We’ve all seen those ads that rely on celebrities to sell a product. Shaquille O’Neal squeezes into a sedan, touting its spaciousness. Countless actresses praise this makeup and that, all in commercials that look the same. And for a moment, we want to believe it’s true. Maybe Jennifer Aniston really does wash her face with that scrub I can get at your local supermarket! If Neil Patrick Harris enjoys that European beer, perhaps I can too! Of course, as soon as that commercial ends, so does the magic, and we go about our daily lives. Seeing the rich and famous using the same products we do once gave us a sort of satisfaction.

More commonly now, however, is the feeling of fakeness and, in some cases, desperation that emanates from celebrity endorsements. That feeling trickles down into smaller digital marketing campaigns as well.

Relying on quasi-celebrities of YouTube and other outlets to promote your product or service can turn off potential customers, especially if that endorsement feels forced. Authenticity is crucial for digital marketing, even if it means avoiding big-name influencers altogether.

The “Common” Connection

Let’s talk about Millennials for a moment. While there is a large segment of that demographic that still adores celebrities and follows their every move on Instagram and other platforms, an even larger segment cares much more about their own lives over Hollywood stars.That’s not to say they are any more selfish than generations before them.

Rather, they are much more likely to trust what a fellow common person says about a product or company over what a celebrity says. They want to know how it will better their lives, a message celebrities making millions of dollars a year just can’t convey. This mindset isn’t just found with Millennials, however.

More and more consumers are realizing that celebrity endorsements shine less like a diamond and more like plastic. They want someone real talking to them, and they want to buy from members of their community, not a nameless corporation.

That’s why events like Small Business Saturday have become so successful. As a small business owner, it is vital for you to provide a level of authenticity in your marketing that massive companies just can’t.

Be Real, Be You

In order for your business to be authentic to itself, you first must know what your company culture is. What is it that makes you, you? If you run a shop with weird, quirky items, own it! If you run an auto shop that hires ex-felons so they can have a new chance at life, make that culture known! Whatever it is that makes your business unique among the millions of small businesses in the American economy, include it in your marketing tactics.

Let consumers get to know the real you. That’s not to say influencers should be ignored altogether. They provide a valuable service for getting your name out there and in front of more potential customers. But micro-influencers are on the rise in digital marketing. These are, according to numbers, small-time influencers in their industries. Though their following may be small, however, these influencers have strong relationships through interaction with their followers, making them very valuable to marketers.

Because they have that relationship, micro-influencers are highly trusted by their cluster of fans. As fake news and other phenomena has infiltrated and changed the American culture, true authenticity has never been more important.