How Community Commerce Marketing Guarantees Authenticity
Community Commerce Marketing4 MIN READ
Authentic. It’s a word that is oft-used, but not frequently considered deeply. We assume it means real. Put in the context of a creator’s content or a product recommendation, authentic means truthful or honest.
The definition of authentic, though, holds a meaning worth deeper consideration, I think. The Oxford dictionary defines authentic as, “of undisputed origin; genuine.”
Yes, we’re talking about synonyms, but that phrase, “of undisputed origin,” has a deeper inference than just honest or real.
When someone passes on an authentic product review or recommendation, like the kind of content we hope influencers and content creators produce for our brands, this implies that person consumed the product themselves. The origin of their knowledge and experience with that item is undisputed.
But then there are qualifiers that muddy the water a bit.
The person consumed the product, but did they pay for it? Was it given to them? Were they paid to consume the product?
None of the answers disqualify the person from having the opinion. But they certainly can taint the believability … the authenticity … of the recommendation. If the person receiving the recommendation is not fully aware of how the person came to acquire the product or perhaps even wish to recommend it, we’re left to assume that review is, in fact, authentic.
FTC Disclosure Eliminates Ambiguity
As the practice of brands engaging influencers or content creators to promote products grew, so did the confusion among consumers about whether or not these endorsements were real. Bloggers, YouTubers and Instagrammers who typically posted fashion tips or silly videos were suddenly stopping to throw in a product mention. That seemed odd.
Those that were aware of how murky the water can be if your audience isn’t clear on what motivates you to recommend a product would disclose their relationship with the brand. Many, however, did not.
Then the Federal Trade Commission came waddling along, a decade or so after the problem surfaced, which is about all that can be expected in a massive bureaucracy. They started issuing disclosure guidelines for influencer marketing content. They even made an example out of a few creators and brands, fining them thousands of dollars per incident.
But that’s what government regulations are for: to protect consumers from unscrupulous practices. Now consumers could feel more confident that a content creator’s recommendation of a product was more authentic. Even if they disclosed the product was free or even they were payed to try it, the honesty typically overcame consumer objections.
Now it’s standard operating procedure to see content creators with disclosures in their sponsored posts and mentions of the business relationship around any reference or placement in one’s content. Consumers are used to it. But that creates a new level of need for brands.
The Need for Higher Measures of Authenticity
Today’s social savvy consumers sees dozens, if not hundreds, of influencer and creator content in a given day. A good portion of that content is likely to be sponsored. They see the disclosures and then base their trust in the creator on other context clues like size of audience, longevity of creating content, personal experiencing listening to said person, and beyond.
In that sea of noise, what posts stand-out? All things being equal, higher measures of authenticity do.
What does that mean, exactly? It means consumers find product recommendations and referrals more authentic when they are:
Not accompanied by disclosures, inferring there’s no compensation being paid in exchange for the content.
Disclosed content that is validated by the creator having purchased the product or recognizing they have been a customer outside the life of any contractual agreement
Clearly full of knowledge and experience with the product, regardless of disclosure status
When you look at that list of what may be perceived as content with a higher level of authenticity, it’s hard not to see Community Commerce Marketing as a driver to those ends.
Why Community Commerce Marketing Is More Authentic
The fundamental premise of Community Commerce Marketing (CCM) is finding growth through your brand’s own community. That consists of a brand’s customers, employees, partners, social media followers, people who talk about the brand online, who share similar content interests, and even the audience of competitors who are predisposed to buy products like yours.
These consumer segments offer higher degrees of authenticity that vary by segment, but think about it: If the creator you are watching is a customer of the brand, has been for a while, and buys that product or service regularly, doesn’t that degree of authenticity trump all others, even with a sponsorship disclosure?
This is why Community Commerce Marketing helps brands drive more authentic ratings, reviews, referrals and recommendations. CCM starts with mapping your community to know who they are … not just demographics and purchase behaviors … but where they live on social channels. What type of content they create there. How many and what type of friends and followers they have. Do they have influence over those friends and followers?
Then, CCM techniques and applications help your brand do several things that perform better with higher degrees of authenticity. A customer or brand fan recommending your product or service is more authentic than a social media influencer you contracted who may or may not have even known you before.
User-generated content is big for agencies and brands today as well. But CCM provides you with Community Generated Content. Your customers, fans and followers create more authentic content than others because they know you. They know you product. They can speak more intelligently about it.
In the B2B space, referrals are typically far more important than online reviews or even public recommendations. A friend introducing a friend to your product or service is the pure definition of authenticity. When you map your community in the B2B context, you can find pathways to your next prospect through people you already know, who can then make that introduction. We call this Community Referral Automation.
Dial Up Your Authenticity
Community Commerce Marketing is not just a different way of describing loyalty programs, shoppable posts, ambassador strategies and the like. It is a fundamentally different way of marketing because it looks a different way. Instead of looking outside your brand for advocates and recommendations, you find them from the community you already have.
Are you ready to dial up your brand’s authenticity? We would love to help. Reach out to us and let’s talk. CIPIO.ai is the leading Community Commerce Marketing (CCM) platform with a suite of applications at the ready to do just that.
We would be delighted to show you one piece of the CCM approach this Friday. We’re offering a free webinar called Unlocking the Power of Community Influence Marketing to Grow Your Brand. It is available for you each Friday through March. Head to the link in this post at CIPIO.ai, or look for the link on our Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn channels to register.
If you want to cut to the chase and see a demo of our Community Influence Marketing platform, head to our website at CIPIO.ai and schedule one. I might just walk you through the platform myself.