Social media is becoming such an integral part of people’s lives that it has become the natural platform for marketing. Influencers, specifically, have become the focus of many marketing campaigns.
People tend to trust recommendations, and who better to trust than the person you admire? There are a bunch of psychological factors that should make influencer marketing a no-brainer.
It’s hard to believe that there could be any downside to influencer marketing if you look at the numbers. For instance; 71% of marketers say that they receive a better quality of visitor/customer from influencer marketing, with another 18% agreeing strongly. Only 5% disagree. So why will we be discussing the cons of this supremely popular and wildly successful marketing strategy? Because, when it fails, it fails big time. At the least, it could hurt your brand and cause distrust. A PR nightmare is no one’s marketing goal!
Before you jump right into your influencer journey, take a look at the vital factors surrounding this strategy.
A CASE FOR INFLUENCER MARKETING
Because the right influencer has put a lot of effort into building their follower base, this results in many benefits for your brand. They have taken the time to build credibility and trust within their circle.
PRO FACTOR: Broadened Audience Reach
By partnering with the right influencer, your brand is now exposed to their followers. They have fine-tuned their content strategy to get where they are. This takes care of a huge chunk of your content spend, for less effort on your part.
Influencers are not restricted in their reach as would be a blog post or an ad. They are in constant promotion mode, which happens across different social media platforms, over media types such as mobile and web. They attract followers in a way a brand will not easily do on their own.
Target different personas in your marketing strategies by partnering with more than one micro-influencer, rather than one big celebrity. This way you can resonate with a broad audience within your niche.
PRO FACTOR: Relevant Audience Reach
When you choose the correct influencer, you reach a hotspot of relevant followers that now become aware of your brand. For instance, when trying to reach Millennial or Gen Z consumers, what better way than to relate to them through those they look up to?
PRO FACTOR: Endorsement
The influencer message needs to resonate with your target audience. When there is synergy between influencer and brand focus, the message becomes authentic to their audience.
Because of seeing your brand being used by their role model, they will remember your brand when making purchasing decisions. Trust is engendered and sales decisions happen faster than when someone finds your brand on their own.
WHEN INFLUENCER MARKETING FAILS
A failed influencer campaign can hurt your brand in more than one way. (Unless you are Pepsi… no, wait. Even then!) Identifying some crucial elements can help you decide whether influencer marketing is a strategy you should get involved in.
CON FACTOR: Choosing The Wrong Influencer
Choosing the wrong influencer is the death of your campaign. There are a number of things to look out for.
To identify the right person, you have to scrutinize their message, goals, and level of engagement. Do not get stuck at the number of followers they have, since this can be inflated. It also tells you nothing about their influence over people in itself.
Don’t focus on the likes, shares and views. Evaluate the quality of their actual comments. How genuinely influential are they? Do people ask for advice, share some personal moments?
When there is this kind of magic between the influencer and their followers, you may just have a great partnership.
You need to be able to trust them with a huge amount of creative freedom. We have all heard of the copy-paste fails of some huge influencers out there. So look out for someone that would be able to seamlessly integrate your brand into their message.
CON FACTOR: Being Overly Promotional
Before even approaching an influencer, get this one straight: Make sure not to expect an overly promotional approach from them. Similarly, make sure that this is not their approach either. At some point, having your brand pushed down an audience’s throats will cause a negative view thereof. Consumers are repelled by overly promotional content. It undermines the sense of authenticity and credibility - the essence of the success of influencer campaigns.
CON FACTOR: Being Insensitive To Social / Cultural Issues
The Pepsi / Jenner campaign is an excellent example of trampling over sensitive issues and paying with your reputation. Pepsi could afford the expensive PR campaign and some of the heat. A smaller brand may not be in that position. And, as well-illustrated, such humiliation does not disappear. Ever.
SO, SHOULD YOU USE INFLUENCER MARKETING IN 2020?
Influencer marketing is a strategic move, just like any other marketing campaign. Treat it with the same respect and diligence, and the results will far exceed the effort.
Remember that you will be entering into a partnership. When respected as such from both sides it can reach impressive results.