Over the past several years, digital marketers have been hyper-fixed on social media influencer marketing. Industry leaders wrote blog after blog, singing the praises of partnering with a celebrity from the marketer’s industry or a profile that has a high amount of followers with interests in-line with the product or service they are trying to promote, to showcase the business’ products and solutions. There was and is still a lot of truth to this approach: consumers like to know that a product or service can be trusted and having a well-known figure endorsing that product will always create a little more sway for the consumer to trust the value of the product.

Herein lies the issue – Americans are seeing more ads in their social media feeds and depending on their engagement with the ads they are served, they may see more than the average Facebook or Instagram user. Yes, yes – we know that your product is amazing and Kim Kardashian loves it – but does anyone in “real-life” actually use it? Consumers are beginning to experience what digital marketers are calling “influencer fatigue.”

What is influencer fatigue?

Influencer fatigue has crept up on American consumers due to the inundation of products that are being promoted on social feeds. The demand for more authentic content, including real users is becoming more and more important. Let’s face it – we may remember a product because Matthew McConaughey is driving it (think Lincoln commercials) but we trust a product because of the reviews we read online or the testimonial videos that we see from the local Lincoln dealership.

According to digital marketing consultant, Shane Barker, “3% of consumers are influenced by celebrity endorsements in their product purchase decisions.” Just 3%. Now let’s take this data and practice and apply it to the automotive industry.

Consumer reviews are not limited to Google.

As a dealer, you know that it is important for the BDC department to be on-top of your dealership’s Google reviews and you may have a push to improve your Facebook reviews as well, but have you considered making the authentic experiences of your customers part of your digital marketing strategy? As we’ve discussed, consumers are tired of personalities telling them what to buy, but what piques their interest is when they see a local person talk about the awesome experience they had at your dealership, or see their neighbor’s photo with their new Lincoln MKX on your dealership’s Instagram Feed. Think about taking this authentic experience even further and ask your new customer if they would be willing to shoot a quick video for your Instagram and Facebook stories. There isn’t any need for an elaborate production to grab an excellent customer testimonial video. Pick up your smartphone and position your customers in front of their new car. Ask them about their experience at the dealership and then post it to your social platforms. This is social media gold!

Authentic content saves the day – every time.

Consumers have a stronger connection to real customers talking about a product they just purchased because they know that the customer isn’t being paid to talk about their recent purchase – they were just so pleased with the overall experience that they want to share it with others. Let’s look at a few examples of dealers who are using authentic content in their digital marketing strategy.

Content that stands out in the crowd.

Dealer Authority has a client that takes video marketing to the next level. Every 60 days this dealer randomly selects a customer that has made a purchase at their dealership and shows up at their door, Ed McMahon style, with a giant check in-hand that would entirely pay off their purchase. This dealer has video rolling to capture the lucky winner’s first reaction. The winner’s genuine excitement over winning is apparent. The auto group then takes that video footage, and with the permission of the winner, turns it into a video ad on social media for their dealership. Who needs Kim Kardashian when you can have an actual customer sharing their excitement about their new car with your potential shoppers?

The holidays are an excellent time to gather new content for your digital marketing purposes!

Minnesota Truck Headquarters in St. Cloud, Minnesota created an entirely free event to kick off the Holiday season. This dealership brought Santa and Mrs. Claus, crafts, and free cookies and hot chocolate to enjoy while waiting to visit with Santa. This event gave the dealership an opportunity to spend some quality time with their local customers and spread a little holiday cheer. The event was posted on Facebook and since the parents that visited with their children were using their own phones for photos, there were plenty of opportunities for tagging and sharing images with the dealership.

The proof is in the data.

If only 3% of sales are influencing consumers to make a purchase with big names like Matthew McConaughey and Kim Kardashian, it’s time to rely on what you know – your actual customers. Giving your customers a wow experience is contagious, so why would you keep that to yourself? You wouldn’t. Creating a digital marketing experience that highlights what is so unique about your dealership will always reap heavy rewards.