How to Prevent Influencer Social Media Scandals with AI-Based Screening Tools

Influencers and content creators have quickly become a key component of any business’s marketing strategy. In fact, the influencer marketing industry as a whole is expected to become a $24 billion industry by the end of 2024. And, according to the 2024 Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report, over 60% of brands work with more than 10 influencers, and 14% of those work with over 1,000 influencers.

With influencer marketing growing so significantly, how can businesses be certain that the creators they work with will add value to their brand? How can they trust an influencer to be a key partner in their marketing strategy? 

How can they be sure that a creator’s online history or even current behaviors won’t impact their brand’s own online presence or their relationship with the market? That’s where social media screening steps in to protect brand reputation and ensure businesses have the right creators on their team. 

Why Brand Reputation Matters

Branding is a business’ way of telling consumers who the company is, what they care about, and what they have to offer. It’s also a business’ way to signal what types of people would make ideal customers.

While most people think about branding in terms of a brand voice, tagline, or logo, ultimately everything a business does becomes part of its brand. That includes people business hires, how they engage with customers, partners they work with, content they publish, and so much more. 

Just as businesses create brands to target ideal customers, consumers similarly look at brands and their actions to make purchasing decisions. It’s now well known that most consumers make purchasing decisions based on how a brand aligns with their values. That’s why it’s more important than ever to prioritize brand image and reputation in all aspects of a business – including when building an influencer program and hiring creators for campaigns. 

When Influencer Marketing goes well, it  can be a key driving force behind this consumer behavior. According to Square, “43% of young consumers said they’re willing to purchase a product based on an influencer’s recommendation, and 49% said they like shopping directly on social media.” The data shows just how impactful influencer marketing is for consumer behaviors, and brands have already taken note. 

With so many decisions being made from creators and the content they share online, it’s important for brands to carefully consider how working with the influencer will impact their brand. Maintaining a strong reputation creates trust with consumers, which also increases  brand loyalty. 

Warren Buffet famously said, “it takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minus to ruin it.” The same is true when brands make bad choices of who they partner with.  When consumers discover that a brand previously supported a movement or creator that goes against their own values, those brands are likely  to see consumers turn to other competitors. 

WIth all of this in mind, a strong online presence can greatly impact public perceptions of a brand. And, as people turn to social media to find information or discover new brands, reputation management is vital for businesses to stay competitive. The brand ambassadors businesses hire impacts credibility and loyalty with their target market. 

What Happens When Brands Work with Influencers Who Have a Bad Digital Footprint?

When brands work with influencers and creators, the goal is for the creator to act as a representative of the brand. In other words, the influencer’s actions on and offline impact the brand’s reputation and profitability, even if the behavior didn’t occur during the time of the partnership. As people live more of their lives online than ever before, the content influencers create provide great insight into who they are, what they care about, and how they will reflect on your brand. That’s why the content influencers create is a representation of the brand’s image, even though it’s not coming from the brand itself and even if the content wasn’t even published during the time of the partnership. The creators themselves are acting as an extension of the brand – and what the brand cares about, how they treat people, and what their values are.

But what happens when brands work with influencers whose digital history doesn’t align with the brand’s goals or values? What if brands partner with creators who are met with backlash from their viewers – whether for current or past actions?

Take Logan Paul, for example, who is a popular online creator with over 23 million followers on YouTube, over 18 million followers on TikTok, and 16 million followers on Facebook. After beginning creating content in 2014, he grew his following so quickly and so much that he was able to jump from influencer to actor – appearing in music videos, video games, television shows, and more. In 2017, Paul posted a video of himself and friends laughing about finding a dead body in what’s known as the “Suicide Forest” in Japan. This video, needless to say, received a large amount of fallout, including Google’s decision to demonetize his YouTube videos. The fallout was so severe that Planeless Pictures, a production company that Paul was supposed to work with, sued him after the company lost a multimillion-dollar deal directly related to that 2017 video.

Paul, once again, made headlines for another public scandal in 2018 when he posted videos of himself committing acts of animal cruelty – tasering dead rats and pulling fish out of water to “perform CPR.” Although these actions are many years old, the effects of them continue to tarnish his own brand image. 

All of these misconduct allegations bring creators like Logan Paul and the brands that sponsor them into a negative light. While the right influencer can enhance a brand image; the wrong one can be a PR and even legal nightmare. 

Because influencers are extensions of the brands who hire them, influencers with a history of misconduct are a warning worth considering. Businesses like Planeless Pictures have had to deal with the damaging results. 

Types of Influencer Misconduct to Look for in Online Content

When it comes to identifying misconduct in an influencer or creator's content, companies that work with influencers have a nearly insurmountable task. In addition to needing to sift through likely thousands of posts across a handful of social media platforms and thousands of sources across the web, they’ll need to look through the creator’s past content and behavior the same way a consumer would to ensure alignment with brand’s standards so the creator doesn’t present their company in a negative light.

Some factors and questions to consider include:

  • Core Subject Matter: Does the voice of the brand and the voice of the influencer align? 
  • Competitors: Has the influencer recently promoted a competitor? 
  • Negative Mentions of Their Brand: Has the influencer publicly posted negative content about a brand, its employees, or its products?
  • Discriminatory, Harassing, or Combative Behavior: Does the influencer treat others respectfully on social media? Are they sharing discriminatory or hateful remarks? Are they harassing people online?
  • Threatening or Violent Behavior: Does the creator have a history of posting threats or violent content? Are they encouraging others to or committing acts of violence themselves? 

Each of these factors are important questions when considering a partnership with an influencer. And, having a reliable and consistent solution to find the answers to these questions quickly and cost-effectively is empowering. 

Many leading brands are finding the answer in online screening software. These tools can effectively analyze thousands of posts in just a few minutes. In fact, this type of technology does a remarkable job at making tedious processes more efficient, including screening social media profiles. 

By conducting a thorough social media screening, brands can gain better insight into the influencer they might be working with. And, if their values both align and there aren’t any red flags that show up during the screening, they might just reduce the likelihood of a social media scandal

How AI Prevents Influencer and Creator Social Media Scandals 

To break through a certain niche or reach a target audience, influencer marketing seems to be the perfect solution. While it’s an effective tactic, brands need to be certain that they’re working with the right people. Not only creators who are relevant in their niche, but those who are great people in general, have a good track record for online content, and don’t have a scandalous digital footprint.

But, screening online profiles requires a lot of tedious work. Done manually, it can take several hours just to screen one profile. Most companies don’t have that kind of time on their hands. Fortunately, social media screening tools can save 9 hours of screening time just on a single TikTok profile alone and be a pivotal step in preventing brands from working with the wrong influencers and creators. 

Since influencers have significant influence on a brand and their buyers, brands need to ensure they’re turning over every stone when screening influencers and creators. 

With AI social media screening, brands can rest assured that the candidates they choose to work with will be a positive addition to their marketing strategy – and not a detractor or PR nightmare. This type of technology identifies misconduct across a wide variety of social media platforms and over a long period of time, providing a necessary layer of certainty that a creator won’t hinder their brand reputation. 

By thoroughly screening influencers and creators for misconduct like violence, threats, harassment, intolerance, and more in their content, brands can ensure that influencers are going to not just promote their product or service in a positive way but reflect well on their brand as a whole. If the influencer’s history aligns with brand values, is clear from scandals or misconduct, and indicates that the partnership will be a good fit, then they should be given a green light to work together. 

The bottom line is influencer marketing isn’t going anywhere, and brands need to take action to ensure they’re working with trusted creators. That’s why social media screening tools are so powerful. AI screening tools are like immune cells for a digital world that’s just one post away from going viral. And, with consumers, employees, and even shareholders watching a brand’s every move, these advanced online and social media screening solutions are  your first line of defense.

Fama Technologies is a leading provider of online screening solutions that help businesses ensure they’re working with trusted people, including social media influencers and creators. Our technology has the ability to scan public profiles and uncover misconduct like discrimination, harassment, and violence. 

If you want to minimize the risk of a social media scandal when teaming up with a creator, get in touch with the Fama team to learn more about our social media screening technology!