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Fire influencer content led to a not-so-fire Fyre Festival

by Holly Kay | 01.02.2019

Unless you’ve been on a desert island or are on a Netflix and chill detox, you’ve probably seen Fyre: The Greatest Festival That Never Happened.  

The documentary demonstrated the power influencer marketing holds. Throw the world’s top ten supermodels together on what was once Pablo Escobar’s desert island, sit back and watch your festival sell out. A dream come true? More like a nightmare.

Fyre festival organiser Billy McFarland is now in prison for fraud after guests arrived expecting luxury food, travel, accommodation and entertainment. What they got instead was a rash of mosquito bites, cheese sandwiches and waterlogged tents.

The documentary has been received with a gleeful sense of schadenfreude by viewers. Is there anything more enjoyable than glorifying in the misfortune of others? But the repercussions of Fyre Festival were not only disappointed guests and wasted dollars – many labourers worked long hours and received no payment. Many influencers too have been left with damaged reputations, for promoting a product that didn’t follow through on its promise.

While the documentary has achieved a near cult status in the short weeks it’s been live on Netflix, it has cast a dark reflection on the reality of Instagram advertising. Brands and consumers alike have seen for themselves that with enough followers, choice camera angles and the ability to generate hype, influencers can sell a web of lies to even the savviest consumer.

Social media marketers must be cautious when hiring influencers, or risk promoting a false dream with damaging repercussions.

The Three R’s guide to influencer marketing

1. Research

When sourcing influencers, make sure they truly believe in your product. Audiences are becoming increasingly savvy when it comes to #AD content, especially in the aftermath of disaster like Fyre festival. Macro influencers can charge a fortune for a product or event endorsement and of course there is value in this. Your brand can achieve huge reach, but what is the long-term impact for your brand image?

Are the influencers who endorse your product credible? Will they be promoting a competitor’s product in two months’ time? If so reality check, they’re just not that loyal and neither are the followers they could bring to your Instagram account. Responsibility

2. Responsibility

We, as social media managers have a responsibility to consider the repercussions of influencer marketing. From a detox teabag to a farce festival, we should not recruit influencers to promote products which have damaging repercussions for audiences. Influencers should be honest with audiences, who have a right to fully understand the product and the brand influencers are partnering with. If the influencer doesn’t believe in your brand or your product, they don’t make the cut.

3. Regulation

Regulation = honesty. We’ve all seen #AD #Sponsored and paid partnerships, but how often do we see this on an Instagram story? As regulations tighten, we need to ensure influencers are transparent with their audience at all times and in all forms of content.

If you want to know how to perfect your influencer marketing strategy, get in touch. And remember – even the world’s hottest supermodels can’t polish a turd.