Influencer marketing is here to stay, earnings have grown tenfold in the last 5 years, and marketers are seeking new ways to tap influencers, going so far as to create virtual influencers, a concept seemingly straight out of a sci-fi movie.
However, in this rush to get the maximum eyeballs for ads, promotional products and so on, the question of ethics is not getting enough attention. Should influencers sell their reach to anyone willing to pay a price? What about due diligence, transparency, and responsibility?
Recently, we had a youth-led anti-childhood obesity campaign, Bite Back 2030, highlight the issue of influencers promoting junk food.
“Junk food is being given a starring role in our minds by people like you, and our health is at risk as a result. We want you to pledge to stop posting ads for fast food online,” wrote Bite Back 203.
“It’s not right that you’re paid to promote a lie when you have the power to tell the truth. We are asking you to use your influence to have a positive impact on thousands of young people; to use your stories to put healthy eating in the spotlight.”
Similarly, a recent report in Gulf News revealed that 84% of influencers do not disclose their sponsorships, indicating a serious lapse in transparency.
The effects of influencer marketing on mental and physical health are not unknown, and while platforms such as Instagram and Facebook are trying stricter rules regarding content and experimenting with their features, influencers themselves need to take more responsibility.
This is one of the key issues on the agenda of the upcoming Influencer Awards organized by GURUS AWARDS, a mega event scheduled for April 2020, in Kyiv Ukraine. The GURUS AWARDS will not only bring together influencers, industry experts, social media pros, web celebrities, marketers and companies for networking but also enable constructive discussions aimed at improving the online marketing space.
If you’re involved in influencer marketing in any capacity, you can submit nominations for GURUS AWARDS or book tickets for attendance.