Influencer Marketing in 2020: Why authenticity is more important than ever!

We walked into 2020 with an energetic optimism for what this brand new decade could bring. Instead, we were hit with a COVID-19 shaped curveball that shook the world and turned our lives upside down.

Nearly everyone experienced lockdown at some point in 2020, and the upshot from that is that consumers went online in their droves. A staggering 82% of people increased their social media consumption while at home during the pandemic, 63% of whom use these platforms for shopping. It’s never been such a crucial time for brands to get their message and marketing right.

However, that’s precisely what many brands are failing to achieve with their influencer marketing strategy. Almost half (47%) of consumers are already feeling “fatigued” by repetitive influencer posts, and another half (49%) want to see stricter regulations around what can be shared and how often.

The key to cutting through a noisy marketplace is authenticity. Influencer marketing is showing absolutely no signs of slowing down, and brands now strongly opt for influencers over celebrity sponsorships. Businesses need to adapt their influencer strategy to keep pace with consumer preference for organic, authentic content to maximise the ROI of influencer marketing… all of which begs the question: what is “inauthentic” content?

Images or messages which are obviously staged

If the product placement is too obvious or unimaginative, audiences immediately see the post as inauthentic. Critically for brands, 71% of consumers report being able to tell when an influencer is “performing”. Content creators have also come under fire over the past few years for airing tone-deaf marketing messages to their followers. This messaging has often come in the form of selling products that audiences know the influencers wouldn’t use without the paycheque attached to it, because it doesn’t fit in with the rest of their content whatsoever.

Mis-alignment between influencer and brand

It is essential to balance brand-match, demographics, engagement, and the “feel” you get from the influencer when selecting influencer partners. Audience statistics are the key here! Let’s say your choice of brand ambassador content creator has 100 million followers. If their audience demographic is 67% female aged between 24-34 and largely based in the US, but your campaign is targeting 18-24 European males, then months of planning a fantastic product with a great campaign concept might fall flat at the last minute.

Content that doesn’t feel relatable

This usually happens as a knock-on consequence when mistake #1 or #2 has already occurred. If your product is an at-home easy-preparation healthy meal kit, don’t choose a high-profile celebrity that undoubtedly has a professional live-in chef and clearly won’t use that meal kit. Want to raise awareness for a new budgeting app that helps bring down unnecessary lifestyle expenses? Probably not one for a multi-millionaire to sponsor.

Influencer Marketing has to be an integral part of any brand’s marketing mix. By working with influencers that fit your brand values and resonate with the target audience, your brand will have an easier time creating successful, organic content that resonates with consumers and drives more meaningful engagement. Here at PULSE we’ve been building flourishing relationships between businesses and creators for years, reach out to us to ensure robust, long term collaborative relationships.