Unilever Calls for Increased Transparency among Social Media Influencers & Marketers

Transparency is an issue of growing importance in online spheres, particularly in regards to social media marketing and those paid to promote products on these platforms. However it seems it is not only consumers who are beginning to take a stand against online influencers who engage in the purchasing of followers, the use of bots, and a number of other “shady” business practices; advertisers too are joining the cause.

Img: Judgefloro 
One such advertiser is Unilever, whose sheer scale, influence and purchasing power makes them ideally placed to force through some change in the industry. In a statement released on Monday 18th June the company, which owns several major brands including Lynx, Dove and Hellmann’s, announced three ongoing commitments aimed at increasing visibility and transparency on social platforms:
  • Transparency from Influencers: We will not work with influencers who buy followers.
  • Transparency from Brands: Our brands will never buy followers.
  • Transparency from Platforms: We will prioritise partners who increase transparency and help eradicate bad practices throughout the whole ecosystem.
Unilever CMO Keith Weed commented, “In February, I said we needed to rebuild trust back into our digital ecosystems and wider society. One of the ways we can do that is to increase integrity and transparency in the influencer space. We need to address this through responsible content, responsible platforms and responsible infrastructure.

“At Unilever, we believe influencers are an important way to reach consumers and grow our brands. Their power comes from a deep, authentic and direct connection with people, but certain practices like buying followers can easily undermine these relationships. Today we are announcing clear commitments to support and maintain the authenticity and trust of influencer marketing.

“The key to improving the situation is three-fold: cleaning up the influencer ecosystem by removing misleading engagement; making brands and influencers more aware of the use of dishonest practices; and improving transparency from social platforms to help brands measure impact. We need to take urgent action now to rebuild trust before it’s gone forever.”

Such change is undoubtedly needed as social platforms evolve and begin to dominate more and more of our time and attention. Whether Unilever’s brunt is enough to make a significant impact on its own is a question I cannot yet answer, but hopefully other influential advertisers will answer the rallying call and help to force through change for the better.

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