The very essence of influencer marketing comes from authenticity. Without it, influencer marketing would not exist.
It’s no secret that social media influencers have changed the face of marketing for brands like Boda Skins. They can paint brands in a positive light and change the way consumers perceive them in a matter of seconds. But as we all know, their messages will only have an impact on the buying habits of consumers if the influencers utilised have are highly authoritative and authentic.
There are many factors that might impact where an influencer performs. For instance, brands need to ensure that they are working with influencers who actually see high levels of engagement from real people.
Brands should also ensure that their own interests and values align with that of the influencer, and their followers. But the most important factor in getting consumers to listen to social media stars comes from authenticity.
Authenticity in Influencer Marketing
Authenticity can mean many different things. It can refer to influencers who only publish content they wholeheartedly believe in, providing reviews and testimonies that are very reliable. It might also describe influencers who are unapologetically themselves. Either way, one claim rings true: the authenticity of influencers is fundamental to the success of influencer marketing campaigns.
Considering this, it is very useful to return to this idea of authenticity, and look at it in further detail. Precisely what does it mean for an influencer to be classed as authentic – what are those facets of authenticity? What qualities should brands be looking for in the influencers they are working with?
If you’re looking for the answers to those questions, you’re in the right place. We have compiled a list of the 7 most important characteristics that can increase the authenticity of influencers. These are the qualities that will impact a consumer’s perspective of an influencer and your brand, product or service when it’s being endorsed.
1. Influencer Trustability
Above all else, social media users are concerned with their favourite influencer’s character. And by character, we’re talking about their trustworthiness.
Influencers can gain fans’ trust in many different ways. It means telling the truth about themselves online. Being open and honest about their past – and not having any skeletons in their closet that eventually pop up on Twitter or gossip sites. Such things can lead to fans doubting their character and how much they can really believe what they say.
Trustworthiness also means being honest about any brand partnerships, paid-for advertisements, or free gifts received. This is not just a legal requirement. It is a signpost to consumers that the influencer in question is of good moral character. This enables consumers to believe and side with the influencer’s stance on other issues – meaning they are more likely to take note of brand or product recommendations.
This all makes it pretty clear that a trustworthy character is central to the authenticity of influencers. It might take some time for influencers to develop this level of trust. (After all, trust between two parties isn’t built overnight!) But ultimately, influencers cannot be seen as authentic without this quality. And considering the importance of influencer authenticity to influencer marketing campaigns, it’s a quality that every brand should be seeking in its influencer partners.
2. The Consistency of the Influencer
Arguably a very important personality trait that increases the authenticity of influencers is consistency.
Every social media user has a very clear idea of the type of content they’re interested in, and the kind of individuals they want to follow. We’re sure you can relate to that, too!
This, of course, means that fans have selected the influencers they follow very carefully, and for a reason. They have clear expectations of these influencers and the kind of content they post. Therefore, the last thing fans want to see is their favourite influencer saying something that doesn’t relate to what they’re used to seeing from them.
Such inconsistencies would make an influencer come across as an indecisive person who chops and changes their opinions regularly, with no real passion. That’s not an attractive trait to fans that are looking to influencers for inspiration.
For example, if Gary Vaynerchuk suddenly stopped posting motivational videos and decided to start posting video content negative videos that provided no constructive criticisms, many of his fans would lose interest in him.
Fans will be particularly turned off if influencers suddenly start posting controversial or contradictory content. That will serve as a clear signal to consumers that the influencer is far from authentic. Rather, it suggests that the influencer’s views are easily changed by others. Or even that the influencer can be persuaded by financial incentives!
Ultimately, fans expect influencers to have a clear identity, and to retain this identity long-term. Anything less than that will have fans questioning their authenticity big time. It’s something that also applies to brands – and explains why you need to align your brand with relevant influencers whos values match your company’s core values.
3. The Influencer’s Integrity
A quality that goes hand-in-hand with consistency is integrity.
Once more, this involves influencers giving their fans no nasty surprises. Influencers should have clear values which they stand by consistently, and which show through all of their work.
This means that no single piece of content or message should go against an influencer’s core principles. Influencers who champion body positivity should not start advocating the use of diet pills. Likewise, skincare gurus should not start advocating the use of unreputable lotions they haven’t tried.
Most importantly, none of this should change when a brand is involved. To reiterate, influencers should refrain from promoting brands and products which do not line up with their interests and their content style. The surest way that an influencer can prove they are principled is by not selling out when it comes to marketing campaigns. They should only work with brands that share their values. And they should definitely only promote products they truly believe in.
As a brand, you can play your own part in this. Conduct careful research before establishing partnerships, and ensure you’re selecting the right influencers for your campaign. Remember, it’s 100% worth the extra hassle. When influencers nail the winning combination of establishing a consistent and principled reputation, they are more likely to be perceived as authentic by consumers.
4. Influencer Transparency
This is a quality we have already mentioned earlier… But it’s so important, we can’t really shout about transparency enough.
Transparency is absolutely central to increasing the authenticity of influencers. Time and time again, one of the main things audiences take issue within influencers is their lack of transparency. And you can see why.
There are many reasons why influencers have not been transparent in the past.
Still, too many influencers are not clearly marking sponsored posts as ‘ads’ or mentioning when products or trips have been gifted. The legal requirements for this are pretty clear now.
Despite this, there are plenty of professional influencers that have exactly the right attitude with regards to transparency -Not just because they understand it’s a legal requirement. They know it’s important that fans know the score, and they want to be open about it. And, most importantly, these influencers know how fundamental authenticity is to their career.
Of course, these are the influencers you want to work with, in order to maximise your marketing campaign’s success.
5. Relatability of the Influencer
Despite everything we’ve said so far, increasing an influencer’s authenticity isn’t all about serious principles and ad transparency. One of the most powerful ways that influencers can present themselves as authentic is very simple. They should simply be relatable.
Followers are very likely to view an influencer as authentic if they have a relatable personality. Think about it. Influencers who share embarrassing stories or even make-up free selfies come across as genuine, everyday people – not fake, online personas. And consumers are always more likely to be drawn to the former.
Relatability can also go hand in hand with other characteristics we have talked about today. Influencers who are transparent about personal issues – and not closed off – or who clearly hold genuine principles close to their heart come across as relatable and genuine.
Remember the link between authenticity and consumer influence – and keep this in mind when embarking on your next influencer marketing campaign. Seek out influencers who are all about real life – and not just the edited edition. These are the people who have a real impact on consumer decisions.
6. The Status, Accolades and Achievements of an Influencer
Now not every influencer is going to be a qualified doctor, professional chef, seasoned athlete or self-trained musician, but any influencer that has a proven track record or qualification that relates to their niche is going to earn them more respect. Many people have strong expertise in their fields, but when someone has achieved something special in that niche, their reputation is always enhanced.
For example, a professional footballer that wins the World Cup is going to automatically have more authority in the football than someone who sits on the bench for their Sunday league team. Likewise, a qualified doctor/influencer is going to automatically have more clout than someone who isn’t.
And that’s why status, accolades and achievements can increase the authenticity of an influencer.
7. The Influencer’s Communication Skills
The final ways to increase the authenticity of influencers? Seek out good speakers and listeners for your influencer campaigns.
Many of these characteristics that improve the authenticity of influencers relate to developing positive relationships between influencers and consumers. This means that followers should trust and believe in influencers – their character, their values, and what they say. But one of the simplest way that influencers can develop positive relationships with followers? Creating genuine, two-way relationships with them.
This, of course, means being more than content creators. They also need to engage in conversations with their followers and listen to what they say. These tactics help get followers on the influencer’s side, viewing them as authentic people they want to engage with online. And once more – these are the influencers you want for your campaign.
The 7 Characteristics that Increase Influencer Authenticity
There you have it – 7 key characteristics that are key to the authenticity of influencers. A solid combination of these traits is integral for the social media stars you work with to perform. But remember, anything less than this will have fans clicking ‘unfollow’ or ignoring their posts without hesitation – not the kind of influencers you want to be working with. So, as always please choose your influencers wisely. The intricacies outlined in this post really can make or break a campaign.