This article explains the ins and outs of influencer marketing, lists key advantages and disadvantages of engaging in the practice, and provides helpful tips for finding and collaborating with an influencer to grow your brand.
Table of Contents
- Section One: What Is Influencer Marketing
- Section Two: Pros of Influencer Marketing
- Section Three: Cons of Influencer Marketing
- Section Four: Tips to Finding Influencers
- Final Thoughts
What Is Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing in which businesses collaborate with influencers to boost their own brand. The term “influencer” covers a wide range: an influencer can be a blogger, social media user, content creator, industry expert, or celebrity. Each operates in the same manner while addressing different types of audiences.
An influencer is effectively their own brand, established through content they continuously create and communicate. Through this communication, they have formed a community of followers or fans, with whom they maintain an ongoing relationship. An influencer has the power to establish closer relationships than a faceless company can, simply by being a relatable, individual person.
Exactly how efficient is influencer marketing? 80% of marketers find influencer marketing to be effective, and 71% of marketers claim the customers and traffic driven from influencer marketing is of higher quality than any other source.
However, as with every form of marketing, influencer marketing has its pros and cons. To help you determine whether this form of marketing is a good fit for your company, we have outlined four advantages and four disadvantages of engaging in it.
Pros of Influencer Marketing
1. Assists in Reaching The Right Audience
Influencer marketing will only help you if you select an influencer with the right followers or fan base for your product or service. Consider your target audience first and foremost: what are their demographics, what content do they like, on which social media platforms do they spend the most time? From there, narrow your search to just those influencers whose audience meets these qualifications.
It is crucial to find an influencer whose persona and values align with your brand. Be sure to check out the different aspects of their career, their background, and anything they support and promote. Authenticity is important. Establishing a relationship with someone who does not represent what you want your brand to stand for can be catastrophic, whereas a relationship based on shared principles and brand alignment has the potential to expand both your audiences.
For example, if you own a hotel and want to promote it, search for successful travel writers. Invite them to stay at your property, take beautiful pictures, and prompt them to write a rave review in an article or on their blog to encourage others to visit and experience your exquisite amenities.
Once you find the best fit influencer(s), you can collaborate to attract the right people. They can even assist with building your campaign strategy, as they will know what resonates most with their audience. This helps you reach and engage with the influencer’s followers, growing your own audience and expanding awareness of your brand.
2. Builds Trust and Credibility with Customers
Trust and credibility are necessities when broadening your brand’s reach, but they also take time and effort to establish. Influencers have already established that trust with their followers. In fact, 60% of millennials trust influencers more than traditional celebrities, and 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations. By partnering with you, an influencer essentially says they trust you, which translates to their followers that they should trust you as well.
The most popular means in which influencers make their trust in a company known is through positive endorsements on social media, such as Instagram posts or TikTok videos about a product or business. These posts not only establish your credibility but also expand your reach. (Make sure to follow the FTC endorsement guidelines when posting to prevent potential legal issues.)
3. Lessens Need for Other Marketing Efforts
Marketers typically have multiple types of campaigns going at any given time, each requiring time and effort. Working with an influencer can let marketers take a step back from stressing over creating great content for their brand.
When you work with an influencer, it’s their job to create content with your brand that will appeal to and engage their followers. They know their audience better than you do. For that very reason, influencer-created content often provides greater engagement than any created by the brand.
Delegating part of a marketing campaign to influencers can give marketers more time to focus on other aspects of the campaign. It even might permit you to eliminate some of the other more strenuous parts all together. For example, in the scenario we proposed earlier, having 10 travel writers promote your hotel in industry magazines, communities, and on social media can potentially reach an exponentially wider audience than you would be able to do yourself, even after writing 10 articles and spending time on finding the right media placement for them.
4. Increases Rapid Business Growth
In addition to expanding your audience and brand reach, influencer marketing holds the potential to rapidly grow your sales. The average ROI on influencer marketing campaigns is $6.50 for every dollar spent. With your trust and credibility established across a broader audience, your prospective customers are more likely to interact with your brand and ultimately purchase your product.
Cons of Influencer Marketing
1. Possibility of Working with the Wrong Influencer
While working with the right influencer can elevate your brand astronomically, working with the wrong influencer can prove equally detrimental. Collaborating with an influencer who is not passionate about your business, authentic, or followed by members of your target audience increases the risk of annoying or driving away current customers. Each influencer specializes in their own niche. Partnering with an influencer whose niche does not align with your industry simply for the sake of having an influencer could hurt both parties.
Returning to the hotel example, partnering with an influencer who specializes in endorsing beauty products probably wouldn’t be the right call. While they may have a large following, their niche does not align with yours. Promoting your brand could confuse and annoy their followers, rather than delivering the benefits you were hoping to achieve. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule — perhaps you are considering opening a beauty salon on property, in which case there could be some synergies for promotion.
2. Difficult to Measure Specific Results
Unlike online marketing, which typically offers ways of tracking campaign performance, such as through Google Analytics, it’s hard to measure the results of influencer marketing. And as influencer collaborations often only consist of a few sponsored posts, it is even more difficult to measure the long-term value.
3. High Risk Involved
Influencer marketing is still a relatively new concept and there is no proven formula for success. Common mistakes include: not disclosing a post is sponsored, sharing content that fails to resonate with the target audience, ignoring the FTC endorsement guidelines, or exaggerating followings and engagements through the use of bots or fake accounts. These mistakes can waste your time and money and/or diminish the influencer’s desire for future collaborations.
4. Potential High Costs
In the simplest terms, when it comes to cost, the larger an influencer’s following, the more expensive the partnership. Celebrities can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Influencers in the $30K-$500k follower range often cost around $200-$800 per social media post.
While it may be tempting to seek those with the largest volume of followers, do not rely solely on their partnership, as the payoff may not be as high as you desire. Social Bluebook acts as an excellent means of estimation on how much a specific influencer might charge depending on their size.
Tips for Finding Influencers
Should you opt to engage in influencer marketing, the inevitable question arises of how to select the right influencers for your brand and campaign. Determining factors should include number of followers, posts, SEO, and the topics on which the influencers focus. But how do you go about finding the perfect partner, one who relates to and addresses your target audience?
While not all influencers are solely positioned in the social media sphere, it’s a pretty safe bet that they will have a social media presence. Here are a few tips to consider:
1. Check trending hashtags on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, etc.
Search the trending hashtags on whichever platform you feel best aligns with your target audience. The most popular content attached to that hashtag will appear, and chances are, the person to whom the content is contributed has the potential to be an influencer.
2. Visit the Explore, Trending, or Suggested section of your social media.
Once again, the most popular content, as well as the contributors and sometimes vehicles for contribution (such as an online industry publication), offers an excellent opportunity for influencer discovery.
3. Search on Google.
Googling the sort of influencers for which you are looking, and blogs relating to your industry is another way to find prospective partners. If you can find a blog that is popular with your target market, the writer might be a possible influencer.
4. Work with Agencies
To minimize the time and effort needed, consider working with influencer marketing agencies, such as Fourstarzz Media. This is by far the easiest means of finding an influencer, so for someone short on time, seeking assistance from an outside source such as an agency might be worth every penny.
Influencer marketing campaigns grow in popularity with each passing day. While not necessarily a good fit for every business, influencer marketing can prove quite beneficial. For more information or to seek help from our experts, contact us.