Too perfect, too smooth, too unreal: the influencers who embrace unrealistic aesthetics are no longer popular. Now in order to win over followers, it’s all about being authentic, even if that means being imperfect and vulnerable. In short, you have to be a ’genuinfluencers.’

Beyond product placement

This term was coined by trend forecasting company WGSN by mixing ’genuine’ and ’influencer.’ It refers to the social network stars who use their platforms to go beyond product placement.

"The genuinfluencer does not specialise in fashion, beauty or lifestyle content," WGSN’s Cassandra Napoli explains to the Guardian. Instead, these content creators "spread important information that can keep people informed." This includes health recommendations, but also how to use the platform’s latest features.

According to Hilary Williams Dunlap, senior vice president of talent at Digital Brand Architects, a digital marketing agency, interviewed by Vogue, "the landscape has completely changed in regard to who is considered a person of influence and how we define that term."

Engaging rather than perfect

A new generation of influencers is gaining traction by being engaging rather than perfect. And today, being too ’aspirational’ — meaning retouched — is flat out considered off-putting by many members of Generation Z.

Transparency is also required. Influencers can easily find themselves under fire if they use the wrong term, or exhibit behavior that is at odds with the highly informed Generation Z. Essentially, an authenticity that reflects one’s followers.