Busting Misconceptions About Influencer Marketing
With 39% of marketers planning to increase their budget for influencer marketing in the coming year, it seems like the right moment to dispel a few misconceptions that may be held by that last 61%.
For millennial consumers in particular, word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective. And what is influencer marketing but word-of-mouth publicity on a massive scale? According to a poll of marketing professionals conducted by influencer outreach platform Tomosen, businesses are making $6.50 back for every $1.00 spent on influencer marketing, and the top 13% of of businesses make $20 or more off that dollar.
So, if your brand is standing on the diving board above the world of influencer marketing, allow us to banish a few common myths that might be keeping you from jumping in.
Myth #1: You Need Celebrity Influencers
Patently untrue! Many, many influencers are not celebrities (or weren’t before, anyway).
As CROWD. has covered before, consumers are actually showing increasing levels of distrust in celebrity endorsements, favoring bloggers and social media stars. These influencers appear more relatable, less likely to be swayed by money, and more worthy of imitating. Marketing companies are now expressing intentions to use top-tier, mid-tier, and micro influencers to reach into smaller but more dedicated consumer bases. Social ad platform Gnack defines micro-influencers as everyday social media users with fewer than 10,000 followers; their CEO, Chris Gonzales, stated that micro-influencers “get an average of two-to-five times more organic engagement per Instagram post, compared to those with more than 100,000 followers. Their content will be organically performing better on the platform due to the inherent superior engagement.”
Those influencers who post less branded content also tend to show better engagement, almost certainly due to a heightened appearance of authenticity. If you want to use influencer marketing to its fullest potential, it is crucial to find a core group of influencers and form relationships with them to promote your products over a long period of time.
Myth #2: Your Influencers Need To Have A Media Background
This is surprisingly unimportant.
Many top influencers have no media background-- sports stars, food bloggers, artists, etc. are not typically expected to. A media background might be somewhat helpful in expanding reach, but it is more effective to find someone who has a lot of expertise or focus in one area, and creates a lot of content related to that area.
In addition to industry experts, many influencers are critics who review products in an unbiased way. Again, millennial consumers in particular value authenticity-- so a popular public figure who discusses your product without any type of media coaching is likely to get a more favorable response.
Myth #3: You Will Only Attract Short-term Customers
The very reason influencer marketing is successful makes this misconception unmistakably false.
Consumers who make purchases from influencer recommendations do so because they relate to that individual; they want to imitate their style and capture some of that person’s aesthetic. If you maintain a relationship to your influencer (which you absolutely should), you maintain a relationship with their followers, who will return again and again to your products as long as your influencer does.
Using influencer marketing also allows you to get to know your customers; it’s a lot easier to find out what millennials are looking for when it’s written right there in the comments. With this insight, you can optimize your strategy for both branding and production. You also minimize the risks associated with a PR blunder, since you are no longer technically responsible for content.
Your influencers are content creators, and what they produce has a long shelf life-- even older posts that include your product will be visible thanks to the magic of endless scrolling. Well-managed blogs that produce a lot of videos, audio, and images in particular will both continue to attract new followers and maintain existing ones, drawing more attention to your product placement.
Myth #4: Your Results Cannot Be Measured
Where did you get that idea?
Tracking influencer marketing is the same as tracking any other form of digital campaign. There are apps to help you gauge the organic reach of your marketing, pinpoint your highest-performing posts, and document your progress toward your marketing goals.
An app like BuzzSumo will allow you to track your influencers across platforms. Clicks, views, shares, followers, and other forms of verifiable digital engagement are readily available for your perusal. Google Sheets and Google Analytics also offer ways to take a look at your audience growth. Plus, if you offer a promo code with your influencer content, you can both drive sales and easily document where your customers are coming from.
Myth #5: You Need to Worry About Ad Blockers
With 615 million devices now using some kind of adblocking software, digital ad blocking can be a real concern for any brand hoping to market online.
Millennials in particular respond negatively to aggressive digital marketing, especially popups or anything that interrupts what they were doing. Influencer marketing, however, bypasses this problem completely. Perhaps the best thing about influencer marketing is that members of your target demographic will be looking at posts containing your products entirely of their own volition. When they open instagram to check in on what their favorite ‘grammer is up to, they’re checking out your advertisement voluntarily, which means nothing to block.
Additionally, promotional posts are often presented by influencers giving their honest and relatively unbiased reviews of a product. They alert their followers to the product’s existence without attempting to make any kind of business transaction. While this kind of unmonitored reviewing may make some brands nervous, representations of your product are extremely likely to be favorable, since most influencers won’t promote anything they don’t actually like. Since influencer marketing is a form of word-of-mouth publicity, it flies well under the radar of adblocker software.
This kind of marketing can look like a risky move from the standpoint of a traditional marketer. It’s important to realize that as we enter 2018, we’re no longer operating within a traditional market. Millennial consumers have different demands for companies, including transparency, social awareness, and authenticity-- so if you’re going to use influencer marketing, you’ll need to make sure your product is worth promoting.
This kind of advertising can bring you long-term gains if used correctly. With some of the most common misconceptions shaken off, it’s time to make the leap into influencer marketing.
Learn more about influencer marketing and other relevant subjects on CROWD. or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.