Can You Believe Anything an RV Influencer Says?
With the rise in popularity of RV living, aspiring RV influencers are popping up left and right. Each RVer has their own take on this mobile lifestyle, and they all have advice to give and products to share. So how do you know who you can trust? Should you believe anything an RV influencer says? Let’s find out.
What Is an RV Influencer?
An RV influencer is someone with an online presence trying to influence other RVers with their content. You’ll often find RV influencers on YouTube and social media, but many of them have popular blogs as well.
They may share their travel adventures in the hopes of inspiring fellow wanderers or offer their expertise by sharing “how-to” videos and informational blogs. Additionally, these influencers promote products and services for the RV industry.
Why Do People Listen to RV Influencers?
According to a 2019 survey of more than 33,000 people from 27 countries, 61% of people find the information credible if it’s from a person similar to themselves. Meaning, ordinary Joe is more likely to trust ordinary Jane than a celebrity. Is it any wonder, then, that RVers listen to RV influencers?
What’s more, this same survey revealed that 63% of people trust what an influencer says about a brand over what the brand says about itself. If an RV influencer touts a product as being reliable, people are likely to believe it. Yet if the manufacturer says their product is reliable, more than half of consumers will be skeptical.
RVers know that their favorite influencers have been in the trenches. They’ve tested and failed, tried and succeeded. An RV influencer’s personal experience will trump corporate marketing just about every time.
Can You Trust RV Influencers?
In the Forbes article, “Can We Trust Social Media Influencers?” the author, Peter Suciu, makes an excellent point. He writes, “A bigger concern for consumers isn’t who is doing the influencing, but whether we can trust the influence they have when it comes to marketing products.”
One of the appeals of being an influencer is the ability to get paid for promoting products. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to make money. There’s also nothing wrong with wanting to influence culture or an industry. The problem lies in one’s ability to maintain integrity as influence and bank accounts grow.
Unfortunately, some RV influencers will share anything and everything as long as they get paid to do it and their fame increases. This separates the wheat from the chaff. Trustworthy influencers will only share products and services they love, use, and find beneficial.
How Can I Tell If an Influencer Can’t Be Trusted?
Most RV influencers are well-intentioned. They simply want to share their knowledge and experiences with others. But some influencers seek power while neglecting their responsibility to their audience. Here’s how you can tell if an influencer can or can’t be trusted.
Identify Paid Promotions Versus Regular Content
RVers have to make a living just like anyone else. Many RVers, especially full-timers, will partially or fully fund their travels via paid promotions or affiliate marketing. While this doesn’t automatically negate their credibility, it’s wise to remember that money and motives are often intertwined.
You should be able to distinguish between someone making an unpaid personal recommendation and someone who makes money promoting a product or service. The easiest way to tell is to look for disclosure statements. Honest influencers will clearly disclose paid relationships with a product or service.
Bloggers, for instance, must place a disclosure statement in plain sight on every page that contains an affiliate link. On social media, RV influencers should make it clear when their post is an advertisement or sponsored post. Usually, you’ll see hashtags like “#ad” or “#sponsored” at the beginning of the post. YouTubers should also disclose paid promotions at the beginning of their videos.
The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) requires these disclosures. They should be easy to understand and locate. If a disclosure statement is vague or missing altogether, it’s a red flag.
Examine the Full Profile
The number of followers, subscribers, and “likes” is not the be-all, end-all of an influencer’s trustworthiness. Sensationalism sells. You’ll find quite a bit of nonsense on the internet that gains a lot of attention, while a whole lot of quality information goes unnoticed.
Of course, if an RV influencer has gained a significant following, they might very well have something important to say. But you’ll need to do more investigating. We recommend examining their full profile.
Scroll through the influencer’s blog, YouTube channel, and social media pages. Read their about pages. Did they just hit the road, or have they been RVing for several years? Do they have experience or credentials that would make them an authority? See how much of their content is paid promotions and sales pitches versus general travel and RV advice. If it doesn’t feel balanced and authentic, beware.
Note the Influencer’s Transparency
When it comes to transparency, look for three things. First, look for the disclosure statements we mentioned earlier. Second, find out if the influencer personally uses the product or services they’re touting. If they don’t, this is a warning sign that they may be promoting the product for financial gain only. Thirdly, the influencer should give an honest review, including both the pros and cons. No product or service is perfect. If an RVer only has good things to say, be wary.
Fact Check Their Statements
RV influencer or not, it’s always best to use logic and reason when determining if someone is trustworthy. Does the advice seem sound? If so, great! But you may want to fact-check their statements anyway.
For example, if several RV influencers recommend the same procedure for dumping your holding tanks, you can probably assume it works. If an influencer claims their RV fridge cools in one hour, check the manufacturer’s website. Do they make the same claim? Have other RVers had the same experience? No? The RVer’s refrigerator claim might be purely anecdotal.
Common Sense Goes a Long Way
Can you believe anything an RV influencer says? Anything, probably not. But generally speaking, you can believe most of what most RV influencers say.
Use common sense, do your research, and follow RVers who resonate with your camping style and personal values. And if you do find trustworthy influencers, be sure to share their content with others. Which RV influencers do you trust to give you honest reviews?
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