Addressing the Implicit Influencer Bias Problem
Thu, April 22, 2021

Addressing the Implicit Influencer Bias Problem

The world of the influencer will remain. It will continue to be one of the current generation’s main sources of entertainment from here on out / Photo by: Diego Cervo via Shutterstock

 

The world of the influencer will remain. It will continue to be one of the current generation’s main sources of entertainment from here on out, which means it’s also on track to possibly having one of the worst systems to operate. 

It’s happening right this moment; every click that Instagram gets fuels them to push their own implicit bias on their audiences. If you think this is an overreaction, it’s really not. Instagram is battling something called implicit bias, and it’s the reason there is no level playing field when it comes to this line of work. 


A Discussion on Inclusivity 

Isn’t the audience clamor for inclusivity loud enough? Maybe if we boom-boxed it outside every major company’s building, they’ll get the message that this is something that we care about. What’s this situation of the major audiences receiving inclusive representation in television and streaming platforms while at the same time having an almost invisible presence on social media, more specifically Instagram?

AdWeek, a leading website for news and insight in the sphere of marketing, explains that this implicit bias is so apparent that anyone who’s on Instagram right now in the discover section (if you’re the type to follow influencers) will see that most of these influencers are white and blonde. 

It’s not just what we see, either, it’s what we hear, too. People of color will gladly share how much less income they make compared to their white counterparts for the same amount of effort. Regardless of true popularity, Instagram will always fall back into pushing white influencers into public attention. 

Now, if you’re a white influencer, it’s not your fault at all that Instagram feels you are more worthy of attention from this very distracted generation / Photo by: Maders via Shutterstock

 

Now, if you’re a white influencer, it’s not your fault at all that Instagram feels you are more worthy of attention from this very distracted generation. However, there is something to be said about the overall easier life that is afforded by white people, even in this aspect. So to try and change all that, the change has to come from the marketers themselves. 

AdWeek explains that marketers often view people of color as a “risk,” which means that they are less likely prospects for ads and campaigns because marketers think “they aren’t brand-aligned.” 

This thinking is wrong right from the start, and it’s destroying anyone who just wants to make sure that everyone is treated fairly in the industry. 

Those that have made headway into this effort for a more inclusive market and consumer-base are brands like Fenty, Outdoor Voices, and Reebok. The key is focusing on the goal of empowerment; focus on the fact that there is a need to “understand that diversity and inclusion are at the forefront of culture.”

Can Influencer Agencies Fix It? 

It’s not hard to see that the trajectory of this particular industry is only ever going up. That Italian eCampus course even proved that so lucrative was influencer marketing that they actually set up a course that would hope to grow wave after wave of influencers for the world of marketing. 

This is where the addition of influencer agencies muddies the mix a little--if we can’t wholly trust algorithms, maybe turning to influencer agencies who make it their job to push influencers will be a better option? 

Joseph Rauch, content marketing manager for Public Goods, wrote in an article for business magazine Forbes that companies would do well to not put all their eggs in that particular basket just yet.

Like other companies, Public Goods understood that this shift did not come out of nowhere, and that the reason influencers exist and their influence is valued is because people genuinely feel as though there is something about them that speaks to them. 

With this belief, Public Goods eventually hired an influencer agency. 

It’s not hard to see that the trajectory of this particular industry is only ever going up / Photo by: Daxiao Productions via Shutterstock

 

“Our Instagram followers increased from around 10,000 to more than 50,000 — an impressive figure for an early-stage startup,” Rauch shares proudly, but he also said that things got financially challenging really quickly, and soon they needed to let the agency go. 

According to him, the agency may have done the heavy-lifting (e.g. looking for influencers to hook them up with), but the budget allocated to it later revealed itself to be incongruent with the number of products they were sending the influencers. 

In the end, Public Goods decided to just hire an in-house influencer, pick up what they learned from the influencer agency's strategies in growing Public Goods’ social media engagement to 50,000, and commit to it. 

In addition, according to Search Customer Experience, delivering all the advice you need for the best practices in customer experience, there should be a standard for anyone who wants to be an influencer in this era, and those standards need to be set by the companies who want to work with them. 


At the top of this is the topic of authenticity, which is only fully fulfilled if we circle back to the initial discussion that inclusivity now goes hand-in-hand with authenticity in social media. The world is not just composed of white people in the real world, and social media sites should understand that.