What a drag it is trying to find the right shampoo that tames your frizzy hair, or the dishwashing liquid that promises a long-lasting sparkling shine. The abundance of choice out there is insane, and you can’t rely on enticing packaging promising you a life of eternal happiness, nor can you research the ingredients of every product to know what really works. Yet the world is full of reviews that can help you make the right choice, and with the advent of social media influencers, the answers are often at your fingertips.
Recommendations from people we know and trust count for a lot more than messages straight from companies themselves. And to bridge that gap, businesses are recruiting these influencers to put a human face to that brand and help them reach out to bigger audiences over platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook.
As a marketing strategy, influencer marketing has been gaining a lot of momentum over the past few years, with a 325% increase in searches about it. However, it is also receiving a lot of scrutiny, with tough questions about the authenticity of influencer-promoted posts, and if influencer marketing actually results in more sales. So, before you make a decision about whether influencer marketing is a technique your brand should be investing in, it’s worth trying to sort out fact from fiction.
Influencer Marketing Mythbuster
1. Influencer marketing doesn’t represent a good ROI
There remains a lack of faith in influencer marketing and whether it can have any effect on improving sales. The bottom line for any marketer is ROI, not just ‘likes’, so if it cannot succeed in increasing sales for the company, it is not a viable tool.
The tide of skepticism is gradually being reversed, however. According to a recent survey, over 94% of marketers agree that it makes for an effective campaign strategy. Confidence in it amongst corporations is at an all-time high, with marketing departments looking to double their budget for multifaceted influencer campaigns, from $25,000 to $50,000, in the coming year.
2. Influencer marketing is impossible to measure
The biggest criticism still being levelled at influencer marketing is that there aren’t reliable ways of measuring a campaign’s effectiveness. In terms of likes and increased followership, it’s been easier to see the effect of an influencer’s collaboration, but how exactly has this translated into sales? Is there a way to calculate accurately that, if you spend a certain amount engaging someone to head up your campaign, you’ll see x% increase in purchases?
The good news is more sophisticated social media tools are gradually being able to grant a little more insight into the connection between influencer appearances and purchases. Promo codes embedded in an influencer post tell us exactly when customers click through and buy a product. Taking the time to monitor your analytics closely and stay on top of your account’s performance also yields answers as to whether or not your investment is paying off. Finally, companies can try isolating a product and launching a campaign just for it, which helps to indicate whether or not the item saw more sales when endorsed by an influencer.
3. More followers equals more sales
When looking to recruit an influencer, many companies make the assumption that bigger is better. Micro-influencers (people with between 10,000-100,000 followers) have a much closer relationship to their fans than, say, a person with over a million, so if you’re unable to afford the A-class of Instagram celebrity, you needn’t worry, as you’ll probably make more of an impact with an influencer who actively engages with their audience.
4. Big brands don’t need influencers
Affordable fashion house H&M launched a series of very successful Instagram influencer campaigns, despite the fact that it’s a popular brand already well known to consumers. Other big names, like Puma and Airbnb, who have also got their influencer campaigns spot on, now see influencer marketing as an integral part of their marketing strategy and are constantly on the hunt for the next up-and-coming social media personality that can head up their labels.
As a proportion of a company’s marketing budget, the cost of running an influencer campaign can be relatively low, yet the return on it significant, making it a very attractive option for businesses looking to incorporate it into their marketing strategies.