Communities and Social Media

Beauty Influencers, Marketing, Advertising on Social Media and Authorial Identity


This paper will deal with the understanding of beauty influencers on social media platforms, primarily Instagram, and how the concept of an influencer has become a marketable asset for beauty brands in the promotion of their products. We will analyse the way that influencers interact with their following to create trustworthy bonds between follower and influencer. The way in which an influencers authorial identity and performative identity is represented through various examples will help illustrate the way in which the influencer influences their following through their consistent and inconsistent online identities. With the analysis of the influencer follower relationship, this paper will follow on to use the concept of author-reader contract which will help determine the importance in the way social networking has evolved and easily changes throughout time and throughout events. With the use of the example of Jaclyn Hill’s failed lipstick launch for her cosmetic line Jaclyn Cosmetics (Jaclyn Cosmetics, 2021), we will be able to see an illustration of these ideas and understand the concepts further.


The concept of influencer is commonly known amongst the world of social media and its networking capabilities. According to Crystal Abidin, an influencer is “everyday, ordinary Internet users who accumulate a relatively large following on blogs and social media through the textual and visual narration of their personal lives and lifestyles”(2021, para. 29). She follows this definition by explaining an influencer is a person who interacts and engages with their followers whilst obtaining financial profits from advertising products for companies on their social media platforms (2021, para. 29). The influencer, therefore, has a level of reliance on their following which shows that there is a building of trust between the influencer and follower when it comes to promoting and advertising products. Establés, Guerrero-Pico, & Contreras-Espinosa state that, “the most popular influencers increasingly depend on the industry to maintain their professional activity at the cost of seeing the complicity with their audience diminished”(2019, p. 220). We can therefore understand that whilst influencers promote and advertise brands within the beauty community, their online identity and communication with their followers may easily be damaged through the risk of breaking the unwritten contract between the consumer and the influencer. As a case study, this paper will analyse the case of Jaclyn Hill and the release of her lipstick collection in 2019 and how her social media presence and identity was damaged on Twitter and Instagram through the promotion and reception of her own cosmetic brand “Jaclyn Cosmetics” (Jaclyn Cosmetics, 2021). Therefore this conference paper will argue that beauty influencers interact with consumers to promote beauty and lifestyle brands using the affordances of YouTube and Instagram platforms to encourage sales and promote their own online identity however this new way of social networking may break away from an “author-reader contract” between the consumer and the influencer.

The concept of a beauty and lifestyle influencer can be seen in the way that their online identity is portrayed as relatable whilst being interactive within social media platforms which reinforces strategic relationships between the influencer and their audience. “According to a survey by Cosmetics Europe, about 51 percent of consumers find information on cosmetic brands’ websites, blogs, social media networks, beauty tips forums, and smartphone applications, which the cosmetic brands use to connect with consumers”(Siti Hasnah Hassan, et al. 2021. p. 2). This shows that there are many platforms that rely on social media to communicate with audiences. However, for these brands to be fruitful in their marketing strategies, they are often reliant on using popular influencers that agree to promote their products in exchange for a percentage of money from the sales. In this case, we are looking at beauty influencers on Instagram. According to Konstantopoulou, Rizomyliotis, Konstantoulaki, and Badahdah, “When consumers trust influencers, they accept recommendations that could alter their purchasing decisions”(2019. p. 311). Therefore, the relationship between the influencer who is promoting the product and the consumer who is at the same time often a follower and supporter of the influencer consists of mutual trust between each party. Furthermore, “For companies to establish a good relationship with their customer base, it is important they work with influencers who are trusted by most of the target audience”(Konstantopoulou, et al. 2019. p. 311). 

As an example of a relationship between a beauty influencer promoting a brand and product on Instagram, we can look at posts such as reality tv star social media influencer Abbie Chatfield who promoted in an Instagram post from the 26th of February 2021 the famous makeup brand Benefit in which she expresses how much she loves their new eyelash products where she states “Lashes are so long and full thanks to my @benefitaustralia They’re Real! Mascara”(Chatfield, 2021). We can also see the exact same photo of her holding the products on Benefit Australia’s own Instagram page in which they show a more informational caption promoting the product and its effectiveness whilst promising that their client (Abbie Chatfield) also adores their product which is why they should purchase it.

With the emergence of the ‘beauty influencer,’ there is a level of effectiveness in using influencers who promote beauty and lifestyle in their everyday lives. Influencers with beauty and lifestyle social media pages habitually are a great source of marketisation in that it reinforces the trust and communication between the influencer and brand and the consumer/follower. Kádekova and Holienčinová state that “Even though influencer marketing is a relatively new strategy, it continues to be a viable solution for marketers who are willing to think outside the box while building relationships with their target market” (2018. p. 91). Therefore, with the example of social media platform Instagram and its affordances in relation to the promotion of beauty products through the use of beauty influencers, we can see that it is essential for the consumer to trust, engage and communicate with the influencer and their brand promotions for there to be an effective marketing strategy for sales within the brand.

Within the “beauty community” which is commonly linked to influencers who interact and communicate with their audiences and followers, we are able to see the foundations in which the influencer influences and attracts people who have similar interests or who are new to the topic of beauty. It is also apparent that whilst beauty influencers are promoting beauty tips and lifestyle tips, they commonly use tools to remind their audiences that social media platforms are not ‘reality’, thus creating a more trustworthy approach towards gaining their followers trust and keeping their integrity on their social media platforms. According to Martensen, Brockenhuus-Schack and Lauritsen, there are two essential components that brands try to find in social media presences when it comes to trying to market their products and having an influencer that will be able to live up to the challenge of promoting products despite having to disclose the paid ad on the post (2018. p. 337). These two components are “The Source Credibility Model” and the “Source Attractiveness Model” (2018. p. 337). These two models relate to the influencers ability to engage and captivate the audience and guarantee sales and involvement from the followers and “Though there are many personal qualities marketers favor influencers to possess, each of the source models narrow the list down to the attributes that make influencers most persuasive”(2018. p. 337).

With the example of Holly Hagan on Instagram, we are able to see an influencer with a large following of 3.8 million followers. In her post from the 13th of July 2020, we can see her promoting and advertising a giveaway to her followers for the brand Doll Beauty in which she reposts a caption from @_dollbeauty who state that they have teamed up with the influencer and are giving followers a chance to win a prize from their beauty line (Hagan. 2020).  With this example, we are able to see that the influencer, Holly Hagan has let her brand deal with Doll Beauty be advertised in a way that shows that she is in a partnership with the brand and shows the audience that she herself has complete trust in the brand (Doll Beauty, 2021). She achieves this by promoting a giveaway of the brands products, and promoting herself through the brand as a collaboration between the influencer and a high sought-after brand. We can therefore see, that the influencer puts trust and gains trust in her online identity. However, whilst Holly Hagan shows a seemingly trustworthy and professional approach to her brand deal and Instagram post promoting makeup, we can question whether her online identity can be seen as performing identity (Hagan, 2020). According to Lillian Lem Atanga, “Georgalou notes that performing identity is not a matter of articulating a single identity, but of mobilizing a whole repertoire of momentarily positioned identity features”(2018. p. 303). Therefore, when we examine the Instagram page of Holly Hagan we can determine that whilst she promotes many lifestyle and beauty posts, there is only a small amount of posts that promote makeup and cosmetics that are not paid partnerships compared to posts that are gifted or personal products. Therefore, with the inconsistency of her identity in the beauty area and her sudden admiration for a brand, we can think of this as performing identity in a way that may show a shift in the way that the influencer interacts and communicates with their audience. This therefore comes across as inconsistent as she is only promoting brands that are giving her a percentage of money from the sales and the advertising she is providing. Whilst performing identity is not a negative attribute, it can contribute to the breaking of trust between the influencer and the follower.

Inconsistency within the way that social media influencers portray themselves through their relationship with their followers can be compared to the idea of the author-reader contract. According to Tierney and LaZansky “Assuming that there is at least an attempt made by an author to communicate a message, and by a reader to interpret that message, it then seems reasonable to assume that there is an implicit contract between author and reader­—a contract which defines the role of each in relation to the text”(1980. p. 606). In this case, the influencer is the author and the follower is the reader. With the influencer posting on Instagram, there is an unwritten agreement in which the influencer is meant to promote and post content that is true, trustworthy and disclaimed of any relevant information that could be false. When the author (influencer) breaks the trust of the reader (follower), it can be linked to the concept of the breaking of the author-reader contract that can be found in untrustworthy acts that compromise the influencer’s credibility and reputation. Examples of broken author-reader contracts on Instagram within the beauty industry include false advertisements in which influencers will post about a product that goes against their usual values and identity, as well as advertising products and brands that have received backlash in the past or have been controversial.  This brings us to the concept of cancel culture. According to Eve Ng “digital practices often follow a trajectory of being initially embraced as empowering to being denounced as emblematic of digital ills”(2020. p. 621). Whilst a beauty influencer is able to be empowering and be looked up to by their following, cancel culture has brought along the quick shift in which an influencer can break the author-reader contract but is unable to come back from these events or mistakes. This can therefore show that their online identity and performing identity is tarnished and shows that social media and its new way of networking and communicating within distinct platforms, can show a very different side to the way that people communicate and interact with brands that promote products that rely on the influencer as a marketing ploy for their company.

To illustrate the concepts above, we shall be looking at the case of Jaclyn Hill and the first launch of her cosmetics line Jaclyn Cosmetics in 2019 (Jaclyn Cosmetics, 2021). On the 24th of May 2019, Jaclyn Hill posted a YouTube video entitled “Introducing Jaclyn Cosmetics” (Hill, 2019). In this video, Jaclyn announces that her very own makeup brand is launching and that she will be starting her collection with a lipstick launch in which she will be releasing 20 lipsticks to introduce her followers and fans to the brand (Hill, 2019). Unfortunately, shortly after the release of her lipsticks, reviews started to emerge stating that the lipsticks were faulty, had small plastic bubbles in them and fluffy white fibres (Ilchi, 2019). Whilst her main promotion of the lipsticks was on Instagram and YouTube, which is where she started her journey as an online beauty influencer, most of the backlash concerning her lipsticks was in fact found on Twitter. Many statements followed by proof pictures were posted with captions such as “Why is my @jaclyncosmetics Decaf lipstick clumpy?? @JaclynHill this can’t be ok right??” (Ilchi, 2019). From this backlash, Jaclyn Hill was considered to have lost all credibility in her authorial identity as a YouTube and Instagram influencer. She was therefore labelled through this backlash as “cancelled”. According to Georgina Laud “Cancel culture is a term which has been growing in popularity in recent months, with public figures facing widespread criticism often termed as “being cancelled” across social media”(2020. para. 2). In relation to the author-reader contract and the way she has portrayed her online identity and advertising of her own brand, we can see that whilst she was attached to her own social media platforms as an influencer, she equally attached her identity to the brand. Whilst being shown as an influencer and brand owner, she lost credibility when she broke the trust that she had created through her platforms. The use of Twitter being prominent in this case could implicate that it is the fastest way to communicate with influencers and call out inconsistent behaviours or events. According to Nasir and Whitehead “brands and customer satisfaction are both positively related to users’ behavioural loyalty”(2016. p. 743). Whilst Jaclyn Hill had created a loyal and engaging following, she still broke the values that she had been preaching on her platforms for a long amount of time. Therefore as Nisar and Whitehead stated, the way in which consumers interact with a brand and their loyalty to it, heavily influences their behaviour towards the brand and its products. Through the affordances of Youtube and Instagram, Jaclyn Hill was able to promote her own brand which would be a source of trust within her following as she was responsible for the company itself. However, she broke the author-reader contract which therefore made her authorial identity and social media presence unreliable and inconsistent (Hill, 2019). This way of networking shows that the consumer and provider have strong reliability on each other for which beauty brands and advertising on social media can be made redundant through the way in which an influencers online identity is portrayed and which values and performing identity they choose to pursue.


In conclusion, beauty influencers interact with consumers to promote beauty and lifestyle brands using the affordances of YouTube and Instagram platforms to encourage sales and promote their own online identity, however, this new way of social networking may break away from an “author-reader contract” between the consumer and the influencer. Whilst social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter have shown that influencers use these platforms to market and promote brands and deals that have been offered to them, we are able to see that influencers can easily break away from their perceived identity and performing identity which in turn shows the breaking of trust and credibility between the follower (consumer) and influencer. This may bring the questioning of the genuineness of the ideology of an influencer and how this may affect different demographics within their following. Whilst the promotion of beauty brands is often seen in beauty influencers, the way in which the follower and the influencer communicate and portray their online identity shows that brands heavily rely on influencers to promote their products even to the detriment of the influencer’s authorial identity within their social media platforms.

References :

Abidin, C. (2021). From “Networked Publics” to “Refracted Publics”: A Companion Framework for Researching “Below the Radar” Studies. Social Media + Society.

Atanga, L. (2018). Mariza Georgalou, Discourse and identity on Facebook: How we use language and multimodality to present identity online.. Language in Society, 47(2), 303-304. doi:10.1017/S0047404518000106

Chatfield, A. [@abbiechatfield]. (2021, February 26).Lashes so long and full thanks to my @benefitaustralia They’re Real! Magnetic Mascara, used with my Benefit brow pencil Precisely, My Brow and Gimme Brow gel. #AD[photograph]. Instagram.

Doll Beauty. (2021). Doll Beauty.

Establés, M., Guerrero-Pico, M., & Contreras-Espinosa, R. (2019). Gamers, writers and social media influencers: professionalisation processes among teenagers. Revista Latina De Comunicación Social, (74), 214-236.

Hagan, H. [@hollygshore]. (2020, July 13). DOLL BEAUTY X @hollygshore GIVEAWAY. We’ve teamed up with @hollygshore to give 2 of you the chance to win Holly’s complete Doll Beauty look![photograph]. Instagram.

Hill, J. (2019). INTRODUCING JACLYN COSMETICS! [YouTube Video]. In YouTube.

Ilchi, L. (2019, July 2). Jaclyn Hill Cosmetics Drama: Everything to Know. WWD; WWD.

Jaclyn Cosmetics. (2021). Jaclyn Cosmetics.


Konstantopoulou, A., Rizomyliotis, I., Konstantoulaki, K., & Badahdah, R. (2019). Improving SMEs’ competitiveness with the use of instagram influencer advertising and eWOM. International Journal of Organizational Analysis, 27(2), 308-321. doi:

Laud, G. (2020, Jul 08). Cancel culture definition: What does cancel culture mean? What is cancel culture? Express (Online)

 Martensen, A., Brockenhuus-Schack Sofia, & Lauritsen, Z. A. (2018). How citizen influencers persuade their followers. Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, 22(3), 335-353.

Ng, E. (2020). No Grand Pronouncements Here…: Reflections on Cancel Culture and Digital Media Participation. Television & New Media, 21(6), 621–627.

Nisar, T. M., & Whitehead, C. (2016). Brand interactions and social media: Enhancing user loyalty through social networking sites. Computers in Human Behavior, 62, 743-753.

Siti, H. H., Teo, S. Z., Ramayah, T., & Al-Kumaim, N. (2021). The credibility of social media beauty gurus in young millennials’ cosmetic product choice. PLoS One, 16(3)

Tierney, R., & LaZansky, J. (1980). The Rights and Responsibilities of Readers and Writers: A Contractual Agreement. Language Arts, 57(6), 606-613. Retrieved from

19 thoughts on “Beauty Influencers, Marketing, Advertising on Social Media and Authorial Identity

  1. Hi Emma,

    I really enjoyed reading your paper. As a view that watched the whole Jaclyn Hill lipstick fiasco unfold in 2019, I was blown away by the amount of backlash, criticism and damage that happened to Jaclyn’s personal brand.

    That situation is also similar to Susan Yara from Mixed Makeup’s failed ‘launch’. Susan anonymously launched her skin care brand without telling any of her viewers. She then further promoted the brand across her social channels about how ‘amazing’ the products are. Months later when she announced she was the owner of the brand, Susan received so much criticism and backlash for misleading her followers and lying.

    Therefore, I definitely agree that influencers promoting beauty products can make their followers question their authenticity as well as their credibility. Unfortunately I don’t trust influencers when they recommend a product and skip YouTube videos when I see #Ad. I now look to industry experts for advice on beauty such as dermatologists and makeup artists for product recommendations.

    Do you agree that influencers have increasingly become untrustworthy?

    Feel free to give my paper a read, it’s about Social Media Influencers and the formation of identities

  2. Hi Emma! A great paper and really relevant topic, you’ve written this paper really well!
    Personally, I’m heavily involved within the beauty influencer community, especially on Instagram and YouTube, whilst also currently studying marketing specialising in social media, so your paper definitely stood out to me! I definitely agree with the points you’ve raised throughout your paper, influencer marketing has begun to take over some more traditional methods and is proving successful especially when targeting the younger generations. However, it is also a tricky game to play, as authenticity and consumer trust can suddenly take control, especially with the rise of cancel culture as you mentioned.

    I’ve done a fair amount of research into this area and I’m really intrigued to know what you personally look for and trust when you search for information regarding products on social media platforms. I saw another comment on your paper mention Australian consumer law, and the requirement for influencer’s to make it known when they are being paid to advertise a particular product. Do you believe this is a good system to have in place? Or only damaging for a brand, as influencer’s could really genuinely like a product but the stigma of ‘#ad’ can make consumers disregard their posts.

    Once again, great paper and best of luck! Caitlin

    1. Hi Caitlin!

      Thanks for your comment!

      I do think that these laws are important and should actually be revised to be more prominent within social media posts. I think it helps show people that they are being shown an advertisement and that it is not just a random product that the influencer has chosen to show. I don’t think product placement is bad necessarily but I think that it can diminish the way we look at an influencers credibility or authorial identity online when they are not being honest about the brand payout.

      Hope that helps!


    2. Hi Caitlin,

      I think your comment regarding consumer perception of social media advertising and stating if a post is sponsored or not highlights the importance of the relationship between the influencer and their consumers in which Emma discussed in her paper. Considering the integrity of the influencer and the brand they are working with impacts the ways in which a consumer will respond to sponsored content (Lee & Kim, 2020). Although the disclose of content being sponsored can lead to a decrease in the effectiveness of the advertising material, high credibility is able to counteract this leading to message acceptance and a reduction in persuasion resistance (Lee & Kim, 2020).

      Lee, S., & Kim, E. (2020). Influencer marketing on Instagram: How sponsorship disclosure, influencer credibility, and brand credibility impact the effectiveness of Instagram promotional post. Journal Of Global Fashion Marketing, 11(3), 232-249. doi: 10.1080/20932685.2020.1752766

  3. Hi Emma!
    This was very interesting to read and very insightful. I totally agree that promoting beauty products via their social media channels can hinder and restrain their authenticity as well as their credibility. I’ve seen too many influencers promote products on Instagram and this really steers me away from engaging with their content as it makes me question whether they genuinely believe in the product they’re promoting or if it’s purely business-oriented.

    You mentioned the case of Jaclyn Hill which I found to be very interesting as it really puts into perspective how quickly someone’s followings and the community they’ve built can fall due to the choices they make and what they chose to post about. I think because of this, influencers tend to portray themselves in a way that is accepted by their followers as they’ve invested all their time into building their followers.

    On YouTube, I’ve come across a few YouTubers who, when promoting a product, put the hashtag #ad where it is visible to their audiences. For me personally, when I see these ads, I automatically skip the ads as it makes me question whether they really believe in the product or whether they’re doing this mainly for monetary benefits. I really enjoyed reading your paper and you’ve brought up a lot of good points!

    1. Hi Saranya!

      Thank you for your comment on my paper,

      i do agree with you on how influencers really work to build a following, and how it takes time and dedication. It is really interesting to think that social media is quite a delicate space. Especially with the rise of cancel culture, influencers are not offered second chances often or if they are, it takes a long time to be forgiven and to earn that trust back, which was very apparent in the case of Jaclyn Hill.

      Have a great day!


  4. Hi Emma!
    As someone who follows certain Influencers within the beauty community, I found your paper very interesting.
    With your mention of Jaclyn Hill I immediately thought of her lipstick mishap. I never really watched her before, during or after this but have realised I have not heard anything about her since this!
    I think the author-reader contract is so important for Influencers as it can make or break their career. Cancel culture can be so harsh that, more often than not, you never see or hear of these people again. I know I have looked at some brands that have been promoted and thought whether the product is actually good or if they have even used it before.
    When I think of cancel culture I think mainly of James Charles. A while ago I know he had issues with Tati Westbrook (who I follow and watch) but she has not appeared on any social media since this.
    Do you think there is any way that canceled Influencers within this extreme community can rebuild their status?

    1. Hi Alicia!

      Thank you for your insight. I completely agree with you on the way cancel culture can be so damaging and so scary for influencers.
      I also followed the Tati Westbrook and James Charles scandal and I remember it being one of the biggest controversies on Youtube. I find it interesting how Youtubers will post videos to defend themselves and show “receipts”. It really shows how communities online have really shifted in the way that we must protect our own identities when they are being compromised or outed as false. Whilst I don’t always agree with cancel culture I think that it does form new perspectives on the way we trust influencers and their content. I could almost compare Youtube as being a new form of reality TV where people follow drama for their own entertainment. I think it is sad though as Youtube once was so relaxed and full of information and positivity.

      Hope you have a great day!

      Emma 🙂

  5. Hi Emma,

    Thanks for sharing the link to your paper with me, I am really glad I got to read it! I completely agree that the influencers can hinder their authenticity by promoting a performative identity via their social media channels. It’s pretty fascinating how a person can spend such a long time building a following and a trusted community for it to all fall so quickly- like the case of Jaclyn Hill. I also agree with the sentiment that an influencers genuineness can be affected by advertising which tarnishes the relationship between influencer and their audience.

    One thing that I do see a lot on social media sites with influencers is that if they are promoting a paid sponsorship or partnership, as per the Federal Trade Commission, they have to use the hashtag ‘#ad’ in their post so that the audience knows that they are receiving monetary benefits. For me when I see this, I am instantly deterred from the product as I know the influencer is promoting for monetary gain, despite whether they actually use the product or not. What are your thoughts on influencers who post about products that are not their own brands? Do you think they consider their own values and beliefs before promoting it, or just do so for their personal gain?

    Thanks Emma!

    1. Hi Megan!

      Thank you for your response,

      In relation to your question, I think it really relates to the way an influencer presents their online identity, whether it be performative or not. I think some influencers often will try to portray themselves as something and then end up being categorised as that sole identity that they have been showing the world through social media platfroms. I do agree with you on how it is really hard to trust influencers when they actively use sponsorships to promote products that you would have never pictured them using (this is visible in the Holly Hagan case I mentioned in my paper).
      Furthermore, Adrian Stoicescu states “There is a great debate around the ways identity is shaped online, mainly as a result of understanding the online as networked individuals (2015. p. 68). I think whilst we forget that influencers sometimes use social media platforms are their primary source of income, brand deals are also part of that income, I guess it can be likened to TV advertisements during shows or movies. We watch a specific channel and have expectations of entertainment but we accept that there will be advertisements as this is a big part of their income.

      Hope this helped 🙂
      Let me know if you have further quesions!

      All the best


  6. Hi Emma!
    I think this is a great discussion of how and why we trust influencers despite their role as salespeople. I also love the discussion of Jaclyn Hill as it was such an interesting situation to watch unfold. You briefly touched on the idea that each social media platform is distinct from one another. Do you feel like YouTube or Instagram offers different advantages for influencers in comparison to other platforms?

    1. Hi Grace!

      Thanks for your response,

      I think Youtube and Instagram are heavily used together by influencers, which I think make them almost more effective for certain influencers especially beauty Influencers. Take the example of Emma’ Rectangle on Youtube:

      And then her use of Instagram reels:

      We can see just how much she uses both platforms to further promote herself and her values. I think it is the consistency that we are able to see that really helps show how Youtube and Instagram really link in the way that Instagram has the affordances of creating reels (mini videos) which is likened to the way Youtube operates through the video format.

      Hope this was useful 🙂

      All the best,


  7. Hi Emma,
    This is Wen. I totally agree with the point regarding to the influencers authorial identity and performative identity, especially on social media and the cyberspace, since the relationship between the two identities and social media is that the online presence of influencers can be treated as the influencers’ “face”. This is because most of the followers probably might not have seen the influencers in person, but the followers follow influencers on social media is because of the content.
    Do you think that other than product-related content, the negative personal news of the influencers can also be a factor that could damge the brand images of the influencers’ client? Since I believe that followers are not only after the product content, but also the personality and lifestyle of the influencers.
    Feel free to discuss my paper with me! I would love to see your perspectives on my paper!
    Here is the URL that will redirect you to my paper:
    Thank you for writing this content for the conference! I really enjoyed reading and discussing with you.

    1. Hi Wen!

      Thank you for your response,

      I think there are a lot of factors that can diminish credibility in an influencer. I don’t think per se that it would be the product placement itself that would make an influencer lose their followers’ trust, but more the way they portray what they are showing their audience. I think that online identity can be compromised through greed and through the way that some people are easily talked into going against their values. For example, if we would see a beauty influencer post about a discount on cars or on video games, it would be a little suspicious as it is not part of their usual content.

      Hope that helps!


  8. Hi Emma,

    I really enjoyed reading your paper. The concept of influencers promoting beauty brands through social media has always interested me. It is a stark shift from previously utilising well-known celebrities in traditional forms of media, like television advertisements, to now utilising everyday people who appeal to consumers with a more personal approach. I agree with your sentiment that the consumer will, however, need to trust the influencer promoting the product, in order for this marketing strategy to prove beneficial.

    I find it interesting that it may take time to build up a community or group of followers, but this trust can be broken very quickly, if the consumer feels as though the influencer has lost their credibility, particularly in the case of Jaclyn Hill. I believe that having a strong community is imperative to being a ‘successful’ influencer. Do you think that once this community no longer trusts the influencer, that this then affects their identity, particularly the one they have depicted to their following?

    Thank you for sharing your insights on this pertinent topic!
    – Rebecca

    1. Hi Rebecca,

      Thank you for your response!
      In relation to your question, I do think that online identity and trust can affect each other in positive and negative ways. I think that we truly live in a world of cancel culture and that when an online influencer makes a drastic mistake the identity they worked so hard on to build is very much damaged. I think that because we put so much trust in an influencer who is essentially a person we do not even know personally, we expect them to be genuine and to be relatable, as is one of the main goals for influencers.

      In the case of Jaclyn Hill, I definitely think she had to rebuild her credibility brick by brick, and took about two years before people actually started trusting her again. It’s funny because I personally think she gained the trust back by coming out with new products for her line which is what made her lose a huge amount of following in the first place when her 2019 lipstick vault failed.

      Thanks again for your comment! I really liked the way you perceived my paper!

      Emma 🙂

      1. Hi Emma,

        Thank you for coming back with your perspective on the question. It’s definitely an interesting yet complex topic, so thank you for shedding some light on it! 🙂

        – Rebecca

        1. Hi Rebecca

          No worries! I would be interested in reading your paper, would you be able to share the URL to it if you’re okay with that? 🙂


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *