Part II: Be Professional, But Still Human and Vulnerable
It’s not always easy for an influencer, or for anyone who has a job promoting a product, to appear genuine. Today we’ll talk about how to remain authentic even when you engage in posting sponsored content regularly.
Modern-day consumers are savvy enough to know what influencer marketing is. If they see you as a paid actor, the endorsement simply won’t be effective, which can ultimately hurt your image. To avoid this, influencers must act human and humanize brands they work with, placing greater effort in maintaining authenticity on social media.
In this article we will go through all the critical aspects of creating authentic and engaging social media presence. In this part of the series, we will explore to maintain an authentic and relatable social media persona and connect with your fans on a personal level. You can read the first part right here.
Beware the Streisand Effect
Be openly honest with your audience when talking about a product or brand. If you skew the truth your audience will sooner or later notice your methods. You’ll most likely start losing followers if you typically oversell or glorify brands.
Being honest and transparent with your audience prevents you from insulting their intelligence. A genuine approach is important because social media is unsheltered when compared to traditional channels such as TV and print. Your message can easily come under scrutiny via user comments and feedback. Comments are typically exposed directly in the video or post itself, so this situation risks major backlash on your brand and product.
You will not always be able to moderate your comment section effectively. If you attempt to, you risk a “Streisand Effect”, whereby an attempt to censor creates an unintended publicity.
The name was coined after Barbra Streisand, when an attempt to suppress a photograph of her Malibu residence ended up giving the paparazzi only more incentive to expose it. Her censorship attempt has caused the photo in question to to spike from 4 to 400,000 downloads. Don’t make this rookie mistake, ever. If there’s something the audience should know about the product, or if you or your brand made a mistake, own up to it and address it instead of sweeping it under the rug.
Be honest and transparent
Your audience knows that no product is perfect and the trick is to always be transparent about your sponsorship. They will react accordingly if you artificially recite talking points. Mention minor flaws if you find any, even if your general review is positive, and mentioning your video or post is sponsored will give you credit over time.
Remember that your audiences watch you talk about products because they want to know what you think and feel about them. They are interested in you as a peer rather than a corporate representative.
If you want to have a truly loyal fan-base you need to understand that your value as an influencer is that personal connection. You don’t need to only be transparent about technicalities, but to act human. Show your audience that they can trust you by trusting their intellect and opinion first.
Be Vulnerable and Human (Be Actually Honest and transparent) for True Engagement
Learn to be vulnerable and even a bit self-deprecating at times. Make fun of your own embarrassing moments when they happen, and show or talk about aspects of your life which aren’t necessarily required to promote whatever it is you’re promoting.
A prime example of this working is pop icon Taylor Swift. She has a habit of making fun of her quirks on Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr, and sharing fun facts about her life with her followers. Unlike most celebrities on social media, she doesn’t tend to talk and think only about herself — her social feeds contain shared content from across the internet. She posts videos of unknown artists covering her songs, regularly comments on her fans posts on Instagram and at times even gives away holiday presents to selected fans.
As a result of her genuine, grounded and personal demeanor on social media, she has grown one of the most enthusiastic and devoted online audiences of any mainstream celebrity.
Not only is this a great way to grow a loyal audience that feels a deep and personal connection to you, but a genuine and relatable influencer will also humanize the brand.
This has been an issue for brands. The majority of young people mistrust traditional advertising and are more inclined to purchase a product when they have some kind of emotional connection to the brand. Humanizing the brand is a key for successful partnerships and directly relates to the influencer.
Make sure that there is no conflict of interest when accepting sponsorship. You don’t want to promote a steakhouse after typically promoting vegan food, no matter what kind of goodies are offered.
If you see that yours and the brands character don’t match, don’t accept the job. It is critical to learn how to say no to sponsorship. You have to be selective in what contracts you sign. Beyond what we discussed regarding fitting the brands character, some highly profitable jobs simply aren’t worth it. If a sponsored opportunity doesn’t align with your overall focus, then just don’t do it.
If you think that signing with a brand will disappoint your fans, if it’s steeped in controversy that could explode at any minute, if it involves itself in politics or other topics that might alienate your audience — avoid it.
Paying your bills isn’t worth risking a PR disaster, and that a PR disaster can cut your income stream. This may be seen as a high-risk-high-reward kind of deal, but it’s really just pointless risk. The reward is never worth as much as your good name and credibility.
Numbers Matter but Cheating Hurts
Be authentic when it comes to validating your follower base. The industry rules are clear- never ever pay for followers, buy comments, or any other form of non-organic traffic.
We wrote a guide on how you can audit your own account by yourself, using tools that are openly available for free.
You can read it right here.
Bio: You can read more guides and insights on Influencer Marketing right here on the Shoperr Blog. We feature articles written for both influencers and brands with extensive coverage of the industry as a whole.
Originally published at blog.shoperr.com on December 13, 2018.