Why Authenticity is Important in Video Influencer Marketing
According to a 2016 video consumer insights report from Google, 60% of YouTube subscribers said they would follow advice from their favorite video influencer on products to buy over advice from their favorite traditional Hollywood celebrity. Clearly, using social influencers in video marketing can be a powerful and effective tactic for brands, especially for the digitally-tuned-in Gen Z and Millenial generations.
On the other hand, the power of influencer marketing in video can have lasting damaging effects if it’s executed poorly. How can influencer marketing fail? Well, according to a market research survey from Deep Focus, when it comes to advertising, 67% of Gen Z prefer to be engaged by “real people” and people they can relate to.
That means if your influencer video marketing comes across as inauthentic to the viewer, it’s likely your campaign will flop. As brands create a video influencer marketing strategy for appealing to a younger generation, they need to keep in mind that millennials and Gen Z are looking for authenticity in their brands and in the influencers they follow.
So, in order to use influencer marketing in a way that will appeal to viewers, brands need to create authentic content.
How can you make sure your video content is authentic?
1. Avoid influencers whose own brand has little or nothing to do with your content
Because a younger audience is looking for authenticity from their influencers, breaking the trust of those consumers can be the downfall of both an influencer as well as a brand. In a Bloglovin consumer survey on the ‘Global Power of Influencers,’ it was found that 61% of women said the number one reason they wouldn’t engage with an influencer’s post at all is if it felt inauthentic. And what makes a post inauthentic? 59% of women said its inconsistency.
If a sponsored post is inconsistent with the influencer’s already established brand the post is sure to come across as inauthentic. Consider this, if a beauty vlogger who has previously posted about being against animal testing suddenly starts promoting a brand of makeup that tests on animals, wouldn’t the audience they have built up feel like they are being deceived? The inconsistency with the influencer’s original content will create distrust between the audience and the influencer, as well as between the audience and the company being promoted. So when companies are searching for influencer’s to partner with, they should search for influencers whose values and interests intersect with their own.
And this doesn’t mean that the influencer’s original content or brand has to fall directly within the category of the company sponsoring them. But it does mean that there should be some intersection between the interests of the influencer and their audience, and the interests of the company in question.
A good example of this?
Jack Douglass, better know as JacksFilms, is a popular YouTuber and comedian who is known for creating humorous content with silly edits for his viewers. He partnered with Lynda.com, an online platform that helps people learn different software and technologies, and encouraged his viewers to use the platform to learn a skill and create their own silly edits. He then featured some of these edits in a few of his videos. Although Jack’s channel doesn’t specifically deal with learning software or online skills, Jack and Lynda.com were able to find an area where the interests of the company intersected with the interests of Jack’s audience.
2. The influencer should be able to give their honest opinions about the product or company
If an influencer isn’t able to give their honest opinions about a brand or product, their audience will more than likely be able to detect their deception. Honesty is key when it comes to authenticity, and a brand wants their influencer’s honest opinions to reflect positively on their products. So not only should an influencer be able to be honest about a brand, but they should also genuinely like or trust the brand.
“43% of millennials rank authenticity over content.” – Forbes
If an influencer believes that audiobooks are annoying, then Audible should probably pass on that influencer. In a Forbes breakdown of the millennial consumer, it was found that 43% of millennials rank authenticity over content. So honesty and authenticity need to be established before they will even consider buying into the brands being presented to them.
3. The influencer shouldn’t try to hide the fact that their post is sponsored
While having an influencer admit that their video is sponsored may initially seem like a negative, the honesty will create a stronger sense of trust between the influencer and their audience. More often than not, viewer’s can recognize when an influencer is advertising a product or brand – regardless of whether or not the influencer discloses the information. So by not disclosing that a video post is sponsored, influencers will make their audience feel as if they are being deceived. Or perhaps like the influencer is trying to ‘pull one over’ on them. This could cause the viewer to develop an aversion toward both the influencer and the brand.
4. Avoid having multiple influencers give the same scripted spiel. There should be an element of personalization
In addition to inconsistency making a video feel inauthentic, 34% of women said they felt as if a post was disingenuous when other influencers’ were promoting the same product in the same way, on the same day.
If a company is targeting a certain niche with their video influencer marketing strategy, they are likely to find some overlap in the influencers’ audiences. This is all right. But if the same people are seeing different influencers saying the exact same thing about a product it begins to feel inauthentic. If a video is too scripted, nobody is going to believe that 10 different influencers genuinely believe the script they’re giving. Allow the influencer the flexibility to express their opinion about the product in their own way.
All in all, relying on influencers in video marketing is not as simple as sending in a script and a product to any available influencer and asking them to post at 3pm est. Effectively employing a video influencer marketing strategy requires building a relationship between the brand and the influencer, as well as maintaining the relationship between the influencer and their viewers. This can only be achieved through authentic content.
Key aspects of an authentic video influencer marketing strategy:
- Honesty. Be honest with influencer, and allow the influencer the freedom to be honest with their audience.
- Genuine interest. The interests of the influencer and their audience should clearly intersect with interests of the company and their customers.
- Trust. The influencer should trust the company sponsoring them, as well as the product or brand they are promoting. This way their honest opinions will reflect positively on the company.
- Personalization. Adding a personal touch to the influencer marketing video will come across as more genuine to the influencer’s audience.
In the end, all four of these key aspects should be integrated into your video influencer marketing strategy if you want to successfully appeal to your target audience. Without these tips, inauthenticity might just push viewers away from your brand, and nobody wants that.
Dana High is a Marketing and Communications intern for Green Buzz Agency. She thinks JacksFilms has two of the cutest dogs in the world and would probably buy anything he’s advertising as long as the dogs are in the video.