Due to increasing social clutter, ad avoidance, and media segmentation (not to mention #alternativefacts), attaining trust, building relationships and, ultimately, earning influence is getting harder with every passing day.
These barriers increasingly seem to be putting influencer marketing in the spotlight. In fact, 51% of brands will “increase” or “increase significantly” their investment in influencer marketing in 2017. And it’s easy to understand why. By partnering with influencers, brands can connect with niche and new audiences in a way that doesn’t feel like advertising. They can leverage the influencer’s extensive content-creating talents to tell meaningful stories that breakthrough the clutter. And they can ignite genuine brand advocacy that expresses a trusted and respected opinion.
Influencer marketing can achieve these things and much more, but – and this is a big BUT – only if it’s done in a way that prioritizes authenticity every step of the way.
Here are three (perhaps surprising) tips to achieving authenticity:
- 1. 2-6 influencers per campaign is the sweet spot: Resist the temptation to automate influencer marketing at scale by activating 10+ influencers at the same time. It’s the personal touch and tailored experiences that permit your influencer partners to become deeply vested in your particular project’s success.
- 2. Start with influencer selection, not engagement strategy: This way you can develop the value exchange (i.e. the experience that gives your influencers a reason to talk about your brand) based on your selected influencer’s interests, motivations or current tension points.
- 3. Co-create the campaign with your selected influencer(s): Call your influencers and discuss your proposed idea with them. Ask how it can be improved to appeal more to them. Listen to them. Now that they have more skin in the game, they’ll need to see it through successfully.
The more genuinely passionate the influencer feels about your project, the more authentic her content will be and the more willing she will be to go beyond the normal call of duty. Their audiences are savvy, after all. They know when their favorite Instagramer is excited about her latest brand partnership and when she is doing it to pay next month’s rent.
There are no short-cuts when it comes to influencer marketing. If you’re going to do it, do it right. And that means a laser focus on authenticity.
Interested to dive deeper into this subject? Check out our webinar on the latest trends in influencer marketing below, or click here.
Charlotte Tansill is a Senior Vice President on the Content & Social New York team specializing in social and digital strategy.