Game of trust: Why authenticity and transparency are crucial in influencer beauty marketing

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Beauty brands and marketers need to “smarten up” their social media strategy.
Beauty brands and marketers need to “smarten up” their social media strategy.
Beauty brands and marketers need to “smarten up” their social media strategy as beauty consumers increasingly demand authentic and transparent content from influencer marketing.

According to the latest research by media intelligence company, Meltwater, 83% of millennial consumers believe influencers are “key to making beauty trends, looks and products ‘cool’”.

And the research also shows that nearly two-thirds of teenagers now use social media and influencers to discover and select beauty products.

On the other hand, Mimrah Mahmood, Regional Director of Media Solutions at Meltwater APAC, told CosmeticsDesign-Asia, ​that beauty consumers were becoming increasingly wary of influencers and the brand endorsements.

“The biggest challenge in engaging influencers is that consumers are hyper-aware of product placement and are good at spotting commercial messages,” ​said Mahmood.

As such, brands need to work to ensure there is a level of transparency with their audience when engaging influencers, he added.

“The key is to understand what their audience truly wants and to focus on delivering personalised experiences with relevant messages through the right channels to show consumers how the brand’s ethos aligns with their own beliefs and choices,” ​said Mahmood.

Choosing the right collaborator

Mahmood stressed that identifying the right influencer to collaborate with requires time and resources.

“Marketers need to look beyond vanity metrics like follower count and take a more data-led approach to the entire influencer selection process,”​ said Mahmood.

This includes taking a deeper look into insights such as engagement rate, follower demographics and true reach – the average number of users who actively engage with an influencer’s content.

By evaluating these together, brands can better determine whether a certain influencer is a good fit for the brand’s audience and if they can deliver ROI, said Mahmood.

He said: “[Influencers] who hold true influence, drive genuine engagement and can speak the language of their target segment. These are the people that consumers turn to for inspiration and advice.”

Mahmood added that taking the easy way out by blindly engaging an influencer could lead consumers to question a brand’s authenticity.

“Consumers tend to dissociate themselves from brands that align with influencers who are insincere and use products for clout, and it could end up becoming culturally irrelevant in the long run,” ​he said.

Content still is King

Finding the right collaborator is only half the battle won. The next step is ensuring that relatable content is being pushed to the consumer.

Good content should be engaging and aligned with the influencer’s aesthetic and tone, advised Mahmood.

“When consumers to go to an influencer's feed and see a post that obviously stands out as an ad, with copywriting that looks like it was lifted from a brochure, it can not only be jarring but a turn-off – to both the brand and the influencer,” ​he said.

The big secret to forming positive connections with consumers is to be authentic, transparent, relatable and culturally relevant.

“Consumers today have limited attention spans and don’t want to be ‘sold to’ by brands. As such, brands wanting to make a splash in the market need not only to show consumers how they are aligned in terms of identity and beliefs but also show committed in their communication effort,” ​Mahmood said.

This means brands need to go beyond one-off engagements and build a sustainable strategy that harmonises with its offline marketing efforts.

Mahmood said: “In order to stay relevant with the audience, beauty brands need to be more strategic and agile in their social media marketing efforts. At the crux of this is taking the time to understand what their audience truly wants. This requires going beyond a surface scan of trending topics, popular vernacular or the volume of conversation, and digging deeper into the motivations, sentiments and nuances of these conversations.

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