#MANG2049 · Topic 4

Who can we trust?

How often do we think before we share anything online?

There are so many ethical issues pertaining to social media. Many of which comes from the ignorance of people utilising social media – us. This means we are vulnerable in exposing ourselves when we leave behind our digital footprint.

Hence, the most impactful ethical issue to me is the issue of misrepresentation. This can come in different forms. You can either misrepresent yourself with what you post online or how brands utilise social media to promote their products. I believe the first links to Topic 2 on having one or multiple online identities. Hence, I would like to address issue on the latter: misrepresentation of products/services via Bloggers.

Time has changed and “brands should turn to Bloggers instead of Celebrity Spokesperson” when promoting their products as they are “much less expensive than a traditional celebrity spokesperson, with day rates that run between $5K – $20K (or even much less, depending on the blogger’s experience and visibility) (Danielle Wiley,2014).

As you can see, Blogs (31.1%) are among the top 3 online services most likely to influence your purchase and “60% of marketers say blog content creation is their top inbound marketing priority.”(HubSpot, 2016

screen-shot-2016-11-11-at-11-01-16-pm

Screenshot via marketingland.com

Question is, how many of you do actually read blog reviews before purchasing? Here is an infographic to show the growing influence of blogs on buying behaviour:

influence-of-blogs-on-purchase-decisions-infographic

Source via Corporate-eye.com

An example of misrepresentation of the services provided is an advertorial for Slim Couture. This brand engaged bloggers like Yan Kay Kay and Xiaxue to promote services offered. However, the brand misrepresent the services provided by asking Yan Kay Kay to post photoshopped photos of the bruises she get after undergoing the treatment. Refer below for reasons:

screen-shot-2016-11-11-at-9-43-28-pm

Screenshot taken from Yan Kay Kay Blog

By doing so, the brand is not being transparent on showing what effects potential users will encounter after undergoing the treatment which leads to not only misrepresenting itself but it may also decrease the credibility of the Blogger. How can we then trust bloggers for their reviews?

Personally, I believe it is unfair for digital ‘Visitors’ to be misrepresented with information on the type of product/service a particular brand promises via bloggers. As much as we would like honest reviews from bloggers, I believe it is still up to us to do our own research be it online or offline before making any purchase. Or better yet have blogger like Xiaxue, in this case, to forgo advertising it altogether.

screen-shot-2016-11-11-at-10-26-27-pm

screen-shot-2016-11-11-at-10-26-36-pm

Screenshots taken via Mumbrella

402 words

References:

(Danielle Wiley,2014) Available onhttp://marketingland.com/brands-turn-bloggers-instead-celebrity-spokespeople-75971 (Accessed on 11 November 2016)

(HubSpot, 2016) Available onhttp://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics (Accessed on 11 November 2016)

(Susan Gunelius,2014) Available on: http://www.corporate-eye.com/main/the-influence-of-blogs-on-purchase-decisions/ (Accessed on 11 November 2016)

(Mumbrella,2014) Available on: http://www.mumbrella.asia/2014/08/singapore-slimming-brand-threatens-legal-action-nuffnang-negative-xiaxue-post/ (Accessed on 11 November 2016)

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Who can we trust?

  1. Hi Juls!

    It is indeed upsetting for any misrepresentations of information that may influence our purchase decision.

    As blogs are among the top 3, perhaps we can assume that there are quite a large number of readers looking to them for honest reviews. Since bloggers are being paid (quite a big sum of $ it seems), do you think there is a percentage of them who would tweak their reviews to look more positive than it actually is? Looking like a happy post about how much they like a certain product, but actually gets paid behind the scenes to act that way?

    I personally believe, there should be a clear distinction of proof to say that it is a sponsored post between them and the company. Though, it is ultimately left to the honesty of the blogger and for readers, themselves to make their own decision. What do you think?

    Dawn

    (150 words)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Dawn!

      Thank you for taking time to comment! 🙂 and I’m sorry for the late reply.

      Well, I believe as companies are more aware that it is much “cheaper” and way easier to penetrate their products/services through Bloggers, there has to be a certain understanding between the two parties. Meaning to say, as much as the brand wants to make their products/services favourable in the eyes of consumers, they should not control reviews given by Bloggers as seen from my post. Though there are protocols to how the Bloggers should do the sponsored review, ultimately the brand should allow any “negative” review given as it is a true representation on the benefits/drawbacks from using the product/service despite paying them to only give “positive” review. Then again, it is subjective as what the Blogger experience may be different from you. For example, you read a review by Blogger A and Blogger B also says only positive things on a facila product. So you bought it based on their reviews. But turns out the product did not work for you. Hence, I believe as much as Bloggers are seen as credible source of information, we should always find other sources before making a purchase, especially on things that is expensive or may put our health at risk.

      Also, I believe whenever Bloggers do sponsored reviews on Instagram for example, they do use the #sponsored or #sp (which means sponsored post) Even in blogs where they will state it is a sponsored post.
      So whenever readers see this, they can make their own judgement as to whether or not the review given can be seen as a credible source. Then again, we would not really know if that is how they really feel or if they are being paid to make the product/service look good. This is why it is always better to do your own research to compare and contrast. Ultimately, we are the final judge. So, it is always good practice to not only trust from one source but to look beyond what is available.

      Like

  2. Hi Juls!
    Your post on the credibility of blogs was interesting and informative! It gave me a better idea of the influence of blogs.
    Misrepresentation, as you said, would be unfair for digital visitors. It takes up more of their time for searching information. If they did not search for other sources of information, they may lose faith in blogs if purchase was not satisfactory. Thus, the credibility of bloggers would decrease.
    With so many people relying on information from blogs for decision-making, it is important for people to be able to know when to stop trusting blogs with low credibility. However, how can we tell if the lack of credibility was not due to accusation or lack of visibility? In this case, would more people would fall back to asking their families and friends?
    I believe that blogs should be considered as just a recommendation. What do you think?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Gin!

      I’m sorry for the late reply and thank you for taking time to comment! 🙂

      I believe the question on credibility is subjective. As all of us are different, what may work for us may not work for others. This goes to show that although the review given by Blogger puts the brand/service under good light, meaning to say it works for them, it does not necessarily mean that it will work for us. This does not affect the credibility of the Blogger as many others out there (not Bloggers) do actually vouch for that particular product/service.

      Having said that, there are cases where Bloggers had to “fake” the entire experience for the product so as to bring attention to a particular brand. In this case, readers need to be careful on such reviews given. And they can do that by doing their own research to see if it’s a fake or honest review. This is why in order to “trust” what Bloggers say, here are some tips on Blogging Credibility: http://www.shoutmeloud.com/blogging-credibility.html

      Also, I do also agree that reviews from Bloggers can be seen as recommendations which is why I emphasised on the need to do extensive research, which also includes asking Family and Friends, should it be purchase made on expensive items or that may risk our health.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s