How to encourage authenticity in influencer marketing

Authenticity isn't a one-person job. Here's what marketers can do to get real content and collabs.

Welcome to issue #13 of Return on Influence, a newsletter by me, Eleni Zoe from Modash, about the details that make influencer marketing a formidable channel. Get new ideas to improve your processes, workflows, and strategies every two weeks.

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Authenticity isn’t just “vibes.” And it’s not as simple as “the influencer should be authentic.

As marketers, we have a big role in ensuring we get authentic content and form real partnerships.

But why? Why so bullish on authenticity, Eleni?

Because authenticity is influencer marketing. It’s what differentiates the influencer channel from everything else. Without it, you may as well axe your influencer marketing budget, hire actors, and call it a day.

Influencer marketing works because it’s real. It’s a billion-dollar industry because consumers trust creators more than brands.

To keep that trust, the Modash team took to the metaphorical streets to learn how marketers can actually do this thing called “authenticity.”


Find the authentic angle for each creator

Every creator has a personal story. You want to link your product to their personal story.

You can see this in action in any post sponsored by Clorox. When they partner with influencers, you can tell they’re big on authenticity.

Every influencer tells an entirely different story about Clorox. Sure, every post is about cleaning, but each influencer shows what is important to them and their relationship to this task.

Look at these examples to see how Clorox allows each creator to be true to themselves and their voice.

Each angle is authentic to the creator, making the content so much more engaging and relevant to their audience.

Bonus: Authentic angles can open your brand to a whole new audience. Clorox welcomed the slob and gremlin communities, an audience that is notably hard for cleaning brands to market to.

How to find the authentic angle for your influencer partners

You want to review their past content and see what you find that aligns with your brand’s features, values, and use cases.

  • What do they talk about often?

  • What advice, preferences, and values do they share in their posts & stories?

  • What do they struggle with or dislike?

When Georgina Whalen was at One Medical, she did this by asking creators to share a few of their personal pain points related to the One Medical brand (primary care).

Knowing the person's experiences helped Georgina find authentic angles related to their brand offering, resulting in more real, personal stories.

Georgina used a form to capture their pain points. Or, you can get on a call with an influencer to get to know them and find those ideas.

However you do it, allowing a creator to tell their story about your product will raise the authenticity level to a 10.

TIP #2

Select influencers who already love your brand

People who already know and love your brand and use your products are much more likely to come across as authentic to audiences.

Because it’s real.

If your collabs feel more like scripted ads, you want to look within your existing ecosystem (your customers, people who follow you on social media, etc.) and check whether they have enough followers in your target demographic to become partners.

Anna-Maria from Aumio told us how different working with these two groups can be.

Creators who already love the brand

Creators who don’t know the brand

“It's often easier to negotiate great deals with these creators. They're also more likely to go 'above and beyond' - more content, extra mentions, quick replies”.

“At least half of creators who ask for access two days before the content approval are less likely to perform. Their content is often very similar (most just speak into the camera) and more likely to appear staged. The content doesn't perform well 85% of the time.”

How to find influencers who already follow your brand

This is where software can be very helpful. Modash, for example, makes it real simple to identify creators who are already brand fans or customers.

When you create an account with Modash, we’ll prompt you for your brand’s social accounts.

Once you get into Modash, you’ll have a list of Influential fans waiting for you. 👇

To identify creators in your customer pool, you can upload a list of emails, and Modash will find the influencers. Then, you can vet them and see who might be a good egg to partner with.

No software? No problem. Look through your social media tags to see who’s mentioning your brand. It might not be as easy as using software, and you might miss someone, but it’s doable.

TIP #3

Send products before committing to a paid collab

Turning to your followers or customers to find authentic creator partners is an excellent option, but for a lot of brands, this might not be enough influencers to scale.

So if you're recruiting new people, you must find a way to check for authenticity during the process.

One way to do this is to send your products to creators before committing to a partnership. This lets you check whether an influencer is excited about the product.

Piper Phillips, former Marketing Director at Tru, told us how she phrases this in the first outreach email.

My first step in outreach is always offering a free product. To even consider a paid collaboration, we need the creator to actually enjoy our product. My go-to line is: ‘If you're interested, I would love to personally send you some Tru! (No strings attached, of course).'

If the influencer loves your product, you can begin negotiating a more formal partnership.


Do you require influencers to try your product before posting?

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See you in the next issue of ROI!
Eleni Zoe xx
Marketing @ Modash
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