While social media has made being a brand and building a brand easier, it has also made authenticity hard to come by. Customers are demanding companies to be more involved and responsible both within their businesses and outside of them. So with everyone turning to influencer marketing—using social media influencers to grow and engage with their audience—it is more important than ever to make sure your brand is and maintains it authenticity.

Authenticity starts with a mission and a purpose. According to studies, over two-thirds of all customers buy based on their beliefs. It’s important to make sure your brand is very clear on who they are, what they stand for, and why they’re here and it’s more important that it’s woven throughout all points of contact (i.e. website, ads, social media, printed materials). It’s more important that you are consistent. Customers and audiences are more skeptical than ever and they have access to more information than ever so it’s important to be clear and consistent because people will question and challenge you if you are not.

When using a social media influencer it is important to do your research. Choose carefully. Your ideal partner should not just have a great following but should have experience and authority in the area they are serving. You should be collaborating—working together— so both of you should benefit from the working arrangement. The two of you, together, should create content that is shared on both platforms, highlighting the strengths of both people/brands and the influencer and the work should tie to your bigger picture. When teaming up with an influencer for marketing, it should be authentic for you both.

Working with an influencer that shares your values and your vision for the bigger picture is much more important than choosing someone solely because they have a great following. Building an authentic relationship improves your chances of having a long-lasting customer and audience base with whom you’ll continue to grow and service for years to come. Being consistently authentic, over time, makes you the influencer and the expert.