Authenticity in Influencer Marketing: Why It Matters in 2024

by | 23 May 2024 | Insights

Influencers' authenticity significantly impacts the trust their followers have in their recommendations. But how do we find such creators?

In today’s digital landscape, authenticity remains an invaluable commodity. Ireland has witnessed a massive explosion in content creation in recent years, with online celebrities like The 2 Johnnies and Doireann Garrihy now genuine household names. Through their online platforms, they bridge the gap between consumers and brands, building empires as a result.  

While these paid partnerships are big business, there is always a risk of alienating audiences through collaborations that, for whatever reason, just aren’t the right fit. It’s important that Irish brands align carefully with content creators who genuinely reflect their values and message. 

Why Authenticity is Important

While authenticity may seem like a buzzword in influencer marketing, it really is much more than that.

The average Instagram user sees countless ads on the platform on the daily so there is a strong degree of media literacy out there – most consumers can sense when a partnership is less authentic and more of a cash grab. On the other hand, it’s clear to see when an influencer does seem to genuinely love a product or endorse a service – that’s when it carries real weight and resonates with followers. They trust their recommendations and rely on them to be a credible source. 

The Power of Authenticity in Influencers

Aligning Values

Brands should always be meticulous when it comes down to the nitty gritty of selecting an influencer to partner with. It’s something that requires careful planning and research. You want to make sure that both parties are on the same page in terms of values – having that alignment is crucial. For example, if a fitness brand collaborates with an influencer passionate about health and wellness, the partnership will likely yield authentic content that genuinely speaks to the audience’s interests and needs.

On the flip side, if a beauty content creator ‘pops on’ to chat about tyre safety or bitcoin, some of their audience will likely drop off! 

The Importance of Genuine Users

One of the most telling signs of a potentially right-fit partner is when influencers have already tagged and promoted a brand organically. These creators are already authentic users of your product, showcasing a genuine interest and approval that can’t be bought. This organic advocacy is gold for brands, indicating a natural fit that will probably translate into high engagement and positive brand perception. 

The Importance of Genuine Users - Authentic Influencers

The Pitfalls of Inauthentic Collaborations

In a recent study carried out by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) it was revealed that just one in 10 Irish people trust social media influencers, while over 62% believe that influencers post too much sponsored content. Additionally, over half of Irish consumers (56%) trust brand advertisements more than social posts by influencers.

These stats highlight the need for brands to do their due diligence when selecting potential partners. Inauthentic collaborations are easy to spot and can be detrimental to both the influencer and the brand. Audiences can sense when a partnership is forced or purely transactional, leading to low engagement and a loss of trust. In a market where trust is paramount, brands cannot afford to appear disingenuous.

Some strategies we recommend for authentic influencer marketing

  • Vet Potential Influencers Rigorously – Do your homework on who you’re looking to partner with. Sometimes follower count is just a vanity metric, so it’s important to conduct thorough background checks on engagement rates, types of followers, and comments on posts to gauge authentic engagement with their audience. Prioritise continuity and genuine engagement over flashy metrics alone. 
  • Build Long-Term Partnerships – One-off campaigns when done well are great, but they can risk coming across as transactional. Brands that cultivate multi-campaign partnerships with influencers over time can infuse authenticity into storytelling, fostering deeper connections and sustained trust with their audience.
  • Spotlight Nano and Micro-Influencers – Micro and nano-influencers often have the most targeted, niche, and engaged communities. Their value is not something to be underestimated and their concentrated reach can foster deeper connections, making their endorsements more impactful.
  • Trust the Creator’s Vision – Influencers and content creators really do know their audience best. When you work collaboratively and trust them to create content in their authentic style, more often than not you get a more meaningful and engaging result. It’s a win-win for both the influencer and the brand.  
Some strategies we recommend for authentic influencer marketing

Let us be your matchmaker

At Cullen Communications, we specialise in connecting brands with the right influencers. Our deep understanding of both the influencer landscape and brand objectives means we can create partnerships that are authentic, meaningful, and results-driven. By acting as a matchmaker, we ensure that your brand’s message is delivered through genuine, trusted voices.

If you’re ready to elevate your brand with authentic influencer partnerships, let’s start the conversation. Contact Cullen Communications today for a free influencer consultation.


About the author

Matthew Walsh is Senior Client Executive with Cullen Communications, specialising in media relations, social media communication, and influencer marketing.


Read more latest insights