Influencers need authenticity—but how much is too much? “Faking it” spurs unfollows

by | Aug 29, 2019 | Public Relations

Above all else, influencer marketers are looking for authenticity in their campaigns—but how much authenticity is too much? New research from influencer platform Sideqik reveals that 84 percent of consumers say authenticityisimportant when choosing influencers to follow, but 93 percent say forced or fake authenticity is just as likely to make them unfollow as a total lack of it. Overall, 65 percent say real value is more important than total authenticity. Therefore, finding the right balance between authenticity and value will be especially critical for brands as trust in influencers continues to grow.

Outside of Facebook, less than half of the people consumers follow on social media are people they know in real life, according to the report, The 21st Century Social Circle. Not only that, but 70 percent say they trust influencer opinions more than their real-world friends—and more than half of today’s consumers now consider the influencers they follow to be an extension of their circle of friends.

Other key findings from the report include:

Consumers highly value the opinions of those they choose to follow online

When it comes to recommendations and reviews, consumers trust influencers more than many other sources, with 78 percent saying they trust influencer recommendations more than traditional ads. Even more interestingly, 20 percent of consumers are more likely to trust recommendations from influencers than those of their colleagues, and seven out of 10 consumers trust influencer recommendations just as much as the opinions of their real-world friends.

Influencers need authenticity—but how much is too much? “Faking it” spurs unfollows

Influencers play a significant role in product discovery

In fact, across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Twitch and Pinterest—at least 78 percent of consumers say they have discovered a new brand/product from an influencer, and at least one in every four consumers have purchased a brand or product based on an influencer recommendation.

Influencer marketing is breeding the new “passive purchaser”

While only 57 percent of consumers say they regularly engage with the influencers they follow, 77 percent say they have purchased a product based on an influencers post.

One size doesn’t fit all

Consumers use individual social media platforms for a variety of reasons beyond connecting with friends, as mentioned earlier. In fact, consumers shared their primary use case for Instagram is to gain an inside view of celebrity/influencer lives. For Twitter, it’s to keep up with the news; YouTube to get honest reviews of products/brands; and both Pinterest and Twitch to get inspiration and ideas or tips/tricks.

What do consumers predominantly want from their favorite social networks?

Influencers need authenticity—but how much is too much? “Faking it” spurs unfollows

“In addition to the fact that consumers view their inner social circles completely different today than they did five or 10 years ago, what’s more intriguing for brands making investments in influencer marketing is that there is a delicate balance to strike between delivering value and building authentic relationships with influencers,” said Jeremy Haile, CEO and co-founder of Sideqik, in a news release. “At the end of the day, consumers engage with influencers to reap the benefits, but they aren’t willing to completely disregard honesty and transparency. Therefore, brands need to put more rigorous vetting practices in place when identifying which influencers to partner with while also focusing on building longer-term relationships and demanding better measurement of results.”

Influencers need authenticity—but how much is too much? “Faking it” spurs unfollows

Brands who do this well will reap huge rewards, from boosted brand awareness and engagement to increased conversions and lasting loyalty. The reliance on influencers is only increasing, and in the last year alone, 72 percent of consumers say their trust of influencers has increased, and 66 percent say purchase decisions are more driven by influencer recommendations.

Down the complete report here.

Influencers need authenticity—but how much is too much? “Faking it” spurs unfollows

The survey polled more than 600 U.S. consumers who have at least one social media account on Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, YouTube, Instagram or Pinterest, and follow at least one influencer on one of those social platforms.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter