It’s a challenge faced across the communications industry. Consumers are losing trust in media, government and brands due to the lack of authenticity and transparency. Today’s consumers crave a bond with brands not unlike a friendship; the entire relationship hinges on trust.
In their 2017 State of the Media Report, Cision states, “influencer marketing is still an emerging industry and an enormous opportunity for public relations professionals, but it is maturing quickly. As the ethics and processes of this new practice continue to evolve, public relations professionals will play an integral role in shaping the industry.” That’s a lot of responsibility for public relations gurus and brand communicators.
This Cision survey indicates that “brand communicators need to continue to provide relevant, authoritative, accurate content to the public in order to preserve… consumer trust.”
Consumers are more connected to brands and other consumers than ever before. They consult influencers on social media to compare products and decide what to buy. This Trybe Consumer Insights Report reveals that 74% of moms “trust sources such as mom blogs and online communities more than brand advertisements when it comes to gathering product information.”
Cision backs this up: “As trust in traditional media drops, influential individuals become more important in the communications ecosystem.”
Influencers are vital in bridging the gap between brand and trusted brand.
So, how can brand communicators use influencers to build consumer trust? Let’s break it down.
We know that consumers opt for high quality content even when it’s sponsored (Collective Bias). This is where our influencers come in. Mom-bloggers, beauty bloggers, high-reach Instagrammers, you name it… we have a lineup of specific, passionate influencers who produce quality blogs, photos and videos every day. They connect to their audiences by sharing authentic content that reflects who they are. This resonates with consumers.
Paid advertisements are disruptive and blatant. Influencers create new usage occasions and creative (and honest) reviews of products and retailers.
Note: It’s important that influencers follow FTC guidelines in disclosing sponsored posts. Consumers are increasingly accepting of sponsored content, but over 4 in 10 Americans have felt disappointed or deceived if they find out that content was sponsored too late (Digital News Report).
The relationship between brand and influencer is one that must be carefully balanced. It’s a two-way street: influencers must keep in mind their audience when choosing to represent brands, and brands must keep in mind their consumers when selecting influencers. When this is done right, the effects are mutually beneficial.
Finding influencers who are excited about your brand can seem a daunting task – but the reward is worth it. When your social media allies become brand ambassadors, their authenticity shines. And your brand is the focus. That’s a gift that keeps on giving.
Celebrity endorsements might seem to line up with influencer marketing – but this isn’t always the case. While celebrities have large followings, their social posts tend to have lower engagement than influencers with a following of 100,000 or less. And what matters is influenceability.
Higher engagement and higher influenceability can be found in what we call the “power middle.” One of our studies revealed non-celebrity influencers are 10x more likely to influence an in-store purchase than celebrities. That’s because the everyday blogger has built an enormous amount of trust with their following. Brand communicators can take advantage of this established trust and have their brand associated with it.