Influencer marketing has come a long way in a short period. Today, it has become an essential part of the marketing mix for a lot of brands. The COVID-19 pandemic changed consumer behaviour drastically and lockdowns forced people to stay inside their homes. As a result, the average daily smartphone usage per person went up by almost 25%, i.e. from 4.9 hours a day on average in 2019 to 7 hours in 2020. With the increase in smartphone usage, the number of influencers also grew to cater to the increased viewership.
With the unprecedented rise of influencer marketing, it has become more critical than ever for influencers to focus on authenticity. Amidst the sea of content and content creators, being authentic and transparent is the best way to set yourself apart from the competition and gain goodwill. This article will help you understand what you can do as an influencer to maintain authenticity and transparency in your content. So, let’s get to know more about it!
Marketing Technology News: MarTech Interview with Eric Vermillion, CEO at Helpshift
Why does Influencer Authenticity matter?
There is growing scepticism in the minds of consumers towards traditional advertising methods. Traditional advertising has almost been a one-sided communication. The brand managers control brand images and communication. Consumers are passive recipients of information that the brand chooses to provide.
But now, consumers are looking for active interaction and genuine information. Brand- controlled communication is giving way to the free flow of information. Monologues are now being turned into dialogues.
Influencers help brands solve these problems and communicate effectively with their target audience. But, the consumers are also becoming sceptical towards influencers. The main reason for the scepticism is their lack of authenticity and trust.
The audience knows that influencers make a good living by promoting brands online. So, they start to question these promotions. They want more authenticity from the influencer as opposed to sponsored posts. The relationship between an influencer and their follower is of trust. If you’re unauthentic in your content, then you shatter that trust.
How can Influencers maintain Authenticity and transparency?
There are many things you can do as an influencer that will diminish your authenticity. Such things might seem normal to you, but they can have your followers questioning their trust in you. Let us take a look at a few things that can make your followers question your authenticity. We will also discuss how you can avoid them and maintain your credibility.
● Limit your Sponsored Posts
Are you an influencer who continuously posts sponsored content? If yes, then you’re likely to lose your authenticity and trustworthiness. If you are only posting sponsored content, your followers will feel that making money is your only goal. It is not different from traditional marketing campaigns that lack public trust nowadays. The major reasons that people follow influencers are their content, personality, and authenticity. They are not following you for your Promotions!
It would be best to limit your sponsored content. The ideal way would be to figure out a healthy ratio that works well with your audience. For example, you can decide that you will do one sponsored post for every seven authentic posts. With such a practice, you won’t bombard your audience with sponsored content and compromise your authenticity.
● Stick to your Style
Your followers care a lot about the quality and composition of your pictures. Every influencer has a unique style of images and profile layout. It is essential to stick to that style. Sponsored content and product promotions that don’t fit your content’s overall theme are quickly identified as fake. Your audience can also start questioning your content if your pictures are not in a real-life context. Maintaining transparency about the products that you endorse is extremely important. Please ensure that you stand by your original and unique style while posting sponsored content. It should look and feel just like any other post of yours. It must go with the overall aesthetic and theme of your profile.
● Be Creative, Be Mindful
Many influencers make the mistake of copying the exact instructions given by the brand. In in most cases, brands do not give detailed instructions that you need to follow correctly. They usually provide guidelines and benchmarks that the sponsored content must adhere to. Most brands understand that influencers need to have some room for creativity to frame the message to connect better with their audience.
But, if you’re just posting your sponsor’s message verbatim without going through it, your the audience will see through that. They will see your low involvement with your posts and the brand in general. This will lower your authenticity as an influencer.
To avoid this, make sure to read the instructions from your sponsor carefully. Brands usually don’t give out the exact words you have to type or say in your post. So, you should have the creative freedom to frame the sponsored content in a way that will connect with your specific audience. Use that creative freedom to create content that does not sound ‘sales-y’ and align with your other content. Be mindful of your audience and what they expect from you!
The global influencer marketing industry will grow from USD 6 billion in 2020 to USD 24.1 billion by 2025. This means that more and more influencers will appear across all platforms. You must maintain your authenticity and credibility as an influencer, now more than ever. Use the suggestions given in this article to set yourself apart from the rest and be an authentic influencer.
Marketing Technology News: MarTech Interview with Myles Kleeger, President & Chief Customer Officer at Braze