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Influencer Marketing and the Importance of Authenticity

Photo credit: Lena Terlutter

 

It is perhaps the most well-known and highly regarded attribute of the influencer marketing industry, and yet a highly-vocal group of people still have been calling it into question. Authenticity: It may sound like an overused buzzword, but the perceived honesty and integrity of an influencer is an instrumental factor in the success of any related campaign. It could be argued that it is the guiding principle behind the billion-dollar industry and that its success depends on it.

In this week’s blog, we want to clear up the myth that influencer marketing is inauthentic while offering you tips on how you can ensure your collaborations remain truthful to your audience and to your brand. We have created this guide with current world events in mind to stress the importance of remaining authentic in these uncertain times. As social media use increases, it’s never been more important for influencers to operate with openness, kindness, and integrity and for brands to support this tact wholeheartedly. 

 

How to Ensure Your Campaign Is Authentic

At the start of every campaign, you will need to have outlined your goals and decided which Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will be measured to gauge performance. We recommend broadening your perspective when it comes to KPIs – while measuring click-through rates or sales might seem necessary, measuring the engagement generated by sponsored posts may indicate that your message has hit a nerve and could signify longevity or growing brand affinity. Adopt a holistic approach to the process and you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised.

If you want to be certain that your brand message or advertisement reaches the right online audience, then the desire to create meaningful partnerships with influencers is a necessity. After all, it is mutually beneficial for both you and your ambassadors to sharing a relatable story that resonates with your brands’ message.. Storytelling is an essential aspect of marketing, and with influencers acting as a trusted storyteller to their audience, you must do all you can to ensure that the narrative is believable.

 

Choose an Influencer Who Tells Your Story in His/Her Way

This is why first and foremost, you must select the right influencer to share your story. Important points to consider are who has a following of your target group, how often do they post advertisements and whether or not they cooperate with direct competitors. It’s also worth looking into their brand or product loyalty. Do they have a proven track record of retaining long-term collaborations or do they exhibit tendencies to swap and change what brands they represent? 

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Collabary platform screenshot: Brand Affinity

The Collabary Brand Affinity represents the value of mentions, tags, and hashtags of the respective brands in the content creator’s feed.

Additionally, Collabary has implemented the Ads to Content Ratio recently that shows the ratio between content the creator has marked as advertisements and all of the creator’s posts.

Depending on your campaign, either could be beneficial if they are trusted by their followers you want to collaborate with people who are true to themselves and are celebrated for it. Developing long-term collaborations with influencers can have major benefits on how authentic audiences perceive your campaigns to be. Over time, your relationships and trust with your influencers will grow, and this mutual respect will be evident in the content.

To help increase your chances of sparking a potential long-term partnership, it’s worth doing some thorough investigation about any details that are publically available about the influencers you are considering. With current world events in mind, we advocate collaborations with influencers who have a proven track record of displaying sensitivity and empathy and this should be taken into consideration. 

 

Best practice: How To Find the Perfect Fit

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Photo credit: Michi Brandl

For example, research into popular German influencer Michi Brandl would yield results that display that active charity endorsement alongside her ambassador work. This was most recently seen after the death of Michi and her boyfriend’s dog Peanut. While being open about her grief, Michi asked her audience to help raise funds for a new shelter at the Romanian animal welfare organization she adopted her dog through. It’s gestures like these that prove why good influencer marketing is so effective. Influencers are human, they are nuanced and three-dimensional.

This also highlights the need to cover your bases when it comes to understanding who your collaborators are, the kinds of lifestyles they endorse and whether there are any justifiable negative perceptions about them. What is important is that you understand how the influencer and their audience interact and that they aren’t just instruments for advertising – they are actively engaged in world events and their opinions matter to their followers.

 

Best Practice: How To Share Informational Content

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Photo credit: Franziska von Hardenberg

Consider Franziska von Hardenberg, who holds a unique perspective on the current global situation due to her brother living in China and her father being a doctor. Alongside continuing to endorse her own jewelry line, she continues to share her informed observations with her followers. Her message is clearly being well received, as her following has grown by roughly 3k in this month alone.

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Collabary platform screenshot: sissihardenbergs follower growth

This proves that influencers tend to have their fingers to the pulse of the zeitgeist and can use their platform to inspire conversations about everything from world events to products to great effect. The best-case scenario is presenting the audience with a message that is intriguing and inspiring, yet not out of place. 

 

Best Practice: How To Share Inspirational Content

Another great way to maximize the perception that your product is authentic to the influencer is by opting for an influencer-driven content marketing strategy. This essentially means that while you may brief influencers on your specific targets, requests, limitations, and desires for their content, you hand over creative control of how the influencers choose to display your product so that it meets your demands but the content retains their own individual flair. Your ambassadors’ uniqueness is one of their most valuable attributes, so why not let it shine? 

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Photo credit: Lena Terlutter

With this in mind, we must acknowledge that current circumstances may limit the degree to which influencers can create content that is visually diverse. That is not to say that keeping posts fresh is beyond possibility though, as influencer Lena Terlutter has been proving over the last week. Without missing a beat, Lena has routinely posted a blend of sponsored pictures and intimate snapshots that provide her followers with some much-needed normality and distraction, all the while maintaining her creative flair. These times may be challenging, but you can have faith that influencers like Lena will rise to the challenge when it comes to keeping audiences engaged in an authentic way.

 

Summary

Just because there are certain limitations in place that we must all abide by, this doesn’t mean our campaigns have to come to a halt. If there was ever a time that shows that influencers are authentic and relatable, now is the time. 

The usage of social media is going to continue to be extremely high, meaning that there is a real hunger for content. While both influencers and brands should try to keep their content schedules on track, it’s also important to be conscious about what to share and how to communicate this

 

What’s Next?

If you want to find the right influencer to promote your brand in an authentic way or have any other questions or concerns please get in touch with us at hello@collabary.com. Additionally, if you don’t want to miss our weekly blog post, subscribe to our newsletter here.