Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook have seduced users around the world with their pretty promises: spaces for quasi-free expression, engagement on related topics, and the construction of communities of fellow human beings.
Except that social media has also given advertisers wide open ground to reach their consumers through sponsored posts and advertisements; far from the spirit of authentic freedom promised to the public.
And the result is an epidermal aversion to these poorly concealed advertising inserts. So, what drives social media users to refuse any attempt at self-interested influence?
Millennials and Generation Z want authenticity
Teeth whitening kits, clothing stores, appetite suppressant lollipops: repeated posts made by celebrities, which ended up boring social media users, more focused on true and more natural content.
Especially the youngest, including millennials and members of Generation Z, who see content posted by influencers come and stand out.
On the contrary, they are much more engaged with content such as the stories proposed by the travel & lifestyle influencer Caroline Calloway, and her editor Natalie Beach. It is now a question of going beyond the virtual curtain to discover who is hiding behind the texts published in legend.
Repetitive influencer content
The days go by, and the posts look alike...
Moreover, it is becoming very rare to find original content from our influencers, who do not shine with their artistic creativity. From a yoga mat against a sunset backdrop to a carefully framed avocado toast, or an all-too-perfect gym selfie, it's time for these influencer professionals to break new ground.
47% of consumers say they are tired of this repetitive influencer content.
A collective frustration that has also given rise to some tasty parody accounts (like Insta Repeat), pointing to the lack of originality of a large part of Instagram content.
So, if you have to innovate, it's by the truth, far from the traditional aesthetics of the platform, with its filters supposed to embellish sometimes banal situations.
The abusive use of big players
Kim Kardashian, this one's for you!
Our darling superstars accept a colossal number of paid partnerships, for various reasons that we will be careful not to judge here. The risk is weariness, even for the most loyal fans. On the brand side, there is thus a strategic threshold that should not be crossed, regardless of the headliner selected for a specific campaign.
As blogger and media scholar Seth Godin has pointed out, now is the time to circumvent the trend by taking the opposite approach. No longer a question of bringing together the widest possible audience, brands must now learn to build sustainable communities around smaller audiences.
Appropriation of social causes for commercial purposes
And if influencers start feigning a commitment to great causes around the world, in the simple hope of being the center of attention and fulfilling the objectives of the brands they work for, it's even worse.
Slacktivist campaigns such as the Kony 2012 greenwashing movement with the environmental initiatives of DuPont and Exxon Mobil; many influencers, brands, and organizations dare to take ownership of important causes for the simple growth of their online presence.
These unfortunate episodes contribute to the - very fashionable - feeling of mistrust towards social media and make the public even more skeptical than it already was.