Staying authentic is crucial for influencers. The term ‘influencer’ says it all: you have influence. No matter if you have a thousand followers or a hundred thousand, whether you do it rather unconsciously or with a lot of purposes: you directly influence a lot of people’s minds. With a huge platform comes a lot of power, but also a lot of responsibility. You can actually impact someone, and who knows, even make a change in this world.
So how can you make sure you use your voice wisely and authentically, especially when you’re working in a team?
Earning your followers’ trust is everything. Maintaining it can only be done by consistently being your authentic self. This can be challenging when brand collaborations and money come into play.
No matter how big or small you are or what niche you are in, we’ve compiled a short list of tips and guidelines you can follow in order to stay true to yourself – and your followers!
Know what you stand for and make it clear from the start
Who are you? What do you stand for? What don’t you stand for? Define your values, beliefs, and principles. And then apply them, consistently, always.
For example: if you care about the environment, you can’t be plane hopping around the world to report on all of your exciting travels. What you can do, is look for ways to travel in a more sustainable way and share them, since that is something a lot of people are interested in right now.
There is a lot of strength in your specific principles, and defining them will set you up for collaborations with brands whose message aligns with yours, ensuring you stay authentic. That is why we advise you to make yourself known from the start. For example, you can:
- Incorporate some keywords in your bio
- Introduce your beliefs in your media kit, so brands get the idea immediately
- Be forthcoming about what you will and won’t promote/support
Not only will you spare yourself a lot of time dealing with ‘wrong’ brands, you’ll also attract the right ones faster.
Believe (in) yourself and be honest
In life, but also in influencer marketing, integrity is everything. Especially because it hasn’t always been that way. Promotions don’t get the same amount of trust they did at the beginning of influencer marketing days.
So, only promote a product or service you’d actually use/have an interest in. Even better: only promote it if you’d actually recommend it to someone close to you.
Obligatory disclosure (‘ad’, ‘sponsored’, ‘gifted’, …) has already ensured this to some extent but transparency still has to go further than this.
Even if you get paid to promote something, be honest about your opinion. Your followers trust it, after all, and might even spend money because of you. Don’t deceive them. Plus, your feedback might be welcomed by/useful for the brand as well!
In influencing, just like in life: the truth will prevail.
You wouldn’t want to mislead someone or cause them harm, right? In order to avoid this and stay authentic, you have to put in the research. Whenever you receive an offer from a brand, do a Google deep-dive: research their products, their brand, their history, their mission statement, the people they’ve worked with, etc.
Make sure your values align and that they’re being honest with you. If something is not clear, don’t be scared to ask questions. The way they react to that might tell you a lot as well.
Communicate (even with your critics)
It’s important to surround yourself with like-minded people and build a good network, but keep yourself open for questions and feedback. Yes, even if it’s negative.
We’re not saying you should accept and welcome all negativity, but by nurturing an open line of communication, your followers will know you as such: an open person.
Influencers who delete negative comments or block comments altogether can quickly be seen as disingenuous. If you allow challenging views or disagreements, you can always keep learning about yourself and the world. Of course, respect is key here.
In summary: know what you stand for and make it clear from the start. Believe (in) yourself and always be honest and transparent. Research everything and ensure open communication.
Just try to be the best version of yourself you can be, and you will be. No amount of followers or money is worth giving that up for.