When it comes to awareness and engagement for your brand, social media is a great place to start. As a hybrid strategy falling somewhere in between social media marketing and public relations, influencer marketing is a great way to shine a more approachable and authentic light on your brand.
By having a person who has already cultivated a following that trusts them to recommend and share your brand can be invaluable. Yet a process that seems so simple can quickly become overwhelming and stressful, especially for busy business owners.
Read on for a few of the most common misconceptions I hear about influencer marketing and my rationale for why brands shouldn’t let them get in the way of this strategic marketing opportunity.
Myth #1: “Influencers wouldn’t work for my brand/industry/niche” OR “My brand isn’t big enough to work with influencers.”
- Whether you’re selling a food product or a financial service and starting out with 100 or 10,000 followers – there’s an influencer out there for your brand. Part of the challenge is sifting through the thousands of options to find an influencer who strikes that delicate balance of authenticity and audience size.
- Speaking of audience size, the number of followers an influencer has typically impacts the price point of their partnership. Work with your team to find different options with varying audience sizes to reach out to for their media kits to get a better idea of where you want your budget to be.
- Quick Tip: If you have a smaller audience and want to test out using influencer marketing with a content creator closer to your playing field, look into micro-influencers.
Myth #2: “All influencers are created equal.”
- This is one of the key components of influencer marketing that can be a little trickier to navigate. You need to be able to trust the creator you’re working with. Unfortunately, there are influencers out there who have taken advantage of the opportunity to partner with brands by trying to inflate their engagement rate or follower count.
- They can do this a few ways: buying followers through third-party apps or services (think: robot spam accounts clogging their “follower” list), purchasing engagements for certain posts (again – not genuine audience members or people) or being part of what’s called an “engagement pod,” which is when influencers like and comment on each others’ posts in a systematic or inauthentic way that doesn’t drive real results.
- Quick Tip: There are ways to combat the above. First, hold on to the trusted partnerships you have – they’ll only get better with time. Second, make sure to take a deep dive into the demographics of an influencer’s audience as well as a qualitative look at their engagement.
Myth #3: “Influencers aren’t as effective since the pandemic began.”
- I love busting this myth. Data from eMarketer has actually shown the opposite is true. With more people at home on their phones and spending increased time on social media overall combined with the fact that many brands have cut their digital advertising and marketing budgets, influencers are a great option to reach your target audience in an affordable way.
- Many of the trends and industry changes we’re seeing impacted by the pandemic are really just preexisting trends that have accelerated with the societal changes.
Myth #4: “Influencers aren’t worth the money because they’re one and done.”
- First, influencers are most advantageous for your brand when you look at it as a partnership versus a transaction. The beauty of working with influencers is the relationship you develop with them. If you’re loving the content an influencer produces for your brand and make it an enjoyable experience for them by letting them control the content and narrative, you’re also investing in what will likely turn into a brand evangelist. So instead of posting once, they’re more likely to close out the campaign with positive feelings about the brand they worked with as a whole. I’ve seen influencers continue sharing about a brand they’ve worked with in the past on an organic level because they genuinely grew to love and use a product through a partnership.
- That’s another benefit of using an agency to manage your influencer campaigns – you have a person who understands media relations working on your behalf to develop a relationship with the influencer and will work to provide a great experience for them throughout the content creation process. They will also have a dedicated point of contact for any questions and have someone to bounce ideas off of during their creative process, if need be.
- Quick Tip: You can repurpose the content they created for you for years to come if you include the right verbiage in your contract.
Myth #5: “There are no influencers with the right audience for my brand.”
- There are influencers who are out there creating content for everything from clean beauty to household cleaning items to pet products. The industry has truly grown into one of the most expansive opportunities for a brand of any kind to reach a targeted demographic that will be likely to be interested in their brand once they learn about it.
- If you’re looking for an audience with a younger demographic, 75% of 18- to 24-year-olds use Instagram. Need to get in front of high-net-worth clients? LinkedIn is your go-to. Working with someone who’s not only knowledgeable about the way influencer marketing works but also the social media strategy behind selection of online platforms is another key to success.
- Quick Tip: Request potential partners to send a detailed audience breakdown. If you’re looking to reach the eyeballs of Gen Z or millennials in a 25-mile radius of a specific city with a certain interest, you can!
Bonus Myth: “There’s no quantifiable way to measure success/influencers don’t drive conversions.”
- With the advanced analytics behind platforms like Instagram and other social media today, we’re able to not only form partnerships with the influencers who allow us to see their analytics so we can track progress, but we can work with them directly to report on all the key performance indicators (KPIs) that are meaningful to you. When paired with things like strategic digital paid media to put dollars behind this content, you’re setting up your brand for major success.
- What are some meaningful KPIs to start out with? It depends on your brand’s unique goals for that campaign. Is your goal to drive web traffic? Include UTM codes in your hyperlinks and featured links to track where those visitors come from. Are you in it for the awareness piece? Focus on reach, engagements and engagement rate.
Remember: People buy from people. And people tend to trust the opinions and recommendations of other humans more so than a brand or ad from a brand – online or otherwise. So tap into this marketing powerhouse and reach out to us if you need help managing a campaign.