The Dream Trio

No, I’m not talking about our three founders… or the Cornetto trilogy. I mean trust, expertise and tie-strength. The three factors that determine influencer influence; they affect the influencer’s ability to change consumer decisions and get conversions. But what exactly do I mean, and how does it work?

Let’s start with trust…the foundation of recommendation and advocacy marketing. A common challenge to influencer marketing is the lack of authenticity by those claiming ‘oh but influencers are paid… they don’t really use that product!’. How can brands, and agencies, ensure the influencer is trusted?

For me, the answer lies in engagement and honesty. Influencers who are highly engaged with their audience, build trust and authenticity through visibility. Being seen as a real person, rather than an aspirational dream hidden behind the lens of a camera is vital to trust. This ties into honesty, as being authentic with the audience about who the influencer really is, demonstrates that the products or services promoted fit with their persona.

Expertise is a difficult one to measure, and incredibly subjective. However, it rests on the consumer’s perception of whether the influencer knows what they are talking about. Is this a beauty blogger promoting athleisure wear? Have they previously shown they are interested in this? Why should their opinion count for this vertical? In truth, higher perceived expertise will drive higher engagement as the consumer can trust the opinion of the influencer.

Finally, tie-strength. This isn’t something regularly talked about in influencer marketing and yet it holds equal weight to trust and expertise. Tie-strength is the bond between the influencer and their audience. It is sometimes stronger with smaller influencers, due to their ability to engage with a higher percentage of their followers. Having similar interests (for example working within a niche vertical, such as rock-climbing or nail-art), engaging with followers and being authentic all contribute to tie-strength.

The common theme these three factors share is their effect on authenticity. It is the authentic influencers that drive conversions, and this is the three-ingredient recipe for authenticity.