We keep saying it: influencer marketing is an industry that’s thriving. It seems like every day we hear about some new make-up artist, fitness expert or travel enthusiast. We can’t blame them, why wouldn’t you want to be an influencer? You create content that you’re passionate about, attend cool events, are followed by a bunch of people, express yourself freely and learn more about business in general.
Precisely because this is a dream come true, it’s easy to lose yourself trying to please everyone, to not offend and to remain relevant. Unfortunately, as it’s often the case, the answer is counter intuitive: when you actively try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one. And it’s a shame. Because being an influencer is not about money or glamour. It’s about living authentically and earning enough from doing it. The theory seems simple, right?
All in all, it’s pretty clear: every person dwells on the question of authenticity, especially when they gain popularity at a fast rate. When do you draw the line between a good opportunity and being a sell-out? How can you manage to remain real, in a place that promotes perfection?
Here at 2Performant we have the opportunity to interact with tens of influencers, so we’ve debated these questions thoroughly. Because of this, we’ve created a practical guide to remain authentic while your brand expands through campaigns (we know, pretty long name).
- Be honest
As opposed to TV, radio or written press, the online realm is much more permissive when it comes to concealing brand deals. Objectively speaking, the domain has not been regulated properly (yet), so you can’t be forced to disclose a paid partnership.
Once again, though, the answer is counter intuitive: it’s recommended to be honest with your audience, even if you don’t have to. This is not necessarily coming from a place of moral purity, as much as it is a logical decision.
Here’s why: it’s safe to assume that 99.9% of your followers have used the internet before. Out of this percentage, the majority of people follow other influencers as well, on various platforms: YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Therefore, the chances of you masking a commercial into something real are very slim. This is because your audience has already seen all the marketing strategies out there, so they’ll figure out immediately that you’re being paid.
The honest route is much better, because people will appreciate your integrity and will trust that you’re generally telling the truth. As an effect, they’ll be more motivated to support you on the long run. Even more, brands will respect you and will understand why it’s beneficial to collaborate with you.
- Accept that not everyone will agree with you
When you’ll see for yourself that honesty is truly the best policy (step 1), you need to be prepared for the critiques. However, remember that the only opinions that matter are the ones that come from people who are in the arena with you, not the ones that are just watching from the stands.
2. Ask yourself: would you promote this product if the brand would not have initiated a collaboration?
A complaint that’s often addressed to influencers is that they promote stuff that they clearly don’t use or that has nothing to do with their brand. Makes sense, right?
Even so, when you receive a tempting offer, it’s often difficult to say no. That’s precisely when confirmation bias will take control over your brain and will find (surprisingly) only the reasons why you should accept the offer.
The simplest question you can use in that moment is: would I promote this product if the brand hadn’t reached out to me?
3. Be moderate with your positive reviews
When you receive a great offer, it’s pretty easy to get carried away by enthusiasm. It seems like gratefulness makes you write stuff like “this product is the best I’ve ever tried before” and ”I’m gonna get this product for every friend and family member, that’s how much I like it”.
Sadly, your audience is not as excited as you are. Additionally, because they are bombarded by ads at every step, they’ll judge your promotion with a healthy dose of skepticism. This is why moderation is important.
Yes, it’s possible that the product really is your favorite and you are going to get it for your friends and family, but be mindful of speaking for the consumer, not for your own self.
4. Be aware of why you’re being followed
As we’ve mentioned before, there are more and more influencers on the market. Still, there is a reason why a certain number of people have chosen to follow you and not someone else.
Why? Is it because you’re funny, charming, particularly good at something? Find out (although you probably already know) why people gravitate towards you.
Then, make sure that defining characteristic is visible at all times. Your style may change, you approach also, but that je ne sais quoi must be clearly there in your content, no matter the circumstances. A very good example is Claudia Marin, about whom you can read here.
These are some ideas that will help you be exactly how you need to be on the internet. We’re sure you have your own tricks up your sleeve, and that’s awesome! Remember that people seek authentic experiences, not perfect ones.
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The new marketplace on 2Performant is dedicated to influencers and the ways they can help businesses grow. The new section of the platform allows brands to set up campaigns in a transparent and simple manner. For more information have a look at the Influencer section on our website