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How much of an influence does a fitness influencer have? It's all about coming off as authentic. Image Credit: Supplied

Do fitness influencers really influence us? It’s a more complicated answer than just a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Yes, influencers really influence if it’s done in an authentic way - and no they don’t if it sounds like they are trying to push whatever they are “paid” to push.

We invest a lot in authentic influencer marketing, but we call it an ‘Athlete Support Program’. We identify athletes who are local, respected, approachable and actually hang out in local gyms and have an authentic connection with people. One of the most important factors is to make sure we are able to build a long term partnership with that athlete.

It’s important, as it not only builds an authentic relationship between us and an athlete, but also helps that athlete build an authentic story about why he chose ‘SquatWolf’ over every other gym gear brand out there.

Gone are the days when an influencer with huge social media following will post about a random brand and the brand will receive thousands of orders. I would offer following few tips:

• Don’t go after big international social media influencers to promote your brand in the beginning. Look for hyper-local influencers who people can relate with.

• Don’t put the number of followers first. Put your brand values first. Look for influencers who strongly align with your value system. This will help your brand align with the values of their followers. A complete win-win.

• Don’t just work on ‘one campaign, one post or one story’ relationships. Look for influencers who are open to use, wear, consume your brand in their daily lives. This helps build the trust of their followers in the influencer and ultimately your brand.

• Invite that influencer to show behind the scenes, the inner workings of the brand, and other influencers who support the brand so that it forms more than just a digital relationship.

• Reward the followers of that influencer with something exclusive to actually influence actions that helps brand achieve its objectives.

• The right influencer might bring in customers the first time, but if you don’t delight those customers with the very first experience, your influencer - and you - will lose.

• Influencer marketing is expensive, it might not work in the first try, and you might not get enough customers in the first try. It’s very important to focus on those first customers and get them to come back again. The second and the third purchase is when you start generating return on investment.

In summary, think what would influence you, think about how would you want the influencer you follow to talk about the brand you like, and how can you build a long-term partnership with the influencer. If influencer marketing is done the right way, then yes, it can be a gamechanger.

Before we speak to Gen Z, it’s really important to understand their characteristics. They are hyper social, digital first, love independence, love giving back to the society, respect diversity, very concerned about the environment, and have very little attention span.

Be transparent

It’s really important that the brands are open, honest and transparent with Gen Z. They don’t believe in jargons or in fancy way of saying simple things.

Apply 3-10 sec rule

Your creatives have to be made with a mindset that you have three seconds to grab their attention. If your creative can’t,then you are boring and you have lost the opportunity. Don’t make creatives that take longer than 10 seconds to understand or digest.

If you are not sustainable and environment-friendly, then you won’t be relevant in 5 years. Gen Z care deeply about the world they have been left to live in. They want to protect their future and they want to do it by supporting brands that care deeply about the environment and the community we live in.

Define your brand values, talk about them often and stand for something. Gen Z love brands that take a stand, have opinions, and are not diplomatic. Use your profits to work towards the social good.