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Corrupt Influencer Marketing; The Debate Continues. – Amanda Ricks

Corrupt Influencer Marketing; The Debate Continues.

The topic of corrupt influencer marketing has become a heated subject.

I’ve written about this topic myself in the past.

Mark Schaefer recently wrote a post about corrupt influencer marketing. As usual, in Mark’s article, he offered an insightful perspective on this hot topic.

Here’s a snippet.

“In an article in the Wall Street Journal, (Unilever CMO Keith) Weed claims he won’t do business with influencers who buy followers and blamed the influencers and social media platforms for corrupting influence marketing.

I don’t think he’s placing blame in the right place.

To be sure, influencer marketing is red-hot but has lost some of its shine after numerous reports surfaced about fraud that exists from influencers who buy followers and use bots to make it look as if there are more people engaging with their posts…

Where corruption can occur, corruption will occur. And in some ways, it may get even harder to spot the fakers in the future. If you’re going to play in influencer marketing, you better be prepared to do the work. You will not be able to rely on algorithms and dashboards for influencer integrity and success. You’ll need to examine these resources critically and personally to know their backgrounds, style, and values. You’re literally putting your brand on the line with these people.”

I agree with Mark that the onus is on the business’ hiring influencers to check and double check that the influencer of their choice is living up to their brand’s standards and objectives.

It seems like a no-brainer. Don’t we all double check references and seek out referrals from sources we trust in regards to people we hire? It’s the same with influencer marketing.

But, I have an additional thought to throw into this debate.

I know of at least one influencer who was implied to have bought followers in a recent article. But, I know this person through social media and in my eyes, they still earn the honourable mention as an influencer.


Because this person is everything, an influencer should be. They are one of the most engaging, and informative marketers out there. Plus, this person writes, good, in-depth, and very resourceful, articles. They know their stuff.

And these attributes are what makes someone an influencer to me. Or they should.

Besides, if the inference was valid, we all make mistakes, right?

So, consequently, and back to Mark’s point, it’s not how many followers someone has or any algorithm that creates a real influencer. It’s who they are that matters.

In closing, if your business wants to step into influencer marketing territory, tread carefully but also remember it all comes down to so much more than followers-real or bought.

What are your thoughts on this topic?

6 thoughts on “Corrupt Influencer Marketing; The Debate Continues.”

  1. Hi Amanda, I so agree with you on this one. I know a person just like you explained in your example. That person actually contacted me via an email before the news broke. WOW, I was so impressed by that. Admitting the mistake is huge in my eyes. Heck, we are all human 🙂

  2. 100% of the time Amanda, for me, connecting with and trusting bloggers over time is the only way I partner with them. I know these folks well. Nobody I befriend over months and years does the fear-based, silly, unethical stuff that some well known marketers do. Avoid the riff-raff. Befriend top folks over time, to trust them, and you will steer clear of folks who are doing things from fear-scarcity.

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