Which influencers do you really trust recommendations from?

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twinzluvagrl

IG @sincerelyophelia NYC Fashion & Beauty Blogger
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Personally if a brand sends someone products to try, it can subconsciously influence how they feel towards a product & I think it's important to be very honest & open that it was received for free & not purchased.
Yes, it is a rule to always disclose that as per FTC policy - or influencers can get in a lot of trouble. It is always either mentioned or posted somewhere that item is gifted or sponsored. :smile:
 
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Claire023

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May 14, 2020
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Was she the one that talked about luxury companies themselves? (I think she had a Moynat Gabrielle she was really proud of).
Yes, Kelly Jane talked about the finances of certain brands based on publicly available financial information, but she also talked about her own collection, how she stored it, wish list items, etc.
 

Greenredapple

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Nov 9, 2018
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Hey ladies, just wanted to chime in and share some insight on the other side of the spectrum. :smile:
I'm an influencer myself (mostly on instagram, blog, less videos on youtube *though I should really make more* LOL) But I will say, many influencers (those I personally know and myself included) are actually very genuine. We stand behind our personal brand and will only endorse things that we personally feel was good for our audience. Most of the time - we come up with negotiation with the brand we are working with, where we test the product first and see if we like it...and then we give an honest review and the brand chooses whether or not they want to proceed for the review to be made public or to even proceed with any content creating work for the brand. Or we may turn down project offers as a whole. (During COVID, I turned down 3-4 offers as I didn't want to post any sponsored content during tough times. I also took a hiatus away because I didn't want to flood social media with just fluff etc)

And another thing - sometimes, we choose to work with brands given their good reputation and test the products out ourselves and then share about it. For example - due to the nature of my work, I do get a lot of different brands mailing me different skincare or beauty items... And I do test them all out and so I'm constantly using different brands. I see it kind of similar to when I'm just a consumer and I buy different things at sephora even if it is the same (same moisturizer or mask etc).

In my opinion, there are many influencers out there who are genuine and those who are so-so. But at the end of the day, brands are paying influencers to really "let their product be seen by more". In marketing - it now takes 5 touches+ before a consumer will recognize or even think about the product. So think of it more as whether you're even interested in the product yourself instead of just taking what an influencer says 100% :biggrin:
Thank you for sharing your insight. It is always important to have a discussion involving both sides, the consumers as well as influencers.
 
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papertiger

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Yes, Kelly Jane talked about the finances of certain brands based on publicly available financial information, but she also talked about her own collection, how she stored it, wish list items, etc.
Yes, she was good, and from comments read appreciated by many others. I recommended her channel to others even though I didn't always agree with everything she surmised. What a shame, I hope she's OK.

I would also like to know what happened to her. Hopefully, she'll pop-up somewhere.
 

minnnea

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No one. Like ten years a go I bought a cosmetic product that a blogger said was good - turned out to be total crap. That was just one incident but enough for me. :giggle:

But to be honest I cannot stand when influencers say ’I only endorse products I really believe in’. Like every company only advertises products they believe in.

That said I follow several influencers on youtube. I think it is a great (and cheap!!) marketing strategy to use influencers for marketing. It costs a fraction of regular ad campaign and has ”good” audience.

I do however find my self wanting eg. Chanel sneakers when I see a youtuber showing off them so I do get infuenced too!
 

eckw

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Feb 28, 2015
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I’ve occasionally bought things recommended by bloggers and IG influencers. Some were great and others disappointing. Success rate not that different from buying online things on my own. But I agree that even the most trusted YouTubers tend to have small following and even then, their tone changes when it’s sponsored items.
 

oranGetRee

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I see them as “advertisements”, advertising for the brands that they are carrying/ using.

I follow them for the brands I like (eg Sarah Deniz Coleman for Dior, to see how the bags and accessories look on them). They have great reference materials. :smile:
 
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giligy

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Sep 11, 2019
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I love Sophie Shohet as well!!!! In general I find influencers with a smaller following to be more honest. On Youtube/IG Je Suis Lou (@Je.suis.lou), Black and Gold Style (@blackandgoldstyle) are also faves. On IG @luxstina. Also Eva Chen (@evachen212)!!! She's super famous but since her main hustle is as Fashion Partnerships Director at Instagram, with secondary hustle as picture book author, I don't think she promotes things for money.
 
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I probably shouldn't do it, for myriads of reasons - but I have some time on my hands, so I will elaborate a bit.

I made a post stating that I don't trust any "influencer" - and here is why.

I had a personal IG account, that I re-started in mid 2016 and finally deleted it again in late 2019/ early 2020 I don't remember the exact date but I'm pretty sure it was either shortly before or shortly after Kashmir Hill of the NYT broke the news on Clearview . AI with an excellent article.

I did not have a large amount of followers, I wasn't out to build my own brand and surely not to make YT videos. I always considered IG to be a public glimpse into a part of my life - that could be accessed by everyone I was interacting with.

From the second quarter of 2018 up to some point in 2019 I had a business relationship with an exklusive distributor for a certain manufacturer.

I did not approach them with the intention of a business relationship - that was later formed, I had a simple request - that I signed with my full signature - as I always do when I reach out to a business.

My request was fulfilled, and I was approached with the offer of working together as they had looked through my IG and apparently liked what they saw.

I agreed to meet them at a specific trade show, and I prepared a couple of documents: Products I wanted if we did it, what I could do for them/ where I could spread the content except for IG.

To me this was not about generating income, it was supposed to be a fun side project catering to one of my interests/"hobbies".

Now the first mistake I made was that I did not insist on a contract that clearly states obligations for both sides.

Instead it was a shake hands, lets see how it goes type of thing. Not necessarily a bad thing per se, but it left too many potential issues/problems and to a certain point my dependency on being regularly & timely provided with products - that had to be shipped from another continent for the most part - unspoken/ hanging in the air. (If you read this, while thinking about "becoming" an influencer, if not a contract, make sure you articulate your expectations very clearly and re-state everything in an e-mail once the meeting is over.)

When I got the first shipment of products I immediately startet to evaluate and test them. I made personal notes and then created one document per product that I called internal feedback. Since the distributor was from my home country and the manufacturer from another country I created bi-lingual documents and went as far as making sure that my native language sentences matched the foreign language in terms of paragraphs/ positioning. As to make it very easy for the manufacturer to have a qualified translator check/compare the meaning behind what I wrote - if they wanted to do this.

It also gave them an idea what I thought of the products and set the overall tone for my IG posts. They knew what was coming.

In the end, over all products, I had written a 54 page, single language, essay - basically two times, as the bi-lingual documents where obviously two times the page count as I only had half a page per language.

Over the time I closed in on 450 pictures that were to be used/ ready for use. I provided them in two versions, the version I would use on IG, and a raw version for either the manufacturer or distributor to do with/ work with as they please. (If you read this, while thinking about "becoming" and influencer, DO NOT DO THIS! Make sure you are compensated for taking the pictures, and collect licensing fees depending on what your "sponsor" wants to use the pictures for!)

To this day I have yet to hear a single word on any of the documents I provided. The manufacturer said nothing at all, from the distributor I got a "yeah, great". While I entertained my IG followers with many of the pictures, the manufacturer only ever re-posted one of my images - and that was one that was meant as a joke - out of a series of pictures that showed all products in use - and most had some solid advice about using the product or an excerpt from my reviews in in the description. None of that was ever used.

I fulfilled what I considered my obligation by posting the full review of all products, with many, many pictures in one corresponding forum and provided the link - I never heard any feedback.

I always wanted to give honest reviews/ my honest opinion for those interested. The problem: testing and evaluation takes time - time you don't have if other "influencers" are getting the products, or even using stock images from the press release and go first in line. But I will get to this, in depth, a little bit later.

I started to get down to statistics for my IG and realized the following facts:

On each post I got about the same - rather small - number of what I call/consider complimentary "likes" from people who "like" my post because I either like theirs as well or because we have some type of "relationship"/ we interact with each other in some place.

By far the most likes I received were from bots/ or "influencers" who wanted to steer my attentions towards their accounts/products. The "people" giving this likes changed like the soup of the day. Meaning I almost never got more than one "like" + "comment" from any particular "person". This type of "like"/"comment" is waste/pollution, nothing more - nothing less. It doesn't help with building a brand, or going forward in anyway.

A small number of "likes" were based on hashtags only. These were highly dependable on the actual time of posting and the timezone of the person who gave the "like".

(This is one of the reasons I always asked IG to provide users with an option of sorting your feed/ running multiple feeds inside the app, so people have a real chance of seeing content they want to see - it would likewise benefit "small scale influencers" who simply vanish inside the masses due to the vast amount of content being posted, especially under highly frequented/used hashtags.)

Having no option - beside the hashtags - to search for content makes IG (and basically all other social media platforms) a terrible platform to gather/collect or catalog knowledge. To me it is and always has been important to spread knowledge. But it's useless if it can't be found when someone is looking for it.

So let's go back to the part about the time you realistically have to unpack, test/evaluate and post about the product.

A special problem for me was, that the manufacturer spread the news about a product, "professional influencers" would then use this information and stock images that accompanied the press release to post about the product/ spread the word. With my approach, I had to expressly ask for that product, it had to be imported, sent to me - then I could test and evaluate. Then use it in a "real world scenario" and give my feedback on it/ post about it. We're talking weeks here. Weeks, that made the new product an old product and with each day more and more people had already bought it and were talking about it themselves.

So either you do not test & evaluate thoroughly to spread your content as fast as possible - then it is not honest but you might get lucky if it's a quality product. Or you take the time you need, and live with the fact your content is dated.

The only way around this is, if you get privileged access/ marketing samples or early product samples accompanied by an NDA and embargo to not release pictures/information prior to a set date/time. And how many, expressly small scale influencers, get this far?

This gets us back to the beginning, it's important to voice expectations, limitations and obligations for both parties.

Had I known what I know now, I would have made sure they understood that I needed the products rather timely/fast, and would have made IG the priority instead of the internal feedback.

But as with everything in life, it's a learning curve.

Personally I saw this as a fun excursion/ adventure - I definitely had a lot of fun and the products serve me very well to this day and for the days to come. The only thing that I considered a small punch to the gut, was when I got a press release (after I stopped providing feedback/pictures and asking for products) featuring a new product, that was, to some extent/ in some parts/design/material used/design clearly based on my feedback.

Now I was fully aware of what I was doing, so it didn't really surprise me one bit - but it would have been nice to get at least a single line of feedback on all of the documents I provided. I didn't even expect a curtesy call like, hey, we're using the feedback, watch out what is coming next.

So from this experience, I will say it again - I don't trust any influencer, because they don't have the time nor the possibilities to test, evaluate and watch the process to prove their opinions/ validate their recommendations.

Now with many products is trivial anyway, but for those where it truly counts, I have no trust left.

That obviously doesn't mean it's not fun to watch what products people use, where they go or what soup of the day they intend to serve.

And if you ask me, overall another bubble that is waiting to burst. A lot of companies, that are heavily invested in influencers and neglected (brand) communication with their true customer base over it will learn that the hard way sooner or later.

Kind regards,
Oliver
 
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BowieFan1971

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Jun 19, 2020
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This!!
I feel fatigued just looking at the unboxing videos. So many bags and later most end up being sold. This is why I subscribe only to 7 channels. Most of them are not related to luxury or fashion in anyway.
I have never understood the whole appeal of unboxing videos. Vicarious living, maybe? Why not get something you own or do a swap with a friend, have them wrap prettily it for you and open it? Voila! Non-vicarious thrill!

Maybe it’s me, since I buy things for form, function, quality and longevity....whether it’s wrapped in tissue, ribbon and has a fancy box means nothing to me and will matter even less after you had a bag for a year or two. Initial impressions are just that....initial impressions. A cheap plastic bag can have a great initial impression, but how will it look next year? I want to know how something will wear, especially if I am spending a lot of money. I want value. I don’t wear the tissue, ribbon or box!