Authenticity and Working with Brands
Authenticity can be seen clearly on social channels with strong personal brand objectives, creative vision, core values and a genuine connection with followers. Choosing to work with particular brands or endorsing specific products can have a major effect on your following and impact your authenticity as a content creator.
YouGov and Social Media Week released ‘The Influencer Marketing Report,’ a study of the most important trends, insights and emerging practices in influencer marketing .
A major finding in the report was the importance of authenticity when working with brands. The study found that nearly one-third of an influencer’s audience unfollowed him or her because of a brand or product they endorsed.
What does this mean to you as a content creator?
Be selective. Choose brands to work with that you genuinely believe in and share the same values with. Ensure your personal brand aligns with the goals and objectives of the partnership.
The main perk for brands in working with content creators is that they are influential. They have built a loyal following who trust the information that is shared. If you suddenly begin sharing a message you don’t believe in or have aligned yourself with in the past, your audience isn’t going to know which of your content to trust.
Also, stay loyal to the brands you work with. Limit the number of partnerships within a given amount of time and avoid working with competing brands. Collaborate with brands you support and endorse products you actually use. Constantly shifting from one brand to the next, in particular competitors, can make your followers question whether your content is authentic or purely sponsored.
How informed is your audience on brand-influencer collaborations?
The study also revealed that the majority of U.S. adults who consume influencer content are aware that influencers are being compensated – 56% believe brand endorsements are a result of paid partnerships; whereas, 29% believe that influencers endorse a brand or product because they actually like it.
Therefore, it’s essential to continuously produce genuine content. If the majority of your audience know you are getting paid to endorse a particular product, the content you share must be original and authentic in order to maintain the trust of your followers, despite the fact you are being compensated.
Let’s take a look at our 361° ambassador program. 361° focuses its ethos on working with everyday runners and athletes of all abilities who believe in taking their performance beyond expectations.
If you aren’t someone who regularly pushes them self to discover new athletic possibilities or aren’t comfortable sharing your running journey, collaborating with this brand would not align with your personal objectives or the content throughout your social channels.
Below are two examples from 361° ambassadors, @thefitwanderluster and @running_krister_alter_schwede, expressing their struggles, goals and accomplishments as athletes. The content not only represents 361°, but it incorporates their personal running stories with the brand ethos of going beyond expectations.
The result? Authentic content and engagement.
Authenticity is what makes content creators influential to their followers. If that’s lost or tarnished, the influence is as well. Stay true to your values when choosing brands to work with and your audience’s trust will follow.