UAE influencers losing popularity over "too many" promotional posts

Sarwat Nasir
Filed on November 23, 2019 | Last updated on November 23, 2019 at 03.55 pm
uae influencers, popularity, promotional, social media, posts, followers

79 per cent of social media users in the UAE and Saudi Arabia have unfollowed influencers this year.

Influencers are being urged to "be honest" in their social media reviews and limit the number of promotional posts to retain trust with their followers.

The comments from residents and other influencers follow a survey released last week that showed 79 per cent of social media users in the UAE and Saudi Arabia have unfollowed influencers this year due to excessive promotional posts and contrasting value and ethics.

Carried out by BPG Group and YouGov, the survey questioned 1,000 UAE and Saudi residents, aged 18 to 35-years-old, to highlight consumers view about social media influencers. Results showed that 59 per cent of users are less likely to trust an influencer review if they have been paid to advertise it; and 73 per cent of them can actually tell if the influencer's content is paid for.

Farida Israil, a travel, lifestyle and health influencer with over 23,500 followers on her Instagram, said: "In today's competitive social media market retention is crucial. And there are so many reason people stop following brands or social media influencers - commercial content is definitely one of them. The most important thing to remember is that followers expect high quality content that fits their interests and if influencers stick to their niche and create their content honestly and authentically your audience will keep following you.

"Social media is a conversation channel and as long as an influencer doesn't overwhelm the followers with continuous promotional and brand updates it shouldn't be problem. I feel influencers should focus more on engaging content to increase the brands reach organically."

A UAE influencer with over 9,000 Instagram followers and over 17,000 members on her Facebook UAE Mums group, Hena Khan, said she does not allow adverts in her Facebook group to keep members experience at a premium.

"Too many ads spam the group just like when we are watching our favourite television shows and we hate the many ads in between, so we make sure that members experience is not hindered by spams and unwanted adverts," Khan said.

"I also suggest influencers to be honest in your reviews as nothing disappoints followers more when they realise that the review was not honest. At the same time moderate content as I have experienced too many posts lead to followers checking unfollow. Sometimes I get carried away when I travel and post a lot and followers drop."

A Dubai resident and social media user, Nargis Bilal, said she "doesn't trust" the reviews posted by influencers.

"Most of the things some influencers post and say on their social media seems very scripted. I'm sure many are honest but I wouldn't necessary rush down to a restaurant being recommended by an influencer as I've found that it doesn't really live up to expectations or to how it was being promoted," she said. "I've not started unfollowing influencers who post too many promotions posts because I'm not really interested in seeing them."

And Arif Ladhabhoy, the business director at BPG Group, said that they survey confirms that content is the key factor driving consumers to follow influencers.

"Numbers still affect perception and trust, with a majority stating that they trust Macro-influencers the most, however, content still remains priority," he said. "There's no longer room for shallow content that fails to resonate with consumers or for advertising content that masquerades as authentic content. Brands and influencers have to invest in developing content that resonates and connects with consumers."

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