Audiences trust influencers who are authentic in their content, meaning the influencers’ opinions are honest and reflect their real beliefs and values. Maintaining credibility as an influencer is paramount for cultivating and preserving a strong, engaged following.

Authenticity is especially pertinent when influencers create sponsored content. If sponsored content feels genuine, the audience trusts it was made for their benefit, rather than just a paycheck. A trusting audience is more inclined to engage with or inspired to take action because of your sponsored content. As a result, they are also more likely to share content with their own circles when it comes from a reliable source.

If you’re seeking to increase engagement with your sponsored content, check out our five tips for upholding authenticity in sponsored posts and on social media:

Be Selective

Only join sponsored programs that excite you. When you truly love a brand, your passion comes across in the story and the sponsored content feels genuine to your audience. They know you’re writing the post to share something beneficial with them and because you had a genuinely positive experience with the brand or product. Promoting only brands you believe in or would purchase even without the sponsored compensation preserves your reputation among your audience as an authentic influencer.

Tell a Personal Story

Authentic sponsored posts employ storytelling. Tell a story about a real situation from your life and explain how the sponsor’s product or service can remedy this situation, organically weaving the brand into your story. Personal stories show authenticity because they reveal your life events, thoughts, and opinions, making the content intimate and emotionally charged to your audience. Stories also show your passion for a brand by demonstrating how their product or service is a part of your life.

Add Value

Provide your audience with value beyond information about the brand. Give them something entertaining or useful to consume that validates the brand’s product or service features, like DIY projects, recipes, tutorials, advice, or tips. These value adds transform a sponsored post from a traditional advertisement into an interactive experience that shows your audience a potential need rather than simply “selling by telling.” Plus, fortifying sponsored posts with beneficial content indicates that you respect your audience’s time and authentically care about their experience with your sponsored content.

Organically Mention the Brand

Mention the brand throughout your sponsored story where it feels natural and relevant. Avoid stating the brand’s name in the introduction of your post, as promoting it early can feel too much like a traditional ad and turn off your audience.

Instead, link your link to relevant product or service keywords until you introduce the brand’s name later in the story. For example, linking the words “delicious cookies” or “best recipe ever” shows your audience how a baking product can be useful in their lives without stating the brand’s actual name. This way, the audience is exposed to the brand gradually, rather than having the sponsor thrown in their face.

Avoid “Spamming”

Use social media best practices to promote your sponsored posts efficiently. Some best practices include using multiple original images in social posts and analyzing engagement data from your social channels to understand when your audience is most inclined to interact with your content. Releasing social posts during peak engagement times means the posts are likely reaching your audience the first time they’re sent, so you don’t need to inundate follower newsfeeds with sponsored promotion.

Maintaining authenticity within sponsored posts is crucial to fostering content engagement and protecting trust between you and your audience. Keep these five tips top of mind as you create sponsored posts to ensure that you come across as genuine and valuable to your followers.

You can find more ways to uphold your influencer credibility in our blog posts on social media promotion and the importance of disclosure in sponsored content. Also, feel free to share your advice for being an authentic influencer on our Facebook or Twitter!