Is That a Fake Influencer Behind That Mask?

Halloween is the one day each year we pretend to be someone else. We wear masks, wigs or makeup, all to trick others from knowing who we really are. In influencer marketing, some people do this everyday, not just Halloween.

“Influencer marketing fraud is when a social media influencer displays an unauthentic media presence,” explains Chelsea Goodson, Director of Influencer Marketing at Find Your Influence.

Influencer fraud is alive and well. It’s often a reason some brands may be hesitant to include influencer marketing in their overall marketing strategy. At Find Your Influence, or as our friends call us – FYI, we understand that fraudsters exist and we have a plan to keep them out.

Every influencer in the FYI network has been curated and categorized by an actual human being right here at our Arizona HQ. We use more than 25 data points to evaluate any influencer who opts in. No bots. No spammers. Not a single Russian hacker. When brands engage with influencers from our network, they know they’re getting the real deal.

Some of the influencers you follow today may not be part of the FYI network — yet. We want you to know how to spot the bad apples though. Here are five red flags to look for to spot influencer marketing fraud:

  1. Engagement doesn’t match the influencer’s follower count. For example, 60 likes on a photo for someone who has 20,000 followers may be a red flag. You would generally expect to see a higher engagement.
  2. Questionable comments left on influencer’s posts. This could include the same type of comment repeated numerous times by different followers. “So cute.” “CUTE.” “cute.”
  3. Drastically inconsistent likes per social posts on Instagram. One Instagram post could have 1,000 likes and the post immediately before it could have only 100 likes. You should expect consistency with a trusted influencer.
  4. Some people buy their followers. Seriously! Review an influencer’s followers. Are there many with similar names, short profiles or no posts of their own? This could indicate the followers are not real and were purchased.
  5. Look closely at the content. Is it their own or simply a repost from another popular account? Authentic influencers create their own content that is true to who they are.

On November 1, when the masks and wigs have been put away and the clown makeup has been washed off, look closely at the influencers you follow. Are they still wearing their mask?

 

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The Men of Influencer Marketing: Jorge Guevara

This is part three of an ongoing series where we will come to know more about the men of influencer marketing.

Social media influencers can have followers anywhere on the globe. Many of Jorge Guevara’s followers are from South America. Jorge was kind enough to grant us an interview as we continue to learn from the men of influencer marketing.

We want to better understand these men. What inspires them? What are their keys to success? What do they wish they knew when they started?

On Friday, October 19, I spoke with Jorge Guevara to learn more about how he has cultivated his audience. What follows is my conversation with Jorge:

Hi Jorge. I’ve seen your website and your Instagram but what more can you tell me about yourself?  What does it mean to you to be a social media influencer?

“The way I got started was in fitness modeling. Fitness modeling is very saturated now and I felt like I could do so much more than working out and buying meal plans. I actually had a good opportunity in Los Angeles to shoot with a big time fashion photographer and he pretty much opened my eyes and my mind that I could do so much more than just fitness. After that photo shoot, that’s when I figured out that’s what I really wanted to focus on. I started switching my entire image on social media toward high fashion. I worked with different photographers in Chicago, LA and Miami.

It was really tough in the beginning because the audience I had built over the last few years was very fitness-oriented and when I started posting a lot of fashion photos, I began losing a lot of engagement. It took me some time to gain it back and reach a new audience but that’s what the transformation looked like.

To be an influencer you have to find your niche and where you want to motivate people. For me it’s just being motivated in all aspects of your life from fitness, the way you dress, what you eat, taking care of your family and travelling. As an influencer I love to not only show off the brands that I work with and the content I create but also for people who may not have the opportunity to travel, I like to share my photos and videos to share my experiences.”

It’s not often you hear of influencers switching lanes like you did from fitness to fashion. What did that transition look and feel like for you?

“The whole process of going from fitness to fashion lifestyle blogger was very tough. In the beginning people were not used to it so I did lose a lot of followers and engagement. For me it was something I needed to do for myself. To go to high-end fashion brands was hard because my audience was more fitness-oriented. I want to say it took about a year through different brand collaborations and tagging pages on Instagram and although it’s taken time, I’m growing as an influencer. I’m a micro-influencer so I still have a long way to go to catch up. Some people have been doing this for more than ten years.”

Being an influencer is a concept that’s relatively new. How do you define being an influencer to friends and family who may not have been exposed to influencer marketing yet?

“As an influencer, you’re promoting a product or service that you believe in and you want your followers to follow up on. I only promote products or services that I’ve used and truly believe in. I don’t collaborate just to get paid. I do it because I believe in the brand or it’s something I’m going to wear. The easiest way to explain it is it’s something you believe in and you think it would benefit them too.”

What do you know about your audience who follow you?

“I have a big South American audience because I’m from Columbia. Even though I reside in the U.S. now,  I’ve always had a big Latin audience follow me because they can relate to me. I do a lot of videos in Spanish. Anywhere from 24-45 year olds make up my audience. Today that’s about 55% male and 45% female. As you start working with other brands you begin to gain more followers who like your content and that brand.”

As you’ve built your social media following, was there one thing you can point to that came ‘easy’ to you?

“Nothing’s easy. For me, I’ve been lucky to be photogenic so creating content has been fairly easy. Staying consistent with content has been one of the hardest things because you have to post almost every single day. Nothing has been easy because I’m continuing the growth phase in this saturated market where you have to do things that people are not doing. It’s important to me to focus on more aspects of life than just fashion, like travel too. I’ll always have fitness to incorporate in because that’s a huge part of my life that I want to promote, just not as much as I used to before.”

Is there a community of fitness or lifestyle influencers that you’re collaborating with on a regular basis?

“I’ve seen more collaboration with male influencers since it isn’t as big yet as the community of female influencers. For guys, we do a lot of collaboration on events or brands that may be looking for another guy. I’m always looking to help other people out because I know they would look out for me if they had the opportunity. At the end of the day it’s all about helping each other out and creating something different.”

Is there a brand that you aspire to work with?

“That’s easy, it’s Tom Ford. As I’ve grown as an influencer I’ve made so much progress with the brands I’ve worked with. I started with the small mom and pops and on to the smaller and medium brands. It’s getting to the point where the quality of content you’re putting out there and the brands you start tagging begin to notice you and inquire about you. I did a campaign with Lucky last year that was huge for me. It put me on the map for brands who are on the same level as them. It really helped me push my name and image to another level.”

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The Men of Influencer Marketing: Brian Morr

This is part two of an ongoing series where we will come to know more about the men of influencer marketing. 

At Find Your Influence (FYI), we have more than 100,000 influencers who have opted in to our network to be discovered by brands around the world. Taking a closer look at the FYI network, 84 percent are female. That leaves 16 percent of the network led by men.

Who are these men? What makes them so successful? How have they built their personal brands?

On Wednesday, September 26, I spoke with Brian Morr, a menswear and lifestyle influencer based in New York City. Brian’s blog, Sink the Sun, chronicles his life and brand experiences in the Big Apple. What follows is our conversation:

It’s great to meet you, Brian. Tell me more about you. How did you get started in the world of influencer marketing?

“I currently work at a hotel in SoHo, in New York City. I’ve been working there for five years now. I’m originally from Long Island. Right after college I went back to live back home with my parents close to the beach so I started taking photos of the beach, myself at the beach and then myself in the city when I got my job in SoHo. It kind of just took off from there. There wasn’t  a point in time when I gained a lot of followers, it just happened organically over time, which was pretty cool. I’m often asked for tips or tricks of how it happened but it just happened on it’s own. I guess people liked the things I was posting, so I thought, ‘Okay, I’ll run with this.”

How has Instagram worked for you? Are you using other social channels too?

I mainly use Instagram for collaborations, ads and things like that. I do have a blog too. I created the blog after the Instagram following took off because I wondered if Instagram may only be a fad that I would still have everything available on my blog. It’s a great outlet to get all of my thoughts out. I was an English major in college so I use that to my advantage in creating content like blog posts.”

I’ve spoken to a few influencers and a common thread is that many of you seem to have earned your degrees in English or Communications. This has proven helpful when creating unique content.

“That content, that message, It’s what we want to say to our audience and it’s very important how we word everything. It’s been really helpful to me to have that background.”

Let’s talk about your followers. Do they all fit into the same general category or different categories? How would you describe them?

“The majority of my followers, I think 80 percent, are male. I do a lot of men’s fashion and promote a lot of men’s brands on Instagram. I’ve done a lot of collaborations with alcohol brands too, which may be more appealing to guys. The demographic of my followers is somewhat similar to myself, although I do have 20 percent female following, but I’m geared more generally to men. My following is more New York-based than anything. It’s cool because I see a lot of people in the city that have recognized me. It’s pretty cool how this whole platform came to be and came to be something great for me.”

You mentioned engaging with your followers. Aside from them recognizing you on the street, what does your engagement with your followers look like?

“I do get emails here and there about style tips and questions. They are really few and far between. I do get a ton of direct messages, which I think is a lot more than other influencer friends who I’ve spoken to. Most of the  stories I put on Instagram are pretty relatable. I do get comments on my photos but more often direct messages about my stories or my style or where I’ve gotten something. I usually wake up each morning with 30-35 new direct messages. And I do answer all of them. I think this helps my engagement grow.”

You mentioned that you also work in a hotel. Is your role as in influencer your side hustle or are you looking to make that your primary hustle?

“It’s definitely something I’m thinking of doing soon. My current job at the hotel doesn’t interfere with the influencer side of my life. They’re very helpful when it comes to needing days off and they even let me take photos in the hotel. Right now I work 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the hotel and then have the rest of my day available to dedicate to shooting. I have the weekends off so I spend much of my weekend taking photos and creating content. It is pretty crazy, it’s two full-time jobs at this point. It’s awesome that I could take a hobby and turn it into something greater, turning it into something I love.”

You’ve worked with many different brands. What brands have been your favorites and why?

“I did a campaign with Heineken. With them I went Ultra in Miami and Coachella. It was like a yearly campaign which was really cool. That was more geared toward male influencers, all about Heineken, all about beer.

I did a few things with Timex and they were really cool to work with. I love watches and enjoy the opportunities I’ve had to work with different watch brands.”

What brand has resonated the most, or had the most engagement with your followers?

“I did a cool campaign with Reebok over the summer that got a lot of comments and messages. It was a new shoe line made from renewable material. Those pictures came out great and it was an all around awesome campaign. I heard from the agency that the brand itself did well from it.”

What, or whom, inspires you?

“Moving to New York City a few years ago has inspired me to get up and go and do this for a living. Living the New York City life has inspired pretty much all of my work. Everyday I see people hustling and doing everything they can to survive and thrive here. That’s really inspiring to me.”

In the world of influencer marketing, it appears to be heavily female. As a male influencer, tell me about the community of influencers you engage with. How would you describe that community?

“I definitely think women have the upper hand at this, which is not a bad thing at all. Women have started this influencer marketing revolution and that’s awesome. Male influencing is a whole different ball game. We have our own little group. When I go to events, I’m often asked if I know many women influencers. I really don’t because every event I go to for a brand is primarily a male event. There are a ton of new influencers popping up every week which is awesome. More competition is more incentive to work harder. For every one male influencer there is probably ten female influencers fighting for jobs. I think it’s pretty cool that guys have caught on to it and are now able to do it for a living.”

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