Tags: Social Media

By: Sarah Feret

As the digital world evolves, consumers increasingly able to tune out marketing campaigns with stock photos and overly salesy messaging. Undoubtedly, authentic content is one of the most effective marketing strategies brands can use to connect with consumers on an emotional and trustworthy level. Influencer marketing, when done right, is one of the most effective ways for brands to reach audiences.

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According to a recent study, 33% of users feel advertising content is dishonest and fake, a sentiment that is steadily on the rise. Another survey found that 84% of millennials don’t trust advertising. It is essential that companies steer towards adopting fresh approaches to content marketing.

So what is authentic content?

Content marketing is a powerful tool that companies employ to connect with potential consumers. In order for a campaign to be successful, the content’s tone must be sincere and transparent. This lays the foundation for a trusting and engaging connection with consumers. As the advertising competition online increases, brands sometimes forget that certain advertising strategies can be misleading. With digital consumers becoming savvier every day, they are growing increasingly sensitive to canned messaging and tend to avoid “ad-like content” altogether. Companies need to prioritize authenticity for the best results.

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is when companies collaborate with “influencers,” or influential people on social media with a following this can include traditional celebrities on social media as well. Companies partner with these influencers to create branded custom content marketing campaigns. In exchange for their paid or other incentive, the influencer will talk about the product on their platform. While most influencer marketing is done in connection with larger talent, some companies have also found success with smaller influencer, also known as “microinfluencers.” This can be a more affordable way to test out audiences and gather insights before moving on to larger influencer campaigns.

Principles of creating organic content

  • USP – Find your unique selling point (USP) and capitalize on it. It will be the differentiator that sets you apart from the competition.
  • Uniformity – Once you hone in on a theme for your campaign, stick to it. Staying consistent is key to avoid confusing your target audience and establishing your brand’s presence.
  • KYC – Know your customer (KYC) and where their interests. Try to stick to one specific target audience and become an expert at getting them to engage with your brand.
  • Hold true to your brand – There is no other better way to build an authentic campaign than by being refreshingly different. Don't blend in, stick out! A road less traveled might just help you accelerate your brand's growth and set you apart from the competition.
  • Act Natural – Branded content should be more than just an influencer mentioning a brand. It should flow with their content and be delivered in a way that is instinctive for that person.
  • Take feedback constructively – Pay close attention to the type of responses the branded content is getting. Is it positive? Are they asking questions? Are they tagging their friends to take a look?

Advantages of Authentic Content

In order to ensure influencer’s content is transparent and relatable, you must first understand the benefits it will bring to your campaign and why it is essential. Regardless of the types of marketing channels you employ, if your content is consistent across the board, and if you employ some of the tips outlined above, you have a much higher chance of turning a viewer into a customer.

  • Builds engagement – Employing sincere content will help you hone in on your target demographic more accurately. If the content speaks directly to your focus group, you will increase their want and willingness to engage.
  • Grow sales – By concentrating your efforts on educating consumers, you will show why your products or services are better, increasing conversions.
  • Memorability – When branded content isn’t fake but honest, it distinguishes itself from the run of the mill marketing campaigns that consumers ignore because they don’t trust them.
  • Increases credibility – As soon as consumers realize that the content adds value, they will be stimulated to stick with your brand and not jump ship. Including only organic information in your content marketing campaign will make your brand grow its credibility exponentially, as will honest influencer marketing ploys.
  • Loyalty – In time, as long as the underlying authenticity of your content doesn’t alter, customers will become more dependent on your product or service, which gives rise to brand loyalty. In addition, with the fast-paced social media environment today, customers who believe in your mission will most likely bring in more traffic to your virtual doorstep through user-generated content and rave reviews.

How to make branded content authentic

  • Personalized content – Ensure that you include screenshots, your industry experience or your own research into your content marketing campaign. It helps build authority. And can even be one of the most effective influencer marketing tips, for your influencer to follow as well. It establishes the authenticity of the collaboration.
  • Employ factual information – There is no better mechanism to prove the legitimacy of your brand than by receiving positive reviews, publishing customer testimonials and sharing user-generated content. Branded content is more authentic when it includes trustworthy statistics and facts from reputable sources, including influencers. Content becomes solid when it is backed up by practical and factual data, which can’t be disputed.
  • Focus on enhancing engagement – Social media marketing, content marketing and influencer marketing are complementary to each other. In order to drive a successful campaign, you must build engagement across all marketing channels to optimize your brand’s potential. Another one of the most effective influencer marketing tips is for your partner to share user-generated content on their social platform, which will help accelerate engagement levels of your target demographic exponentially.
  • Find out what your customers want – Prior to building branded content, do your homework by conducting an audience analysis and keyword research, which will help you discover issues your customers face and topics they are in search of. Once you have the relevant information your content can then address the problems with comprehensive solutions, which will help create value and educate your user base, thereby further spiking your conversion rates.
  • Properly disclose the relationship – In several countries worldwide, brand partners are required to disclose their partnerships with a brand. These requirements are especially important when it comes to advertising on content geared towards children. While this can sometimes be a gray area on what exactly a “proper” disclosure is, you can visit the FTC’s site to learn more and stay up to date with the newest guidelines.
  • Subscribers vs Engagement – Surprisingly, what businesses may not realize is that, while an influencer may have a large following, the amount of people actually engaging with their posts is low. This could be a sign that the influencer doesn’t tend to connect to their audience, their content is no longer as engaging as it used to be or even that they are purchasing followers! Be sure to take into consideration how many engagements (likes, comments, views, etc) posts are getting on average to really see what how much reach they have. To take this a step further, look for previous branded content they’ve done to see how those have performed.

When consumers are approached in an honest and relatable way, they are more likely to make a connect with your brand. In order to make influencer marketing be successful, you must do your due diligence and employ effective strategies. Authentic, organic content can bridge the growing divide of how today’s consumers view marketing campaigns and in turn, increase conversions.

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