Working with influencers is an effective way to reach and engage with target consumers and is something that most brands include within their social media marketing strategy. This is because influencers have a trusted, engaged audience who view them as more genuine and trustworthy than standard advertisements. When brands chose to partner with the right influencer, the partnership comes across authentically – which is the key to successful influencer marketing. Being authentic.

Something that’s recently caused debate amongst the influencer marketing world is the use of filters. Filters of course being a tool you can use on social media platforms to change the way an image looks – whether that’s of yourself or a product. The question being – is using a filter authentic? Arguably, no – it’s not!

Influencer marketing can be successful when brands chose to work with influencers to create authentic partnerships

 

To ensure successful influencer relations between a brand and an influencer, the partnership relies on authenticity. This is especially true when promoting beauty products. Recently, influencers have come under fire for using filters or tools to enhance their natural appearance when promoting a beauty or skincare product. This is because it comes across misleading to consumers and essentially isn’t authentic.. which we’ve already identified as being key to a successful partnership!

Instagram filters can lead to unauthentic promotions of beauty products

 

Therefore, the Advertising Standards Agency has ruled that influencers should no longer use filters when promoting beauty and cosmetic products because they may exaggerate their effectiveness. In doing so, this will not only allow for more authentic, real results to be shown of the platforms – but it is also a great first step in encouraging everyone to embrace natural beauty and be more accepting on social media.

The ruling applies to all UK based influencers, as well as brands and celebrities. Ads that don’t abide by the new regulations may be taken down. The changes were triggered by influencer Sasha Pallari’s ‘#FILTERDROP’ campaign which promotes stricter guidelines for influencer content due to the prevalence of misleading beauty advertisements on social media.

Over time, there has been an increased use and availability of filters and editing apps that has contributed to the rise of unrealistic beauty standards on social media, which as we all know – can be really harmful. Being bombarded with ‘perfect’, unattainable images can fuel feelings of inadequacy and unrealistic comparison for social media users and consumers. No product is likely to achieve the standard of flawless skin that filters can create – so it’s responsible and fair to ensure that products aren’t promoted in this way! Changes to filter use when it comes to product endorsements are a great way to challenge these perceptions and show off the realistic effect of products. This in turn will allow for more genuine partnerships with influencers to shine through and more positive outcomes and reviews from consumers who try the product with realistic expectations in mind.

Authentic partnerships are key when it comes to influencer marketing

 

Of course, influencers themselves aren’t immune from the pressures to look perfect, we all face that same pressure from time to time! But one of the biggest issues with the use of filters is the lack of transparency about when they’ve been used. Usually, the name of the filter appears somewhere on the image or above it, but it doesn’t stop them being misleading about how well a product works. It’s great to see already that many influencers promoting beauty products have dropped the filters and in turn it’s so much more relatable. It’s also incredibly beneficial for brands because consumers have more trust in what the product can achieve.

The authenticity of Instagram and other social media is sometimes questioned, but dropping those filters is a great step towards making platforms more realistic, and social media marketing more honest and open. Ultimately, posting unedited images will benefit consumers, influencers and advertisers as it will allow for more transparent and relatable campaigns.

At Prohibition we work with a range of B2B and B2C brands to deliver successful, authentic and creative influencer campaigns. Get in touch with us today to find out more. Drop us an email at hello@prohibitionpr.co.uk.

About Katie Bibby