Those endless influencer unboxing posts need to stop

Unboxing videos were once the domain of tech enthusiasts on YouTube, but the practice has finally made its way into the world of Instagram influencers. Here, Natalie Giddings explains why posting endless parcels isn't the best use of your marketing budget.

Unboxing is a term that was once related to a video filmed by an individual to display the excitement of a highly anticipated, new product or product release, typically shared to their social media profiles.

These days, it’s more commonly when a social influencer has been sent a parcel by a brand in the hope they might share it on their channels. The resulting content follows a very common format – the influencer usually opens the box and exclaims their delight and how they can’t wait to try it or put it on.

So, what is so wrong with this type of arrangement?

Unboxing posts have reached a saturation point lately. It’s rampant.

In order to secure as much exposure as possible, the aim is often to recruit as many influencers as possible. Consequently, vital steps are skipped when it comes to doing due diligence on the potential influencers. You could be taken advantage of with fake accounts.

Recently I’ve seen brands being mentioned in some very damaging environments, such as indirectly being associated with underage drinking or food products now accidentally associated with dangerous food fads and eating disorders. Be relevant, but you must be careful.

Sacrificing quality over quantity also leads you right into the types of profiles I call ‘product mules’. You know the ones. They will peddle anything and everything. Every second post is yet another product.

There is very little actual storytelling going on and the comments on the posts are unrelated or vague. It’s a strong phrase, but I feel it’s fitting. Please feel free to borrow it.

An influencer’s audience, key channels, formats, tones, content styles and strengths are each very different. Therefore, each influencer represents a unique opportunity for your brand.

By treating each influencer in the same indirect, impersonal manner, you miss the opportunity you had to truly connect with their audience. Instead we see the regurgitation of the enclosed press release or fact sheet.

Audiences are now seeing some form of unboxing every single day and it’s wearing thin. Unsurprisingly, based on our reoccurring results from real programs, across multiple brands, engagement rates dramatically increase on individual influencers activity when working the same product overtime.

The only reporting information available for an unboxing, mass mail out-style program is vague. Simply adding the total audience sizes (follower or like count), of each influencer together is misleading.

If brand is the cornerstone of all marketing, it must be presented clearly, uniquely and consistently to leave an imprint on your potential customer. However, your unboxing video / post just looks like the last one, and the one before that.

Unless a box is part of your brand propositioning, which I doubt it is, (maybe if you are Kennards Storage?) this is a misfire of your marketing time. Not to mention the dramatic drop off in creditability and lack of key messages.

Of course, physically getting the products to influencers is challenging, though I’m not talking about fulfilment. The box may be beautiful but the time it took to pack and post them all could have been used to truly partner and engage your influencer, so they could in turn create and share their own experience with your product in a tone fit for their audience. We continually get random stuff turn up in the mail because businesses think we still represent social influencers. And nobody has ever checked in afterward with us to see what we thought of the products. This exemplifies the amount of wastage this approach produces.

But put a stop to this tactic starting today and make sure you are not included in any product roundups or unboxing style posts today. At best it’s a grassroots or sampling campaign, at worst, unboxing is damaging your brand.

Natalie Giddings is managing director of The Remarkables Group.


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