Are Influencers Losing Their Influence? Who Does Gen Z Trust?
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Influencer marketing may not be what it once was with a decline of trust from a particular generation of social media users, Gen-z.
The whole idea behind influencers is to be authentic, inspiring and trustworthy but it seems that young people are now after more meaningful content and may be switching off from this form of social-media marketing.
Carry on reading to find out whether influencers are losing their influence and if there has been a shift in trust.
Fake & Untrustworthy Content
Instagram use to be one of if not the most popular influencer engagement platforms, however, in recent times it seems there has been a downfall of the platform within social media marketing.
This is due to a variety of factors including the lack of trust and relatability with influencers and their audiences.
A lot of influencers share content that everyday people just can’t relate to, and some have even been caught out for lying about their lifestyle or editing their pictures.
One study found that 55% of Instagram influencers were involved in some form of fraud or fakery on social media in 2020.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with editing images in moderation but when it manipulates reality such as influencers drastically changing their photos to make it look like they’re in a different place or editing their body type, it becomes an issue.
Such as, Tana Mongeau was called out for editing her photos with face tune to manipulate her body and face, to the point where it didn’t look like her.
Influencers are free to do as they please and edit their images If they want to, even us as consumers may do it too, but when it’s played off as being reality and they aren’t transparent about it, it’s a problem.
Image manipulation can lead to mental health issues with audiences who engage with certain influencers highlight reels (find out more in this blog) on social media.
Young people especially look up to people on social media so it can be toxic for our body image and our self-esteem seeing unrealistic beauty standards.
Not only this, but if an influencer is exposed for promoting content that is false or manipulated, they will lose the trust of their audiences.
A Lack Of Respect
Certain Influencers aren’t influencing anymore, or at least how they used to. Gen z want more meaningful content from content creators. This is particularly true with the recent uproar of a post by Kylie Jenner, one of the most well-known influencers and celebrities.
She recently shared a post on Instagram with her and her boyfriend Travis Scott with the caption “You wanna take mine or yours?” whilst standing next to two private jets that she ended up taking just a 12 minute flight on.
She received a lot of backlash in the post’s comments and within the press with users stating, “Global warming who?” “Your waste of gas emissions or mine?” and “Girl, what am I recycling for?”.
It seems that even the most powerful of influencers are losing their reign over gen-z consumers.
Whilst we’re not sure if this is the demise of influencers, those like Kylie may have to reconsider the way they market content, because users have clearly had enough and are losing respect and trust.
Sorry influencers, but fake it till you make it just ain’t cutting it anymore!
Product Promotion Issues
Another factor that has led to a lessened influence for some is the over promotion of products, people are bored of influencers that advertise products on social media posts they probably don’t use nor like, or that don’t align with their personal brand.
One study found that only 3% of consumers are influenced by influencers with their purchases.
A lot of influencers no long stand out from the crowd with the same old posts about how you can lose weight with this perfect slimming shake or how you can get a discount with a brand when you use their code.
It’s boring and like we mentioned earlier, it’s hard to know who to believe with product placements.
Those that bombard their audiences with sponsored posts or stereotypical influencer content are understandably going to get ignored and lose their impact. It’s all down to content that feels personal to users.
In all honesty, if we see a post that includes #ad on an influencers post, we scroll right past it. Its not worth the hassle of wondering if their review is honest or staged.
Who Does Gen Z Trust?
Gen-z may still be engaging and trusting influencers; however, influencer culture has now evolved with marketing messages being reached on alternative platforms than in the past.
A study found that Youtubers and TikTokers have become Gen Z and millennials most trusted influencers and public figures, with both outranking Instagrammers.
TikTok and YouTube are powerful marketing tools for gen z consumers for sure. We’re not talking about big named influencers who do paid endorsements and promote products.
But instead, everyday people who have gone viral with their videos that create content that gen-z genuinely like and engage with.
“They’re just like me”
Consumers feel more connected to people who find fame and a large following on apps like Youtube and Tiktok, because they appear more deserving of it due to experiencing their journey with them or their ‘claim to fame’.
Emma Chamberlain has become one of Gen Z’s most loved celebrities and influencers, from rising to fame through posting vlogs on Youtube to now having millions of followers and attending this year’s met gala.
Emma is able to cater her content to millions of people around the globe and influence their decisions because she seems just like a ‘normal’ person and has her own self-expression and creativity.
Her content adds value to her fans day-to-day life, they enjoy watching her content and choose to.
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In terms of an overall trust with influencers, it seems that it really just depends on the individual and their personal brand. Some influencers are losing their influence, whilst others like Emma are going up and up in terms of power and popularity.
To conclude Gen-z has changed the game for social media marketing and this generations trust has shifted as well as which platforms are the most influential to the type of influencers who hold the most power.
Influencers are still more trustworthy than alternative forms of social media marketing, with a study finding that Gen Z and millennials tend to trust content from influencers more than from brands themselves. So, it is still a form of marketing which is on the rise in 2022.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this blog, do you trust influencers? Let us know what you think!
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