Trust No One

I see that “X-Files” is back on the air. I’ll admit that I was never a huge fan, although maybe if I go back and binge watch the old stuff it will grow on me. Still, there was a line spoken during the series that came to mind as I read about influencer marketing: Trust no one. 

You’ve probably heard about influencer marketing before. Many studies have shown that the best possible source of product information and recommendations are from a trusted source such as a friend or family member. Those are influencers, as are some bloggers, celebrities, etc. Influencer marketing is using those folks as channels to sell a product.  Obviously, as the use of ad blockers becomes more prevalent, marketers are seeking other ways to get their messages out, and influencer marketing has become one of those channels. As a report from eMarketer says:

In the past, working with influencers was time-consuming. Brands had to find and vet individual bloggers, strike deals with them and then devote significant resources to managing campaigns. Now, there are an increasing number of talent agencies, networks and matchmaking services for influencer marketing.

I have many nice things to say about my clients but you won’t see me touting their products or services in this space, at least not without a prominent disclaimer.  We have already seen instances of celebrities failing to disclose that they have been compensated to do that and we might have seen another one at the end of the Super Bowl.  I have no doubt that Peyton Manning was going to drink a bunch of Budweiser, and the brand quickly stated that they didn’t pay him to plug them (twice that I saw) after the game.  He does, however, own two Budweiser distributorships.  Does knowing that change your perception of his statement?

I doubt many of us will be asked to plug a new restaurant or car or any other product to our friends via social media.  Still, knowing that some people are asked to do so calls almost any nice statement people make into question.  I don’t know of a way for anyone to label their own post in social media as a sponsored post but it’s a shame that we really can’t trust anyone’s good words nor any blog’s excellent review.  I’m trusting no one.  You?

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Filed under Reality checks, Thinking Aloud

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