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THE SHADY SIDE OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Best Practice

As marketers continue to increase their budgets for brand content, some users are taking advantage of this demand by buying fake followers and engagement to artificially inflate their digital portfolio.

Consequently, it has become increasingly important to hero true talent and best practice in order to ensure there is no fakery. But as competition increases within this crowded space, how can brands identity the right solution?

Read on to find out why this is a growing industry concern and which players are tackling fakery in order to improve their media strategies.

THE TRUE EXTENT OF FAKERY

In the first quarter of 2019 alone, Facebook deleted a mind-blowing 2.2 billion accounts that it deemed to be fake. This includes duplicate, misclassified and undesirable accounts.

In November, Facebook also disclosed to investors that it had at least twice as many fake users as it previously estimated, indicating that up to 60 million automated accounts may roam the world’s largest social media platform. These fake accounts, known as bots, can help sway advertising and audiences. Yet this falls into a legal grey zone.

Reports also suggest that last year, fake fans cost brands over $1.3 billion on Instagram alone – which is a huge hit for the industry, considering marketers spent up to $8.5 billion in 2019 and plan to spend over $10 billion in 2020. So, as Instagram continues to expand their community, the issue of fraud grows as a potential harm for this space.

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A DEMAND FOR TRUST AND TRANSPARENCY

So, as this issue continues to combat multiple platforms, more users believe they can ‘cash in’ on the benefits of brand content and ultimately deceive marketers who become plagued when conducting campaigns and as such discover unsuccessful results, amongst problems.

Scammers and bots alike relish their reputation, but in turn disvalue the efforts achieved by true talent who seek to co-create content that resonates with their engaged community.

Because of this, trust has become a key topic of concern. At Talent Village we believe that solving this issue remains at the forefront of our reasonability, as industry leaders. As this increasingly popular space continues to become even more crowded, it is our belief that brands will need to develop a talent-led marketing approach to identify professionals who deliver both qualitative and quantitative results in an authentic way, activated by credible creatives. That’s why we will continue to build brand safe technology and only leverage 1st– party data to generate comprehensive metrics that encourage advocacy. Furthermore, transparency is not optional at Talent Village and our propitiatory platform offers full content control and in-depth reporting.

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QUALITY OVER QUANTITY

If your goal is to drive brand awareness and build a real relationship with your audience, engagement is a key KPI to consider when constructing your campaign, over and above reach. However, while marketers have woken up to the detrimental effects of fake followers, many have still fallen when working with those who do not have a credible and authentic voice and in turn engage with fakery.

Ultimately it comes back to the simple concept of quality over quantity. Campaigns are successful when working with true talent who are more than just fans and have a genuine passion for the brand they represent, and the content they publish. So how can brands win? We believe they can succeed by being part of the conversation – not interrupting it or subverting it – and by creating content that lives and breathe in people’s lives, wherever and whatever they’re doing so they can continue to engage with the modern consumer, throughout every touch point of their journey.

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BRANDS LEADING THE WAY

Along with Mediakix, brands like Unilever are leading the way to ensure that this space stays authentic and genuine. In fact, in June Unilever’s CMO Keith Weed pledged to not work with anyone who has bought followers and made a call to action for other brands to be vigilant and do the same.

“At Unilever, we believe influencers are an important way to reach consumers and grow our brands. Their power comes from a deep, authentic and direct connection with people, but certain practices like buying followers can easily undermine these relationships, said Weed.

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.”

Such efforts highlight the importance of integrity and why brands should stay away from vanity metrics and instead look towards true talent who don’t engage in fraudulent activity.

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