Inspirations, deep thoughts, surprising insights, or random ideas on how social media intersects PR.
Which do you trust more, a product a company employee tries to sell to you or your best friends opinion? I don’t know about you but I trust my friends.
Mark W. Schaefer mentions a fantastic point in Chapter 1 of The Content Code, “Research firm eMarketer reports that 83 percent of brand marketers view social sharing as the primary benefit of social media because 70 percent of consumers say they are more likely to make a purchase based on a friend’s social media updates.” (Schaefer, 18)
Majority of the content we view daily is advertisements or other forms of selling us a product, a brand, a lifestyle or even a movement. And there are multiple platforms to do so on so how can we distinguish what’s an authentic opinion?
There has been a growth in blogging by so called gurus (beauty or lifestyle) and that has taken over YouTube as well. They specialize is reviewing makeup products, doing clothing hauls, DIY decor and talking about their ‘daily’ lives. They have MILLIONS of followers and subscribers who trust their opinions on products and trends.
I don’t know if it’s because I’m naturally a skeptical person or because I’m studying advertising, but I see right through them. I don’t trust what they have to say because I know they have an agenda. They are sponsored by brands to talk about their products! Some will state disclaimers saying they were sent products but the opinions are their own. I don’t buy that. If companies were sending me boxes and boxes of products for free, I’d stay on their good side. They are being paid to say good things, and I don’t think many of their viewers understand that.
The reason these are so popular is because brands do realize that the best way to sell is through word-of-mouth and testimonies by friends. These gurus promote that they are friends with their audience in order to gain trust and more sponsors.
At the end of the day, they see positive results because so many view them as friends. But I still trust my actual friends over anyone affiliated with a company because I know my friends agenda and that they truly just like a product, their opinion is authentic to me.
So I guess that’s what content creators need to focus on, creating shareable content. I watch a video on Facebook that my friend shares, not a company. “But as the eMarketer study shows, brand power isn’t coming through content. It’s coming from content transmitted by our trusted friends.” (Schaefer, 18)