The Importance of Authentic Influencers in 2016
Authenticity isn’t always considered as part of a marketing strategy, but it should be. There are those who believe in paying for influence and those who opt for a more genuine, valuable exchange of ideas. Aligning with the right influencers who match a brand’s persona is one of the most important elements of a successful influencer marketing campaign, and the process works even better if a brand’s working with someone who organically believes in what they’re endorsing.
Today’s marketers are on the frontlines battling for attention, approval, sales and praise from millennials. This demographic of teenage and young adult consumers not only have the power to effectively influence others, they have $200 million in annual spending power. So the brands that will successfully capture the greatest market share in their industry are those that understand what their consumer needs to make a purchase decision, and fully execute on it.
You might be interested to know that Millennials, one of the largest and most influential demographic cohorts, hold authenticity above content. According to Forbes, 43% of millennials rank authenticity over content when consuming news and they first have to trust a company or news site before they will even look at anything they produce. Fake and insincere content will be spotted quickly and ignored by many consumers. I’ll share with you why there’s a big push for authentic influencers lately and why authenticity needs to be part of your marketing strategy.
The Proof Is In The Process
Many influencers are being compensated to speak, share and experience a brand. It’s possible they’ve never interacted with the brand or product prior to being paid to say or share something. In other words, they don’t have to be passionate or believe in what they’re endorsing. Authenticity, on the other hand, is an art and a science. It’s about finding online influencers that are already loyal to your brand and are naturally appealing to your audience.
There’s a different approach and process for recruiting paid versus authentic influencers. The goal with paid influencers is to find the most influential person in the quickest amount of time who you can pay (usually a very high premium) to talk about your brand. On the flipside, authentic influencer marketing involves participating, listening and commenting within your communities to seek out an influencer who is genuinely interested in and jazzed up about your brand. Consumers not only want their voice to be heard by brands, they want to hear the brand’s voice. So the simple process of recruiting authentic influencers allows others to see a more transparent side of the brand’s inner workings, compared to the standard negotiations of celebrity endorsements behind closed doors. At first, identifying and recruiting social authentic influencers might feel like you are exposing too much, but it is in fact the opposite. Consumers will respect and trust you more resulting in increased loyalty and sales.
Consumers Know Smart Marketing
Everyday consumers are not only becoming more tech savvy, but more marketing savvy as well. The general public is exposed to so many marketing strategies daily they are able to decipher the good, the bad and the, “what were they thinking?” in seconds. Consumers can sense when someone, especially a brand, is being fake or pretentious and they don’t like it. Trust and credibility are two aspects you don’t want to mess around with when you’re trying to build a loyal customer base and sell more products. When influencers and brands only partner for profit it generates a sense of dishonesty in the industry and advertising. How many times have you seen your favorite athlete endorsing a product, but on the sidelines they are using the competitor product? When consumers get that small opportunity to be a fly on the wall, you better believe they will notice the celebrity’s authentic product of choice.
When understanding the value of authentic influencers, there is a lot of talk about the benefits of increasing brand loyalty. One important foundational element to unwavering loyalty that is often overlooked is a consumer’s loyalty to themselves.
The beauty of authentic influencers is they stay true to who they are, and are loyal to their personal standards. Therefore, brands should seek people that naturally fit their desired persona and let their authentic passion shine through, especially when marketing to millennials. There is nothing more unsettling to millennials than someone who constantly changes who they are to follow the masses. Authentic influencers don’t want to risk their own credibility and their fan’s trust for one ill-fit campaign.
One benefit of authentic influencer marketing is that it’s built from real relationships and honest exchanges. Take the opportunity to understand your authentic influencer’s opinions, needs and expectations, and how your brand fits within their lifestyle. By using influencers to review and collaborate on products you can find a unique approach to add more value.
Authentic influencer’s content is more engaging to a consumer audience because they channel their passion for a product and post about it from a unique angle. This natural creating and sharing of social content generates relatable and appreciated conversations that offer consumers a fresh prospective on your products.
Authenticity plays a significant role in brand reputation. It comes down to maintaining and showing respect for your own brand, the influencers and your audience. Executing marketing strategies with authentic, quality influencers is a proven way to reach your target audience. Anyone can be paid to spread a message, but the brands that maintain the maintain the credibility and authenticity of influencer marketing will see the biggest growth.