Every day, thousands of influencers take to their social media pages to show their thousands––or even millions––of followers their new favorite products. They’ll usually display these products in a creative fashion, giving their followers a tutorial on how to use them, or showing off a trendy outfit equipped with a sponsored item. However, the reality is that oftentimes, these influencers’ “favorite products” are really just an item created or sold by a brand they are getting paid by. How, then, do they maintain the trust of their followers and keep them engaged?
Before influencer marketing got its start, ads were much different than how they are today. Most commonly, products were advertised in commercials on TV or on billboards. These ads would typically feature some brief information about the product and something catchy to grab the consumer’s attention. If one thing was certain, these types of ads were clearly ads, they were not fooling anyone into thinking they weren’t sponsored.
Today, with influencer marketing, the line is often blurred between what may and may not be an ad. When your favorite celebrity or influencer is encouraging you to use a certain product, sometimes it's unclear whether they are saying this simply because they love the product and they think you’d benefit from it too, or if they are just being paid to promote the product. It’s for this reason that influencer marketing is dangerous for consumers, who are likely to buy anything favored by influencer posts.
Influencers are actually taking a similar risk when it comes to marketing and promoting products on their page. Content creation is the job of an influencer, but they also work tirelessly to build and foster trust from their followers. For this reason, it is important that influencers are strategic about how they post about sponsored products, and they can use the following tips when posting ads:
Influencers should, and often do, keep their followers in mind when deciding to make a deal with a brand. In order to do this, influencers have to know their followers and what attracts them to their page in the first place. Maybe the influencer has a particularly cute dog, and the majority of their followers are dog lovers, or the influencer is skilled in fitness, and their followers love getting workout inspiration from them.
Once an influencer knows their followers, they should use this knowledge when making deals with brands. The influencer with mostly dog-loving followers should choose to work with brands that offer dog products while the fitness influencer should work with brands in the fitness or healthy lifestyle industry. Keeping followers in mind is the first key to success in maintaining followers’ attention and trust while posting about sponsored products.
Another important tip for influencers is that they should have a genuine interest in the product they are promoting. If they are actually passionate about the product or if it is something that they use on their own day to day, then they will be the most authentic in their advertisements and they will actually be promoting a legitimate product to their followers, building their followers’ trust in them. If an influencer is constantly promoting products that are low quality or get bad reviews, then their followers will quickly catch on that they are not a reliable source.
The final tip for influencers is to make sure they stay consistent with their usual content when posting about sponsored products. This means, if they usually post funny videos, they should incorporate the product into a funny video. If they usually post beauty tutorials, then they should incorporate the product into a beauty tutorial. It is important that their content is not too altered by the advertisement, because this is another way to lose their followers’ interest.
While these tips might seem obvious, they are often missed and are essential to an influencer’s success. Once followers are roped in and given a reason to stay, consistency is key, and these tips should allow for the consistency needed to be a successful influencer.