According to a recent report by NetBase Quid, 73 percent of marketers see finding the right influencer as a significant challenge. The answer isn’t far—according to the same report, 88 percent of consumers believe in online reviews just as much as a personal recommendation from a friend—and 73 percent of teenagers see YouTubers as more relatable than celebrities. That means consumers feel a connection with influencers but only when they feel authentic to consumers.
Authenticity 101 For Marketers
Because platforms like TikTok are algorithmically prioritizing the types of content that drive engagement most, brand marketers are looking at influencers who are creating content that resonates with consumers and delivers on sales. For some brands, that means finding influencers who connect with users like real people do: promoting brands with content that is unique, engaging and relevant without seeming like an ad. Here are a few tips for ensuring that influencer campaigns resonate with the right audience.
Micro-influencers enjoy some of the highest rates of engagement across Instagram, but it isn’t just because they sound like “real people,” it’s because they are talking to real people, effectively. Micro-influencers are like the friend you’d call with a question about that weird sound your car is making: Their authority is established by personal experience and their ability to provide clear and unique insight around a topic that is relevant at the moment. Even if your influencer campaign is helmed by a well-known name, it doesn’t mean you can’t focus their star power on a topic that they hold a genuine personal connection to and that adds authenticity to your brand’s value proposition.
Use Technology To Keep It Real
Audiences connect with content that reflects who they are and what they want. Production values should never overshadow an influencer’s message or their ability to connect with their audience. For brand marketers, making certain that the audiences’ needs are front and center in the campaign means allowing influencers to tap into their deep knowledge of their audience to deliver content that is useful, timely and viewer-inspired. That means balancing production design with purpose and never sacrificing the key drivers of engagement—like influencers’ ability to connect with users—for digital bells and whistles that may distract from the influencers’ organic storytelling process.
Use Context As A Launch Pad
Influencers can drive powerful brand lift, but it only works when campaigns are context-aware and focused on users rather than brand messaging. Kraft reported a 40-point lift in brand favorability and a 15-point lift in purchase intent among non-Kraft consumers after exposure to a dual macro- and micro-influencer campaign that highlighted influencers’ real-life reasons for loving the brands’ products. The boost was driven by context—consumers seeing how Kraft products could fit into their lives and how macro- and micro-influencers experienced the “reality” of Kraft as a part of their lifestyles. Kraft became relevant to non-consumers because viewers connected with influencers’ authenticity—the context of influencers’ brand recommendations becomes relevant when consumers “buy in” to the influencers’ persona as a representation of their own needs and interests. Using context effectively means more than simply telling users about a brand’s value proposition. It means showcasing influencers’ authenticity as a part of the storytelling process.