Over half of all social media influencers have received compensation for talking about a product in their social media stream. 80% of marketers say they either have, or are willing to pay for social media mentions, or “Social Media Sponsorship.”
The number of companies and influencers participating in endorsed social media is growing. The range of sponsored content is also increasing. Currently, blogs and Tweets are the most utilized. However, video is on the rise, and location updates are not too far behind.
Consumers remain relatively unaware of how much social media is driven by financial arrangements.
A significant---but shrinking---group of social media influencers disclose when they have a business relationship with a brand they discuss. However, 26% are unaware they need to be transparent, and another 18% utilize a generic disclosure policy that followers are not likely to read.
This creates a very scary situation for marketers.
Consumers currently trust social media much more than advertising or traditional PR. What happens when mainstream America becomes aware that their favorite blogger was compensated to write about that great new brand? Or, the expert they follow was paid to check into that trendy restaurant?
It’s going to happen. Soon. What will we do then?
We should think about...
Have we made social media sponsorship deals we want to keep hidden from consumers? What will we do if they become public?
Should we make changes to become less reliant on sponsored social media?
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Sources: IZEA 2012
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