A Discussion About Authenticity in Influencer Marketing

Image originally published on AdvertisingWeek.com

Image originally published on AdvertisingWeek.com

By Michelle Greenbaum, Copywriter

As a social media storyteller, I shed a virtual emoji tear when I think about the lack of genuine content that lives in my Instagram feed. At this year’s Advertising Week conference in New York City, I had the pleasure of attending a panel with like-minded people, and I was able to learn more about how “approaching influencers as creators can create more authentic, impactful marketing by freeing each person’s storytelling potential in creating new content and amplifying their own channels.” Here are my five greatest takeaways.

“If a brand is telling you how cool they are, they’re not that cool. If your peers are, it sticks.” –Jon Wexler, VP, Global Entertainment and Influencer Marketing, adidas

When you put your business objectives before the people, your followers won’t be fooled. All branded Instagram content should be community-first, with a subtle hint of your marketing message in the background. 

“There’s not a gap for content because I’m living my life.” –Robin Arzon, @RobinNYC


Stay away from pay-to-play influencer marketing. You cannot change people to fit your brand, but if the partners you seek out are already living that lifestyle day-to-day, your followers won’t be able to tell their lives apart from your ads, resulting in a truly authentic connection and brand affinity.

“Tools like Boomerang and Hyperlapse let anybody be a creative.” –Taj Alavi, Global Brand Marketing Lead, Instagram


Let your influencers create! Content doesn’t have to live in a studio setting; it’s okay to film with an iPhone. Think more about where the content will live and less about producing a premium feel. 

“People can help the brand more than the brand can help itself.” –Jon Wexler


Don’t be afraid if your company can’t keep up with a once a day cadence. Find ways to push your brand to the next level by utilizing those who are already familiar with it. Start thinking of UGC as influencer marketing, because it’s more important to find content that resonates with your fan base than to rely heavily on one partner’s follower count.

“My most vulnerable posts do the best.” –Robin Arzon


Use your influencers’ voices to tell your brand’s story, not to sell a product. The most successful people and companies have struggled and persevered — and that is why they are respected. 

Which brands do you admire for authentic social media storytelling? Tweet me @MLGreenbaum and share an example!