If you’re confused by what’s real, seek authenticity
That’s the thesis of WHOSAY EVP, Talent and co-founder Harvey Schwartz in the article he wrote for Mobile Marketing Watch. Titled ‘Why Authenticity in Influencer Marketing Is Not a Fad,’ the powerful op-ed enumerated 7 compelling reasons why authenticity in influencer marketing is a win-win for both talent and brand:
1. It Fosters Trust:
As Schwartz writes, “you want your audience to trust your brand message as delivered by the influencer.” The stakes are too high to leave such big responsibility to an unvetted talent influencer, especially in the influencer marketing space where scripting is not commonly used and actors don’t get paid to read lines carefully crafted by some PR department. Just like your audience trusts their offline friends for restaurant recommendations, etc., they should trust their influencers when they utilize their personal social feeds.
2. It Powers Creative Partnerships:
The good (real) news for Schwartz is that “there are plenty of great influencers who genuinely love your brands, who are looking for authentic, creative partnerships.” As long as you’re working with properly-vetted influencer talent, why not let go of some creative control and invite your talent as a partner in the brainstorming session? Some of the best (and more authentic) work comes from influencers who go the extra mile to engage their followers with exciting content they love ideating, producing and distributing along with the brand.
3. It’s Great for Connections:
“Authenticity in influencer marketing is all about having or establishing an actual connection between influencer and brand/campaign at the time of activation,” wrote Schwartz. He gave the example of a campaign about mountain climbing with the brand being a wholesome snack. “The influencer must be a real mountain climber and if the influencer is not currently a consumer of the brand he/she must actually try the product before endorsing it.” This exchange promotes a sense of real community between influencers and brands.
4. It’s Measurable:
Schwartz explains that even though authenticity is not currently measuremed, “One can easily benchmark organic posts that follow a similar theme to the brand campaign and look to achieve similar results, if one delivers creative that matches.” Since the audience ultimately votes in comments and likes, brands can then “apply an independent sentiment score on all the comments to provide a form of measurement that would have alignment to authenticity.”
5. It Fixes the Fake Followers Problem:
Schwartz wrote, “With thousands of influencer options and significant fees to participate, there are many influencers who will take any check as well as those that have bought fake followers to exaggerate their organic reach.” An authenticity-based strategy where you require the influencer to disclose fake followers would help to eliminate the problem. And don’t forget to have an old-fashioned conversation on a phone call or a face-to-face meeting to address any creative concerns and fully understand if they are the right voice for the brand.
6. Promotes a Higher Engagement:
It’s proven, the more authentic a campaign, the more engaging it will be. Fans can spot fake. And real engagement shows up in live-streams, Snaps, Instagram stories and other types of live and ephemeral media. As Schwartz writes, “Live content is difficult to fake as well as ‘stories’ which tend to be less scripted, therefore incorporate those elements to follow influencers lives more organically.”
7. Truth is Timeless:
As Schwartz concludes for Mobile Marketing Watch, “[Though] ‘authenticity’ seems to be the buzzword du jour, seeking the truth has never been a fad, therefore authenticity will remain paramount.” Fake news, sketchy “influencer marketing” schemes and click-bait will come and go but if you’re committed to “keeping things real” you’ll be rewarded with great results over and over and over again...