06 February 2023
How to gain customer trust through influencer marketing
86% of consumers look for advice and recommendations from social media influencers to help them with their purchasing decisions (Digital Marketing Institute). Combined with social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok progressively evolving into real shopping hubs, brands are recognizing the power of influencer marketing and are incorporating it into their digital strategies to reach and connect with new audiences and obtain valuable insights and information around their products and brands. Due to this development of social ecommerce, these platforms are becoming increasingly lucrative and valuable direct revenue streams.
A further 49% of consumers think an influencer’s recommendation is more trustworthy than a brand recommendation (Cure Media). In the mind of the consumer, a brand would never broadcast anything negative about themselves, therefore a third-party opinion helps provide a more honest perspective on a product, so it is no surprise that influencer marketing is becoming an increasingly popular digital marketing tool for brands.
However, there are several factors that need to be taken into consideration when executing an influencer marketing campaign to ensure the outcome is a trustworthy relationship with your consumers that will convert into sales for your brand.
Authenticity and trust
The definition of success in influencer marketing is no longer just about the number of followers somebody has. Consumers expect to see genuine and relatable influencers they can trust to give an authentic perspective on brands and products. Where previously brands felt the need to pay premium prices for influencers with the highest follower counts, today it’s those that partner with influencers who show authenticity diversity, and who provide full disclosure of paid posts are winning the competition. There is even evidence of brands taking the authentic or ‘genuinfluencer’ approach a step further in seeking industry professionals out to promote their products. Many beauty brands such as Codex Beauty and Skin & Me, for example, have chosen to work with skincare professionals over Instagram stars to meet consumer desires for an authentic and trustworthy voice behind the products.
Whether a lifestyle influencer like Zanna Van Dijk, or cleaning sensation Mrs. Hinch, influencers are often thought leaders in their industry, therefore consumers feel more inclined to listen to and trust them. When your brand associates itself with an influencer whose audience trusts them, that trust extends also to your brand (Veloce), which is beneficial for everyone because it can help to build customer loyalty over time.
However, influencers are also brands in and of themselves. The relationship a brand has with an influencer therefore needs to be collaborative. Rather than trying to take care of everything from content creation to copywriting, allowing an influencer to build their own narrative that supports your brand whilst remaining true to their own helps ensure the endorsement is authentic and impactful. It will be easy for an influencer’s loyal followers to tell if the messaging is credible or if it has been written directly by a brand (Veloce). If there is no authentic connection between an influencer and a brand, the audience can easily distrust the campaign content (Influencer Marketing Hub).
The dawn of de-influencing
De-influencing has hit viral status as of early 2023. In their bid to find opinions that they can trust, coupled with influencers' desire to connect more genuinely with their audience, consumers are not only embracing influencers' purchase recommendations, but also their recommendations on what products to avoid. This has come to be known as 'de-influencing', and is a trend that has now seen millions of TikTok views under the hashtag #deinfluencing.
De-influencing speaks to a generation of increasingly conscious consumers - to those who are aware of environmental and ethical impacts of over-consumption, and who are also seeking value-for-money products in the midst of rising costs of living.
For brands seeking trust from their consumers, the de-influencing trend must be considered as important as the promotion of products through influencers. It's effect is set to cast light on the significance of the influencer voice, and provides a context in which the positive recommendation of a brand or product holds more weight than ever before.
Micro and nano influencers
The most loyal followers can often be found within the micro and nano influencer space, with micro influencers are those with 10-50K followers whilst nano influencers are those with less than 10K. And whilst it may appear counter-intuitive for brands to partner with influencers whose reach is limited compared to their macro and mega counterparts, their opinions often have a far greater impact. Micro and nano influencers have a much closer relationship with their audience, directly communicating with them regularly on a one-to-one basis, therefore they come across as more honest and genuine with their product recommendations. This will increase the chances of developing a level of trust and loyalty between the audience and your brand too. In fact, 63% of consumers think nano and micro influencers are more trustworthy compared to bigger influencers and 61% are more likely to follow a nano or micro influencer (CureMedia).
Additionally, smaller-scale influencers are more likely to cater for a specific niche or industry (e.g. fashion, beauty, travel, gaming etc.), therefore will have a more engaged audience because the content is more relevant to them (CureMedia), in turn increasing your chances of a better ROI.
Influencers vs. celebrities
92% of consumers trust an influencer advert more than a celebrity endorsement (QuestionPro). While celebrities may have a larger fan follower base, they won’t necessarily be an industry expert when it comes to a product, therefore the ad won’t come across as authentic and is seen as more of a financial transaction. In fact, a study found that just 3% of consumers would consider purchasing a product endorsed by a celebrity whilst 30% would purchase one endorsed by a non-celebrity influencer (Collective Bias).
Using a celebrity endorser is also significantly more expensive than using an influencer, with Cristiano Ronaldo making $1.6 million per sponsored post and Ariana Grande making $1.5 million (Ainfluencer). Whilst an influencer may not have as many followers, they tend to have a more loyal relationship with their followers, sharing genuine tips and recommendations often with a product niche (such as beauty or fashion) and interacting with their followers more often, meaning consumers are more likely to trust them for shopping recommendations. A recent study found that 33% of respondents trusted influencers when making shopping decisions, whilst only 17% trusted friends and family (gen.video).
THG Society is THG Ingenuity’s 360 influencer marketing solution and home to one of the world's largest influencer networks. Our team works with brands and influencers across all sectors and territories around the globe, taking a data driven approach to influencer marketing, delivering tangible results for brands. Get in touch today to find out more.
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