Maintaining Authenticity in Influencer Marketing: Your Role as a Business or Brand

July 6, 2022

Written by Anabel Blesch ~4 min read

A common phrase or term that has been paired with influencer marketing these days is “over-saturated” or more simply, “saturated market”. The industry is becoming one of the most popular, and effective, forms of marketing a brand or business can partake in, but with that, comes more people wanting to enter the industry. It wouldn’t be untrue to refer to influencer marketing as a saturated market, but is that really a bad thing? 

Well, it could be, as the problem can occur when something rapidly expands from a place that was once small and effective, and then becomes diluted or appears inauthentic but there are ways to avoid this happening. While this is relevant to the influencer industry, it wouldn’t be true to say it isn’t effective but rather, how can we maintain the effectiveness with the saturation and growth in mind? 

Authenticity is one of the main reasons why most consumers trust influencers or someone influential over a traditional advertising campaign, so maintaining that is key for the success of both the brand promoting something, and the influencer themselves. We’ve put together our tips on how to manage authenticity on the end of a brand or business, with the rapidly expanding industry in mind. 

It Starts Before the Initial Approach

Before sending that first email, it is important as a business to firstly have all of your messaging and goals of the campaign clear, and next to ensure you research anyone you reach out to. Someone may appear to have similar branding but when you dive more into their content, they either have conflicting interests or maybe are already working with one of your direct competitors. These are factors that can make the content seem much less authentic and more like a brand deal, which most consumers are savvy about in the year of 2022. 

Research and analyzing any content creator or influencer will be the key way to filter through aligned partnerships. Then, you can verify your research with their media kit and audience insights to confirm they will line up with the results you’re looking for.

Build a Relationship With Your Contacts

“You had me at hello” is only a thing of rom-coms and in the world of media relationships, it takes time! It is important as a brand to provide personalization, small details, and genuine effort in order to build a more authentic brand partnership. Things like staying connected on social media before sending that cold email, offering to send a product or try out your service before doing the paid partnership, and setting up multiple meetings to discuss brand values in the early stages of the campaign can really build a valuable relationship between influencer and brand. These behind the scenes details do shine through when you have the finished content online. 

Paying Appropriate Wages

The influencer industry is often referred to as the “wild west” by brands and businesses in regards to very inconsistent pricing between creators. There are a lot of factors that go into an individual’s prices, and they’ve concluded their price is what they are valued at, so it shouldn’t be ignored in the onboarding process. However, as a business, do your research and come to a conclusion of more “standard” prices that line up with someone’s following, engagement, reach, resonance, and content level and you can refer back to it when receiving someone’s rates. Sometimes, someone has a very high following but not a lot of engagement, and their content is equal to other smaller creators but their prices are over the average, you may want to propose a more standard rate. On the other end, someone who has a smaller page with steady engagement, and puts extensive effort in their content may have a low rate, but you can counter-offer something higher to be more in line with the standard. 

Initiating this process within your own business will help play a part in a more equal industry where creators can earn a living. In this process, more creators will be likely to sign onto projects that really align with them versus taking every partnership available in order to make a living. While this alone won’t solve the pricing standards within the industry, it can definitely help within your community, especially when it comes to paying Indigenous and creators of Colour adequately. There is still a very apparent and significant racial pay gap by 29% in the influencer industry, and bringing more standards can help protect influencers of Colour and ensure they aren’t being paid less than their white counterparts. 

Prioritizing Engagement and Resonance Over Following

Similar to our above tip of really researching an influencer before your outreach, their follower count isn’t what will determine authenticity within a campaign. Sometimes going with micro-influencers who have really genuine engagement can be more successful than the top influencers in the industry, as people have less trust with them. It seems that many consumers have grown this bias that “less” followers = not a paid partnership so it must be real, and “more” followers = they are being paid for everything. 

It is a balance between what your business goals are for each campaign, and sometimes followers may be more important than engagement but if authenticity is your goal, there are many other metrics to take into account in order to determine if it is the right fit. 

We hope you give these approaches a try when planning and executing your next influencer campaign! To get support on your influencer strategy, reach out to us and we’d be happy to help.