Authenticity vs. conformity on social media

As Instagram continues to grow, its services continue to expand. The recent addition of the sliding poll only reinforces this fact – as well as another: Instagram is now fully open, and equipped, to allow influencers and brands to adapt their content strategy, based on data and feedback, ensuring that what they give out, is actually wanted by those it’s intended.

Social media was invented as a way for us to express our subjectivity in an objective world, but the age of influencers has given rise to mass market trends that sweep much vaster crops of consumers than any other form of marketing we’ve seen before, so in many ways, conformity is trending. Luckily for brands, if you’re giving your consumers what they want, conformity is as positive as it gets: the more people who jump on a trend bandwagon, the better.

Now that our houses are governed by voice activated dictators, Alexa and Siri, it’s pretty likely that our world is getting closer to the computer-generated existence Sci-Fi experts have been predicting forever, and perhaps at a quicker rate than previously imagined. You really have to look no further than the comfort of your own sofa at the moment, to be greeted by Sky Atlantic’s Westworld: a dystopic, computer generated world where robots end up being the ones in charge. The idea of a fake or artificial reality is still one that understandably terrifies us, especially given the rate at which we’re hurtling towards a reality where it becomes difficult to distinguish between what’s “real” and what isn’t – see the internet’s first CGI fashion influencer @lilmiquela to have your definition of reality truly scrambled. For those scratching their heads, Miquela is (or was) the world’s first computer generated influencer – and musician – who’s Instagram account was created in April 2016, and has now gone on to amass over 1 million followers; she also has two singles on Spotify. As you do.

Influencers however, are definitely not scared of this new age of reality, they’re embracing it; they are becoming the leaders they were always destined to be. Influencers are aware that their individuality, authenticity and originality is what makes them successful and most importantly, real; it is this reality that drives their importance. Influencers are aware that their originality is key to their following, which is exactly why they are giving up some of their creative control to their followers. That statement might sound contradictive, but influencers have realised that the higher their engagement is, the more likely it is bigger and better brands will work with them, and the bigger and better the brand, the more likely it is they will be given opportunity to do things their own, original way.

So, when it comes down to it – are we seeing authentic or conformist content when it comes to influencer marketing? Our opinion is that one actually feeds into the other. At the core of everything we do, there’s an authentic influencer creating genuine content that fits right into their grid, channel, platform. But, as we’ve discussed, there is – and quite rightly so – a conformist consumer (whether it be brands or followers) feeding back into those influencer’s content strategies. In other words, influencers are able create genuinely authentic content by conforming to what is it their consumers want to see.