Young Women See Straight Through Wannabe Influencers

Anyone working with millennial women, or who has Gen Z daughters, will know there is only game in town right now on television. "Love Island" is back on ITV2 and office conversations turn to perfect six-packs and dazzling outfits. I have it on good authority that some boxer's son is in there and is particularly handsome.

It's also the time when influencers come under the microscope, either for already being huge on Instagram before entering the Mallorcan villa looking for love (or at least airtime) or a "celebrity" in the making, shaping up to be the new big name brands will come to once the show ends. 

However, new research from Bustle Digital Group is interesting because it dispels a myth about young women but also shines a light on what today's media-savvy young consumers expect from this nascent marketing channel.

To cut to the chase, the idea that everyone at the water cooler at work chatting about fit bodies and bikinis to die for is not tuning into social media awaiting direct instructions on what they should invest their wages on next time they are online are at the mall.

Three in four Gen Z and millennial women reveal they do not follow any of the Love Island "stars" on social media and would not be inclined to buy something recommended by them. 

Indeed, when asked about what makes an influencer authentic, the number of followers they have featured is very low on the list for just one in seven respondents.

Instead, for around half of the audience, the person being an unfiltered authentic character with talent stood out as the main reason to believe what an influencer has to say. Hence, 78% of those surveyed said they believe in influencers who "keep it real."

It's important to reflect on these findings because the young women being surveyed here are not saying they don't trust influencers. They are revealing that they understand how the business works. A good-looking man or woman does something that makes them get a bunch of social media followers and they immediately open up their account for brands that want to turn that following into a fake tan or nail polish sales. 

Reading between the lines, what the respondents are saying is that quite rightly, they don't trust this Z list celebrity approach to turning their social media accounts into a market stall.

What they do trust, and are prepared to listen to, are authentic experts who are willing to put their name to a campaign. Off the top of my head, I guess we're thinking about a real pop star saying what makeup or tanning lotion they use, for real, or a makeup expert to the stars giving away trade secrets.

It's that kind of authority that consumers are looking for to filter out the guys and girls who shoot to fame and open up their social accounts to the highest bidder before disappearing into the ether.

It's a sobering story for any executives who think that the only game in town is a pretty or handsome face and a huge following.

People want authority and talent, not the latest Z-lister.

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