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The Utah DMC Blog

How To Do Influencer Marketing To Grow Your Brand with Adam Buchanan [DMC Recap]

Adam Buchanan Utah DMC

With over a decade of social media marketing, public speaking, influencer marketing, and digital marketing management experience under his belt, Adam Buchanan is an expert at creating successful influencer marketing programs. Companies like Columbia Sportswear, Cabela’s, and Experticity have enlisted Buchanan’s help to grow their social marketing strategies. He has also worked with brands like Hydro Flask, OptConnect, PROBAR, and Enso Rings.

In a marketing world focused on the benefits of powerful influencer partnerships, Adam Buchanan’s DMC presentation took the audience on an in-depth journey regarding the best ways to navigate an effective influencer marketing strategy and how to build trust with consumers.

“Trust must exist before a transaction takes place.” Buchanan began his presentation by highlighting the importance of instilling trust in your brand’s identity. Flashy content and successful social campaigns are one thing, but successful brands know how to build trust with their customers.

Proximity, honesty, and expertise are the three components that make up what Buchanan labeled Marketing Trust Framework.

With so many ways to make and distribute content these days, people easily tune out ads or other branded media. It’s more challenging than ever to be heard on an Internet full of content. Which is where the Marketing Trust Framework plays an important role in business success.


Buchanan says that proximity builds relationships. Equating influencer marketing to that of the work of a honey bee hive, with trust being the honey he solidifies his point by referring to the fact that bees use a hexagon shape for honeycomb. Proximity is important. It strengthens relationships.

With the deceleration of #ad in an influencer’s social media post, instantly their message is diluted, which hurts the intent of influencer marketing. The moment people realize a heartfelt caption regarding a product or service is just an ad via a paid partnership, instantly the consumer can see the falsehood in the praise.

This is why Buchanan says the power of personal friend reviews is unmatched because people love hearing the opinions and personal experiences or reviews from people they know. This happens because, to Buchanan’s point, trust MUST exist before a transaction takes place. As consumers, we tend to trust those that are close to us which is what makes proximity so crucial.

So how can you as a marketer use this to your advantage? Make sure you’re developing relationships with people who have the close proximity that allows them to make connections like this.

Buchanan’s proximity checklist:

  • Have a close connection with the audience
  • Develop meaningful relationships
  • Be available to share information

These are the types of influencers business should want to work with, according to Buchanan, because consumers care less and less about how many followers an influencer has. Stop shelling out big bucks for an influencer that isn’t cut out to reach your intended audience in a genuine and honest manner.


No amount of influencer marketing can put a band-aid on any mistakes or faults in your product. Therefore, your product must be good and transparent.

Buchanan again equates honesty to his bee metaphor. He says raw honey is honest because it shows the pollen and the imperfections. According to his research, 49% of consumers rely on recommendations from online influencers when making purchase decisions.

With the amount of influence an honest online review has on consumer purchasing habits, people are losing trust in celebrities due to the disingenuous nature of their content.

According to Buchanan, people are most focused on the short-term type campaign investments/relationships. But once it's over, they don't talk about the brand anymore. Companies need to find the real advocates that share honest opinions.


  • Share real experiences with your product
  • Have actually used the product
  • Disclose relationship with the brand


Buchanan gives the recipe for Expertise DNA as Experience + Passion.

Brands should target those people that are actually EXPERTS in their field. As a marketer, you need to find these people and develop a relationship with them.

When finding the right influencers, ask yourself: who could be an advocate for your brand? Find people who are consistent and who know one area or subject really well. The amount of their followers doesn’t matter; expertise matters.


  • Have a deep passion for the category
  • Can demonstrate their expertise
  • Content is focused on a specific topic

Buchanan ended his presentation on the idea of creating an Ambassador Program for your brand. He said it doesn’t need to be large. Start small and scale from there. He suggested giving free product to real expert influencers with the freedom to say exactly how they feel about it. They can say they love it, hate it, or nothing at all. With no strings attached, no quota to fill, true and genuine trust is built.

When you build relationships with influencers, think long-term. Think Christmas card list -- not summer camp buddies and not for the duration of a campaign.

Feel free to text Marketingtrust to 66866 to get Adam Buchanan’s marketing trust influencer checklist. He also can be reached on social media at: @adam_buchanan

Topics: DMC2018