Paid social media influencers on shaky ground with audience as market grows
Instagrammers, Snapchatters and Facebookers could turn against social media celebrities who are being paid to advertise products online.
One expert says the business of paying social media celebrities to promote a brand or product is growing in New Zealand, but the content sticks out like a sore thumb.
Founder of fitness product companies Waist Trainer New Zealand Australia and Luxe Fitness, Iyia Liu, said social media would soon become crowded with brand representatives, and if they promoted products too much they could lose popularity.
"However if you do not like it, simply do not follow the influencer, so it would be in the influencer's best interest not to over do it."
Liu said an influencer's photo or video of themselves using and endorsing a product was probably not fooling New Zealanders into purchasing it immediately.
Influencer marketing boosted brand exposure and benefited future sales, she said.
Liu made millions from her two former businesses that paid celebrities such as Kylie Jenner up to $300,000 to post a photo online wearing her fitness products.
She said influencer marketing had rapidly become popular because it was cheap but effective because audiences were using social media daily.
New Zealanders with thousands of Instagram followers such as former reality television Bachelor Arthur Green, cancer survivor Jessica Quinn and artist Andrew Steel, have cashed in on the trend.
Olympic freestyle skier and social media influencer Anna Willcox said promoting a product that an influencer did not genuinely endorse was obvious to their audience.
Willcox said she preferred to advertise products she used or liked, regardless of the pay check.
"There is a thirst for rawness, truth and honesty in this filtered world of ours."
She said New Zealanders were adapting to local celebrities posting paid advertisements online.
"People realise that these individuals need to pay bills just like the next person."
The Social Club founder Georgia McGillivray said New Zealand's market for such advertising was maturing but was not yet on par with Australia and the United States.
Her start-up company has aligned 300 brands with more than 2300 social media influencers in New Zealand.
It released its updated two-way marketplace last week. Similar to a modelling website, brands could use the platform to find influencers to promote its campaign, product or service on social media.
McGillivray said the platform would be an education tool for traditional organisations that had not yet caught onto the influencer marketing trend.
"In the advertising world there is usually a 10 per cent test budget to engage in new ways of marketing, but many do not use it."
Unless a millennial was at an advertising agency's decision making table, they did not look twice at influencer marketing, she said.