Authenticity here, authenticity there and everywhere. About one of the most popular words in the influencer industry and the illusion behind it.
The golden rule in blogger business: be authentic! Officially, nothing is more important than maintaining your authenticity. Reach, content, contacts – anything that would actually indicate success – comes second. Therefore, influencers constantly trying to preach their own authenticity to agencies, brands and their community. To convince people of that, the promises go from “…and I’m not saying this only because I get paid” to “#sponsored, but it’s actually good!”. Wait a second – “but”? Doesn’t this actually disagree with the thing you’re trying to do right now?
It tends to be the same when it comes to conversations between bloggers and agencies in which monologues about the importance of the own authenticity seem to become a duty. In fact, anything relevant gets replaced by convulsive self-staging and dogged assertion of the own realness. Since authenticity became the number one of small talk topics among bloggers, apparently nobody has a problem with talking about it again and again.
Why are we trying so hard?
In a sense it’s ironic that authenticity is the attribute bloggers try to represent and demonstrate the hardest. However, they lose their authenticity in the exact moment they make an effort proving it to their followers. In my opinion, there is a wrong understanding of authenticity among influencers in general. Underlining how much you’re committed to an embarrassing or displaced collaboration doesn’t make you authentic. Not accepting the collaboration does.
Let’s agree on one thing: nobody is 100% authentic. No blogger, no influencer, no person at all. We all get, consciously or unconsciously, influenced sometimes and say or do things as a result. It’s the same with collaborations. In some cases, I promote brands which I usually wouldn’t have bought or even have considered buying. Not because I don’t like their clothes, of course I still keep an eye on that while choosing the brands I collaborate with, but rather because I may didn’t know them before or didn’t buy their clothes because of the prize. And let’s be honest, of course money plays a big role here too! Choosing well paid jobs over others is just natural. Needless to say, I wouldn’t promote a product like toilet paper, not even for thousands of euros but to a certain extend, we all sell a piece of our authenticity from time to time. Get over it! The common assumption that the influencer industry is the only one relying on authenticity is just wrong. Journalists, politicians, bankers: they all have to build up on an authentic appearance.
Is it possible to be an authentic influencer after all?
Yes. As long as you stand behind what you do, you’re authentic. And this, once again, doesn’t mean saying how much you’re committed to a product or a brand. It means to admit mistakes, doubts and being honest with your community, and first of all, with yourself. However, this only works when you are in fact committed to the brands you promote. I don’t think of this condition as something we have to discuss here though.
In the end it’s simple: as soon as you get the feeling, you have to prove your authenticity to someone, there’s a lack. So please, stop trying so hard! Stop telling everyone how important it is to be yourself. Just be your fucking self.