Beauty brands and social media influencers – growing scepticism ?

Many beauty products marketeers are slightly besotted with the role of social media influencers and the role that bloggers and vloggers can play in conveying product and brand messages. However, caution is required as recent research highlights growing consumer scepticism and maybe even a potential erosion of trust – particularly where influencers are used indiscriminately or inappropriately. Furthermore, there are signs that more traditional tools ( such as in-store expert counter staff or good tech ) can convey more trusted and persuasive trends, product or brand information.

So maybe it’s time to reflect again on the role of social media influencers and to consider a more nuanced approach.

Trusted sources are key

Mintel recently reported on an extensive survey of UK beauty buyers of all ages to identify where buyers look for product information and trends, plus which sources were considered as a ‘trusted source’.

It highlighted that beauty bloggers and vloggers are recognised as a trusted source for beauty information but there is scepticism about their objectivity and value :

  • Over half (56%) of BPC shoppers felt their influence was over-rated.
  • Over half agreed that they could give dangerous advice.
  • ( Not surprisingly ) trust in social media influencers was higher among younger consumers – 39% of 16-24 women trust bloggers/vloggers whereas only 6% of 45-64s do.

Why the scepticism ?

Simply, 64% agreed that ‘anyone can be one’; 57% agreed ‘it’s difficult to know if one is sponsored’ and 52% agreed ‘too many bloggers/vloggers collaborate with brands’ – i.e many consumers are confused about ‘sponsorship’ and suspicion impacts trust (and effectiveness).

Who is a ‘trusted source’ ?

Unfashionable as it may appear, the survey highlighted the importance of :

  • In-store information for trends and products.
  • Counter staff, make up artists’ roles play as a trusted source of beauty information and influence.

When asked ‘Who do you trust the most for beauty / grooming advice ?’, in-store counter staff easily came out top (30%), double the ranking for bloggers/vloggers.

  • Older consumers are even more influenced by the more ‘traditional’ sources as they seek relevant brand ambassadors who represent their interests. Not surprisingly, only 3% of 65+ trust bloggers/vloggers.

So maybe expert human advice delivered in person and in store is coming back into fashion – was it ever not ? – supplemented by good in-store technology where diagnostics of ‘what product is right for me’ can add value.

Beauty brand owners take note and respond to the nuances in influences across the age spectrum.

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