Here's what you should look out for when deciding if you should trust an influencer

It’s easy once you know.
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BLOGGERS AND INFLUENCERS have put through the wringer the last few weeks, haven’t they?

First, there was Bullying/Photoshop/FaceTune-gate – you can read up on its origins here.

Then, YouTuber and digital influencer Elle Darby faced the wrath of The White Moose Cafe, after she asked for a free hotel stay. Yeah, we don’t need to talk about how that went down.

At the minute, it seems like they’re public enemy number one. Like most things, it’s very much a case of a few rotten apples. Their are fantastic content creators and influencers, particularly in Ireland – to dismiss them as all con artists or chancers undermines the good work they do.

However, there’s still a lot of deception within the industry, from photo manipulation to rigged social media competitions, right back to a lack of disclosure when it comes marking sponsored content and advertisements.

Here’s all the signs that the Snapchatter you love is actually a trustworthy person:

1. Their automatic response isn’t to block you when you ask them something.

No, this does not mean when you write to them telling them their hair looks mank or say that their dress is very low-cut. Influencers are entitled to block anyone that is purely sending them abuse (as is everyone on the internet). But if you write to your fave asking who won last week’s giveaway on Instagram, or perhaps to confirm if they are being paid to talk about this new shampoo and you’re hit with a block? That’s a lil’ shady.

2. They don’t buy followers.

SocialBlade is your one-stop-shop for sussing whether a blogger is a blagard. It shows you the number of followers an influencer has gained or lost over a certain period of time on Instagram.

SoSueMe's profile on SocialBlade

And while it doesn’t specifically show that the followers have been bought, it’s pretty easy to deduce yourself.

Three thousand new followers on Thursday? From Saudi Arabia, no less? Hmmmmmmm.

3. They don’t (overly!) edit their pictures.

Photoshop wouldn’t exist if it didn’t serve some kind of worthwhile purpose. Sometimes, your photos just need an extra hand. Sometimes, things just need to look a bit snazzier. Sometimes, wearing a dog filter makes you feel good and cute. That’s grand. It should be hoped that people have enough cop on to recognise that the sparkles on their heads aren’t real.

Some followers aren’t as wised-up to the extent that some

Ultimately though, if they are promoting a product, or associated with a lifestyle, it’s important that they are 100% transparent about their product. So, if they’re uploading images of themselves promoting a foundation, the image should clearly show what the foundation looks like on the skin, without FaceTune (meaning you will be able to see pores and flaws).

If they are promoting an active lifestyle, or documenting a weight loss journey, they will be open about posting unedited body shots or videos. An easy trick for spotting Photo-shopped pics is to check for bends or curves in the background. (It’s also a bit suss when they CONSTANTLY take photos against white backgrounds – it’s because they’re easy to edit out!)

4. They should clearly label sponsored and paid-for content with the hashtags #spon or #ad.

There should be absolutely zero shame associated with getting paid for your work. But some bloggers are reluctant to clearly mark their content as such, due to the perception that it’s not a genuine recommendation if they’re being paid. Some of them tuck away text blocks from the naked eye, some don’t denote it at all.

If an influencer is doing their thing and bringing you lovely, clearly-labelled spon-con (as in, in the caption, not buried in the comments) as well as their own original musings, they’re more than likely a good egg.

The same goes for PR drops – i.e. when they’re sent stuff for free.

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