What matters most in influencer marketing is authenticity, says Belinda Rowe, global managing partner, content, at Publicis Media.
Social media has given rise to a new kind of celebrity – real, approachable people who have the power to connect with audiences because of their talent, style, wit and/or influence. These influencers have forever changed the way social platforms are used to connect with audiences, leading to an even more fragmented marketplace.
While fragmentation is nothing new to marketers, this new dynamic has led to a shift from traditional “push marketing” to influencer-driven “pull marketing.” Authenticity is now the number one factor in connecting with an audience. So how can brands enter this sacred space without interrupting the conversation?
Source Trusted Experts
In a digital era, people don’t take things just on trust, they value real experiences, peer guidance and expert recommendations. Slick, highly-produced commercials are not always representative of how all consumers think, act or feel.
Consumers today are 92% more likely to trust recommendations from others versus branded content. They want to have connections with sources who are relatable, unfiltered and genuine and they want their exchanges to be relevant and in the moment.
For example, we recently saw great success for a client when we sent new products to beauty bloggers every fortnight to review. We found that their candid feedback helped generate additional sales, leading to a 158% increase, year on year. This effort also increased traffic to the client’s website by 129%.
Know Your Audience and Authority
Not every campaign can be led by a bedroom vlogger. Brands need to first determine what platform will help them share their most relevant and authentic voice. They need to understand what interests their consumers, what content they crave and how they like to experience content.
If brand influencers don’t have the authority to speak to a specific topic or on a certain platform, they run the risk of alienating their audience. Brands should look at the big picture and drill down to create the most relevant pieces of creative for the right audiences.
Follow Their Journey
Authentic customer journeys are not usually linear. Consumers enter the journey at different points. If marketers can align behind a clear strategy and set of objectives to ensure that influencers are carefully weaved throughout their marketing plan, they should be successful.
The way consumers interact with content and brand messaging is always changing, so integrating influencer marketing throughout the overall marketing mix can help bring greater authenticity and improve the value exchange.
“Influencer marketing is here to stay and while trends, platforms and popular hashtags come and go, the only constant is authenticity”
Marketers, in their quest to present an authentic message, are increasingly building the talents of influencers into their digital marketing strategies. It’s an extremely exciting time for brands to explore the opportunities available via this medium whilst benchmarking its benefits against other marketing activities.
The brands that will excel in the space will be those that employ robust measurement frameworks to understand the ROI of their endeavours. Specifically, measuring consumer actions following engagement with influencers and conversions backed by the power of data.
Influencer marketing is here to stay and while trends, platforms and popular hashtags come and go, the only constant is authenticity. Whether it be raw, polished, modest or boastful, what matters most is authenticity, not the flavour in which it comes.
Be true to your brand, go where your audience is listening and make sure you are a constant (and relevant) guide throughout their journey.