The Kardashians are undoubtedly one of the most famous families in the world. They blazed the trail for a new kind of celebrity: the influencer.
In the face of an economic recession, climate crisis, and historically high levels of existential dread, the public’s tastes in, and expectations of, celebrity influencers has begun to shift. In a surprising turn, the Kris Jenner-led Kardashian empire is having trouble keeping up. What’s happening? And what in the world does that have to do with your content marketing strategy? More than you think.
Let’s go down the Kardashian rabbit hole to find the other side:
The Downfall of Perfectly Polished Content
For the last two decades The Kardashians have had a deep and lasting impact on our culture. In an Instagram era driven by over-edited, filter-perfect, precisely-curated content, the Kardashian family dominated, then defined the fame game. Through a series of strategically planned and executed PR moves, the Kardashians bravely put their entire lives on display for public consumption. They came to define what was in, important, and of the moment. From fashion to makeup, detox tea to Ozempic, they became the beauty standard and successfully influenced hundreds of millions of people – and made billions and billions of dollars.
Lately, we the public are less and less enamoured with the Kardashian Klan’s antics, deciding that exposure without vulnerability is boring.
In 2022, the Kardashians’ perfectly curated public image began to show cracks in a series of mistakes. At one point, Kim K advised that, to be successful, women needed to simply, “get [their] f**cking ass up and work.” The internet quickly noted how this out-of-touch comment was a blatant refusal to acknowledge the role of wealth and nepotism in the growth of their family’s empire.
As if that’s not enough, the Kardashians’ constant photoshopping continues to enforce unrealistic and unhealthy body image standards. One Ohio-based content creator, Mik Zazon, pointed out that even in photos that seem more “authentic” for the Kardashians, like an image of Kim showing her psoriasis, true authenticity isn’t really their motivation. Zazon notes, “They’re sharing photos that seem to be candid and effortless to show that they are human too, yet putting extreme filters on photos and videos to uphold their image.”
In their newest television series, The Kardashians, the curated and “unscripted” formula that brought them to fame has left a bad taste in the mouths of even some of their biggest fans. The Kardashians have become unrelatable to viewers: from Kylie’s “feud” with internet darling Selena Gomez, to Kim’s rapid weight loss to squeeze into Marilyn Monroe’s dress, to Kendall not knowing how to cut a cucumber, the narrative they share doesn’t jive with the real world.
They’re struggling to stay relevant to their audience, and their polished, abundant, consumeristic lives are a little (or a big) bit beyond comprehension for the new generation to connect with.
The Move to Authenticity
We’re seeing a massive trend toward authenticity in social media content. It’s the unedited, honest photos and videos that are grabbing attention — for personal and professional accounts.
People of all ages are rapidly joining Gen Z on TikTok to access and to offer real advice, true stories and snippets of genuine daily moments. Instagram is becoming more about posting what is happening in the moment, and less about crafting a perfectly-scripted feed. Let’s not forget about BeReal, the app that captures an authentic, unfiltered snapshot of a user’s life at different times each day. Authenticity is trending.
It’s Time To Be You!
The Kardashians can no longer keep up with the new TikTok, BeReal generation because the new wave of authentic content is no longer interested in the Kardashian-curated influencer standard. But you absolutely can keep up.
Here’s how: Obviously following the example of our Kardashian friends is not working. For your business to stay relevant, it’s crucial to say goodbye to picture-perfect, inauthentic content. Which isn’t even that fun to make, anyway.
Your audience is full of real people with real problems — just like you! Create content that connects with these folks around their pain points and priorities and positions you as a trusted guide who can walk alongside them as they achieve their goals. Just like in any relationship, authenticity is crucial for building trust with your followers.
Our top tips for fostering authenticity in your online presence:
- Be timely. Plan your content and batch your content creation. But! Be prepared to pivot or interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to respond to current events and trends. Be nimble. Stay relevant.
- Show up as you. The people want to see you — the real you! Get comfortable with being on camera, even on a less-than-great hair day. In the world of social media, real trumps perfect.
- Don’t rely on stock photos and video. As often as possible, post real, original content instead of over-polished stock assets that aren’t unique to your brand. (Yes, we can tell.)
- Reveal the nitty gritty. Go behind the scenes and reveal interesting details about your work that your competitors don’t. Show how your product is made. Take candid video and share it. Give the people what they want!
- Live and breathe your values. Name and share your company values and, more importantly, show your audience how you’re living them out. Avoid being performative on your socials: Don’t say you care about climate change without demonstrating what you’re doing to eliminate your product’s packaging waste.
- Engage with your audience. Like and reply to those comments, write back to that DM, and share posts you’re tagged in. Value your audience; don’t take their engagement for granted!
The Kardashian way of doing things — pretending to be perfect, refusing to be vulnerable, consuming in excess, blindness to privilege, bending the truth to keep up appearances, manipulating audiences — is out. It’s time to keep up with the current way of content — be real, express your authenticity, and show your audience the truth of who you are.