate for an event, the social referral process is completely authentic. Another plus? Social referral marketing eliminates concerns around some of the paid influencer marketing practices under increased scrutiny: there’s no misleading engagement numbers or dishonest behavior, and everything is completely transparent.

Unilever’s Weed has put a spotlight on the problems of fraud in the influencer marketing sector saying, “we need to take urgent action now to rebuild trust before it’s gone forever.” Social referral marketing provides organizers with a trusted marketing strategy for utilizing attendees – their greatest influencers – to serve as authentic advocates without the problems now associated with paid online influencer marketing.

Schedule a demo to learn more about Gleanin’s authentic and transparent social referral marketing process.

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