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Micro-influencers are dangerous, and Facebook isn’t going anywhere, says Red Agency

The murky world of micro-influencers will continue to cause problems for brands, consumers and social media platforms unless it is regulated, Red Agency has warned at Mumbrella’s CommsCon.

Red Agency’s Davitha Ghiassi on stage at CommsCon

In addition, despite the current blowback on Facebook courtesy of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, the social media giant will survive and only continue to grow, the agency said.

Speaking at CommsCon this morning, Red Agency’s executive director of social and integration Davitha Ghiassi said the booming business of online micro-influencers is becoming a dangerous place.

“Every day people are getting paid to endorse products to thousands of loyal followers,” she said. “So these social celebrities are turning into brands in their own right, but without taking some of the same transparency and safety regulations to match.”

The risk with micro-influencers, she said, is that eight in 10 consumers are likely to follow a micro-influencer’s recommendations, but unlike full-blown celebrities, consumers view micro-influencers as friends, rather than disconnected product pushers.

The micro-influencer risk

“94% of people believe they [micro-influencers] are more credible than the general population. So although tagging your post with #spon or using Instagram’s paid partnerships feature shines a light on the fact that these celebs indeed don’t sell their audiences for free, it doesn’t say much about the authenticity of the product, or the partnership between the influencer and the brand. And the struggle to access the audience is real for brands in this day and age. They often don’t get enough information about who they’re targeting with these paid promotions, as well as performance data,” she said.

Over the coming year, she said, consumers and brands should demand more from influencers and ensure they are held to a higher degree of accountability “through the help shared branded content analytics, partnership reviews by consumers and also the roll-out of credibility metrics”.

Facebook, she said, isn’t immune from a credibility crisis, but people who think the end is nigh, are mistaken.

“In no way, shape or form is Facebook going anywhere. It’s only going to be growing and this is simply a hurdle that they’re going through. They’re the first to go through it because they’re the first of this size. Thats the key takeaway,” she said.

Jame Wright, CEO of Red Agency, argued Twitter too was having a comeback, despite years of losing relevance.

“I would say Twitter has had a comeback since Trump came to power. When you talk to analysts and people that follow the market, they’re literally following every single tweet he puts out because almost everything affects financial markets, and the political agenda. He literally lives his policy through releasing it on Twitter first. He’s sacking people on Twitter before they know they’ve been sacked.”

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