If you’re in a consumer-facing industry, you already know that building relationships with customers can be challenging. Unfortunately, many customers can be suspicious of advertisements. In fact, around 96% of consumers tend to distrust brands and ads. Modern consumers may be especially wary of anything that makes them feel lied to or manipulated. That’s one of the reasons that authenticity and connection-building are so important for today’s consumers.
How can businesses engage with consumers and stop them from scrolling away? Today, influencer marketing may be one of the most effective ways to get your brand messages out to the public. However, for this type of marketing to work, influencers need to cultivate authenticity and earn the trust of their followers. If you’re not sure what this means for your business, don’t worry. This article will explain why and how influencers should cultivate authenticity and why that matters for your business.
What Is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is the partnership between businesses and “influencers,” or people with large social media followings and trusted in their field. Types of influencers include athletes, celebrities, home chefs, parents, fitness gurus, or simply someone well-respected in their particular specialty. Over time, they’ve built up a sizeable following on Instagram, YouTube, or another social media platform. In time, they’ve managed to create a business from their online success.
Influencer marketing is effective because it builds a relationship of trust between the consumer and the influencer. It’s no wonder that 69% of businesses already use influencer marketing to help get the word out about their brand. Furthermore, 61% of consumers will trust social media recommendations from influencers. You can start to see why it’s important for influencers to keep that trust by cultivating and maintaining their authenticity.
Why Is Authenticity Important?
How customers feel about your affiliates can have a direct result on your business’s profitability.
Your Consumers Are Likely to Trust Honesty and Integrity
Influencers build trust by being genuine and authentic. They lose that trust if they start putting up posts that look like blatant advertisements or promote a brand they don’t use. For example, imagine a particular female fashion influencer known for her strong views against animal cruelty. Say, for some reason, she suddenly signs a deal with a fur manufacturer and starts posting about how much she loves their new line of mink coats. She wouldn’t feel genuine, right? Her reputation would be tattered, and her followers would lose trust. This is a perfect example of what could make followers abandon influencers in droves and seriously affect your profitability.
Your Consumers Tend to Identify with Influencers
Look at the relationship between consumers and their favorite influencers. Younger people – namely millennials and Gen Zers – tend to describe their favorite social media influencers as if they were close friends. They trust their opinions and feel a sense of connection to them. According to a Google survey, 4 out of 10 millennials say that their favorite YouTube creator understands them better than their own friends do.
It’s worth noting that Gen X and baby boomers also spend a good deal of time on social media platforms. Though they may tend to follow established celebrities and media figures, these generations also appear to have trusting relationships with YouTube creators and other social media influencers. These consumer populations may represent an overlooked audience for influencer marketing.
How Do Influencers Cultivate Their Authenticity?
Showing Their True Selves
Influencers cultivate authenticity and build trust in the same way anybody else does – through vulnerability and relatability. Consumers may not trust, or relate to, an Instagram personality whose photos are sheer airbrushed perfection every time. Consumers may connect far more to an influencer who knows how to laugh at themselves or who isn’t afraid to talk about their pain from time to time. This is how influencers make connections, and those connections translate into loyalty and trust.
Believing in a Brand
Influencers maintain their authenticity by promoting brands they believe in. Before partnering with an influencer:
- Consider scheduling a meeting first to ensure that their values are aligned with yours.
- Check on their following and determine if it makes for a good fit with your business.
- Look back to the example of the animal rights activist.
She might admire a company that makes coats out of synthetic fibers, especially if the company donates some of its proceeds to good causes. If she is involved with that company and promotes their products, followers will likely believe in her and follow her lead.
Having a Say in What They Promote
Consider giving the influencer some of their own decision power on products they’d like to promote. They tend to know their audience very well and gear their marketing toward that audience to produce results. In some cases, an influencer may opt to promote your brand instead of your specific products, wishing to associate your brand with their lifestyle message. Over time, consumers may start to think of your brand when they see the influencer, creating a positive feedback loop.
Maintaining Long-Term Relationships with Businesses
Consider creating long-term partnerships with influencers. Don’t think of influencer marketing as a quick fix to boost sales for the quarter. Instead, think of an influencer as a “brand ambassador” who can raise the credibility of your whole company, helping you to build long-term successful relationships with consumers.
Feeling Enthusiastic About a Brand
Ideally, you’ll want to partner with an influencer who is genuinely excited about your brand and products. In addition, you’ll want to work with an influencer who is eager to share your message with their followers. Brand excitement is contagious. A good partnership between a brand and an influencer can lead to enthusiastic consumers, creating real and sustainable engagement.
Build a Strong Marketing Partnerships with LeadDyno
LeadDyno can help you to manage all of your affiliate marketing programs. You’ll never miss a payout, and you’ll always be able to track the success of your partners. Our software makes it easy to monitor your online marketing channels and determines which ones work the best.