From a thousand-dollar brand deal to a million-dollar Bali vacation –  when it comes to influencer marketing, we’ve seen it all. Brands had to pay more, go farther, go big, or get left behind. Extravagance was key. That’s right, was. Because like everything else in today’s fast-paced digital world, influencer culture has evolved.

As social feeds have become more saturated by sponsored posts and scarily accurate ads, brands have to do more than just catch our attention: they have to keep us engaged. 

How? By telling a story.

Today’s consumers have become immune to advertising in any way, shape, or form. As the sponsored content increased, so did the consumer skepticism. Especially now, the rules have changed, and influencers have to be transparent when advertising by explicitly stating ‘sponsored,’ ‘ad,’ or ‘gifted.’ 

While this does make the industry a more responsible and professional place, it also takes away the influencer’s chance of – at least – ‘seeming’ authentic. Now, they have to actually be authentic.

Storytelling is key

Consumers are not online to look for ads. However, they are always looking for stories. Humans are social and emotional creatures who want to feel a connection. The same goes for the products and thus brands they choose to invest in. 

Remember: the original influencers started their accounts out of no more than passion and the need to share. Once companies got involved and money could be made, our platforms quickly became oversaturated, and so did we. 

In this so-called war for attention, people are now looking for unique feeds that stand out from the tough-to-beat algorithms. They want to follow and actively look for real, inspiring people with a story to tell.

To keep up with this, influencers have to think about their influence. They – and brands alike – have to be more critical of who they collaborate with and their content. It all has to be genuine, engaging and it has to match the bigger story. That way, your storytelling will attract the right listeners, who will then turn into loyal followers.

Show and tell, to sell

Influencer marketing has evolved to storytelling, and if you can’t turn the page, you might as well burn the book. So how can brands ensure the authenticity of their storytelling when working with influencers? We’re happy to share our biggest tips.

  • Tell a story

Creativity is crucial when setting up a campaign. Images of creators laughing at a product in their hands are no longer enough.

Your brand should look beyond simple sponsored posts and product placements. Consumers are looking for more. They are looking for a story.

What is the story behind the product, how can a consumer relate to the message, how can they recognize themselves in your brands and, in the end, be more emotionally motivated to become your customer?

These are the questions you need to answer to create a campaign that will stand out and attract the attention of your audience.

Think of emotion or story related to your product, then develop a strategy and concept around that.

  • Partner with the right talent

Choose wisely when selecting the influencers you want to work with. Look for high-quality content creators who are already talking about you. 

Then, go for those who share your values, and whose (visual) content matches your overall aesthetic. If you wouldn’t want to repost their work to your brand’s socials, think twice about collaborating with them.

  • Think long-term

The key to maximizing influencer partnerships is to have a clear strategy for ongoing activation. Influencers are full-on marketeers at this point, so don’t just consider them ‘a one-off post’. If you want their audience to engage with your brand on a deeper level, you have to invest time in them. The easiest way to do this is to start an ambassador program.

In conclusion: on average, we scroll through about 90 meters of content per day, which pretty much equates to the length of the Statue of Liberty. Don’t let this overwhelm you – instead, let it challenge and motivate you to evolve. Check out our hub, for example, as it is full of educational content to inspire you and your company.