The Importance of Transparency in Influencer Marketing

Ok, here me out! 

Our favorite influencers are all seen to be relatable and honest. But how honest are they really?

Why is it so important to have transparency with your followers? 

Bloggers, researchers and the news have all been reporting on a series of changes in events that have mostly been influenced by the new age of Marketing. From being inclusive, to showing true skin in make-up advertisements, the rise of honesty and transparency has never been more exciting. 

Power and responsibility

Being an influencer comes with a certain degree of power. Can you guess what the next part of that sentence is? You guessed it – With power comes great responsibility! 

According to Cambridge, the definition of power is literally the ability to control and influence a person’s actions or events. Having this control over someone’s life, needs to be done with responsibility and awareness of the power the influencer holds on their audience. 

Influencers can “influence” the public into doing things that they wouldn’t normally do. These things can range from bettering ourselves to simply buying a product. Since those who are following influencers trust their opinions and find a sense of familiarity in their content, getting them to buy a product or service is not a difficult task. This is one of the main reasons why influencers need to be extra cautious when selling products they haven’t actually tried themselves. 

Let’s use an example. You want to buy make-up from a huge influencer brand. You have two options, A – you go with a high coverage foundation, where the influencer can clearly be seen using filters, or B – a high coverage foundation where the influencer shows the true representation of skin.

Wanting an authentic product from an authentic person

According to Backlinko, more than 4.48 billion people use social media worldwide. The influencers that occupy these spaces are trusted by millions of people for advice, entertainment and recommendations on purchase items. Not only has social media become a crucial part of our everyday lives, but it also has been able to connect people better than ever before. Your favorite influencer is now part of your daily life, giving you joy and entertainment after a long day of work, or starting your day off on a positive note. With the increase of mental health movements flooding our social media accounts, many people have started to shift from their ideals to ones that bring them a better quality of life. 

70% of teens trust influencers more than they do their favorite celebrities. The influencer market has become so successful based on a core principle – Influencers are relatable. The trust that people have in influencers can be transferred over to a brand. 

Olivia Vandyk claims that the need to constantly put up a good face and show only the good parts of our life has become exhausting for the average person to undertake. This type of image up-keep is known mostly among brands that have corporate level marketing strategies. 

Olivia also claims that her experiences with social media influencers hold more value and depth when they are honest and transparent with their audience. These influencers that value authenticity and ethics over the fake image take the exhaustion out of the equation. People can enjoy their social media accounts without the flow of impossible standards to meet. 

As these influencers grow in the market with greater following and greater influence in the community, they find it easier to connect with their audience on a deeper level. This is mainly because they don’t need to lie in order to keep you happy. They can be themselves and encourage you to do the same. The influencers that share their reality are found to be easier to connect to and trust. Influencers have the power to encourage people just by sharing their real experiences that aren’t merely an illusion. 

The importance of transparency with influencers

According to Influicity, the importance of transparency can be divided into four sections. 

  • Providing digital responsibility and authenticity
  • Enhancing and developing brand trust
  • Buy-in from consumers and relatability of influencers
  • Advocacy credibility 

These four statements are self- explanatory, let us say they have transparency in the explanation…get it? I agree that the joke was dry… so let’s look into the purpose of these points. 

Providing digital responsibility and authenticity

Being transparent about a brand means the influencer needs to actually use the product or service. The reason for this is to actually give an accurate review on the product. It can also prevent their followers from getting scammed or negatively impacted by the brand. 

Enhancing and developing brand trust

The more you are transparent, the more the customers will trust your opinions about a brand. An example of this is perhaps talking about both the pros and cons of a brand. Be sure to state in your contract in future brand deals that you will be honest in your review. This can also help to filter out brands that are not trustworthy. 

Buy-in from consumers and relatability of influencers

Customers tend to spend more if they trust the source. Influencers gain more followers if their content brings value. You see the pattern? Increase transparency = increase in revenue = increase in following = increase in value. 

Advocacy credibility 

Influencers that have more credit to their name are mostly the ones who are honest with their followers. They protect their community by only providing content that is valuable to their followers and that is honest with them. 

Businesses know the value of having transparency with their customers. This is because trust builds loyalty, and loyalty leads to long term stability. In today’s market, there are many brands taking advantage of influencers to sell their products, but finding the right image for the brand is important. 

Social media has been around for a long time now, and marketers and brands have adapted well to the change in influencer campaigns. One of these adaptations come from using transparent influencers to represent their brand. They know that influencers will hold a value to your brand and you need to be sure if they will represent you well. 

94% of people said they would stick with a transparent brand. This shows that if you’re a brand (or an influencer for a brand), transparency always yields good outcomes and builds long lasting relationships with customers or brand deals. 

Branding with influencers

As we’ve mentioned before, branding in these spaces has shown to be the go to marketing strategy in today’s time. With many people trusting more influencers, influencers are getting paid opportunities to sell a product to their audiences. 

In the past, there have been many scandals surrounding influencers that have promoted scams and low-quality products, just because the pay was high. The problem with this is the people who see these influencers as honest and trustworthy take their word for gold. In fact, 49% of all consumers depend on influencer recommendations.

How can influencers make a living without compromising morals?

The purpose of branding in any business is to understand the customer. Understanding what the customer needs and wants puts businesses in a better position to market to them. No one relates to the bold glamor AI make-up filter on TikTok or the doggy filter on Snapchat. The more relatable the marketing is, the better. The highest paid TikTokers with the highest followings are the most transparent, what more proof do we need? 

Think of Mr Beast and his documentary about how he opened up about his journey into the world of Youtube. This documentary outlines how he came from a place of struggle and it took a lot of tears and hard work to get to where he is now. That video got 12M views despite being an hour long Youtube video. Another video titled Kendall Jenner Opens Up About Her Anxiety, has 2.8M views. 

The theme throughout these types of videos is someone who is well known, opening up about real life experiences and how they overcame those struggles. People who see the value in being open about their journey, demonstrate a sense of relatability to those around them. 

Let’s look back at the question I asked you before, about the make-up brand. One influencer chooses to use filters and perfect clear skin edits to sell the product. Another influencer reveals her original and authentic skin, with all its textures and features that are more relatable to you. 

If it was my choice, I for one would go with make-up brand B, just because I have real skin, with pores, scars and lines that the public has tried to blur out in the past. Influencers who teach people to embrace their authentic selves rather than becoming carbon copies of airbrushed beauties are the ones changing influencer marketing as we know it.

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