The term influencer marketing is gaining more traction and popularity by the day. While this publicity is encouraging more brands to pay attention, the heavy buzz surrounding the term is not necessarily teaching marketers what influencer marketing really is… or what it is not. We’re dispelling some of the most common influencer marketing myths to help you gain a clearer understanding of what influencer marketing can do for your brand.
Myth: Quantity Over Quality
It’s natural to assume that the influencers who have amassed the largest followings will bring the most engagement and ROI to a campaign, but as many brands have learn the hard way, this is not necessarily true. Yes, top-tier influencer has the potential to reach hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of social users with just one post, but that does not mean that their posts will spark engagement or action. In the world of influencer marketing, alignment is far more beneficial than an impressive follow count. Finding influencers who are natural fits with your brand will lead to more compelling content. As an added bonus, influencers who not only align with the with the campaign messaging, but also boast high and consistent engagement among their followers will give your campaign the best chance of succeeding.
Myth: The Bigger the Budget the Better
The beauty of influencer marketing is that it is not a one size fits all approach. Influencer marketing can and should be tailored to each unique brand campaign based on both budget and goals. While it’s true that household brands have deep enough pockets to align with the internet’s most formidable influencers, these large, bullish campaigns don’t always generate a sizable lift in brand awareness or sales. Influencer marketing is scalable and brands with small budgets have the opportunity to implement a campaign with smaller tier, but highly relevant influencers who can evangelize the brand message on a more personal level.
Myth: Short-Term Influencer Relationships Are Best
Many brands are still experimenting with influencer marketing; they’re attempting to distinguish the budget, cadence and goals that will work best for them. As a result, many brands are not necessarily thinking long-term right now. Perhaps cultivating long term relationships with influencers feels like too much commitment too soon — especially if brands have just recently adapted influencers into their overall marketing practices. We get it. Commitment is scary. But more often than not, it results in worthwhile results and relationships. Before you convince yourself that you’re not yet ready to take a long-term plunge, first understand that long-term influencer marketing strategies do not necessarily mean a heavy investment of budget. They do, however, call for a consistent investment of time. Taking the time everyday to interact with a few digital influencers who may have already posted for your brand, or who you’d like to see post in the future, doesn’t cost you a dime, but it will pay dividends when a new influencer campaign opportunity comes to fruition.
Myth: Brands Must Control Their Influencers’ Content
Influencers have gained their social media statuses and followings because they are expert at creating content that naturally engages audiences. Influencers understand their own voices and aesthetics, as well as their audience’s expectations and inclinations, better than you do — which is why you should always trust your influencers’ creative ideas. If you force influencers in your campaign to follow overly scripted guidelines, their audiences will immediately pick up on the unnatural tones and styles and be disengaged with the message. If you want influencers to deliver quality content to relevant audiences, you have to loosen up the reigns.
Myth: Disclosure Doesn’t Matter
In the early years of influencer marketing, many brands took a lax attitude toward sponsorship disclosure. This resulted in blurred lines between organic and sponsored content that social media followers found difficult to distinguish. In March 2015, the FTC stepped in and decided to draw a harder line. Following a Lord & Taylor Instagram influencer campaign, in which many influencers did not label their posts as sponsored, the FTC re-worked their Endorsement Guidelines. Almost as quickly as the dress featured in each of the influencers’ posts flew off store shelves, the campaign drew criticism for failing to disclose the sponsored nature of each post. Now, endorsement misrepresentation is more closely monitored. Today, there is no gray area. If content is paid for, it must be stated.
Myth: Finding Influencers is A Piece of Cake
While there is an abundance of content creators across every imaginable niche actively posting to blogs and social media platforms every day, finding the best influencers for your brand is not akin to shooting fish in a barrel. In the early days of influencer marketing, finding the most relevant and promising influencers required hours of manual searching and sifting through blogs and social media content, and crunching social metrics. Thankfully, now there are influencer marketing platforms, like Socialix, that streamline the discovery process. Utilizing Socialix’s cutting-edge technology and unique search algorithm, now you leverage your brand’s relevant keywords and social metric preferences to immediately find influencers to drive ROI for your campaign.
Myth: Influencers Always Say Yes to Sponsored Offers
While it’s true that influencers are in the business of creating and promoting content, most high quality influencers are discerning about the sponsored campaigns that they choose to associate their personal brands with. To convince influencers that their participation in your campaign will be beneficial for both parties, you must take the time to carefully craft your pitches. Referencing their past work, engaging with their posts on social media and being transparent about the goals of your campaign are a few of the distinguishing factors that comprise a well-received pitch. There is an art to pitching and perfecting your pitch style may take some time. But for sustainable success, it is imperative that the pitching process is prioritized within your influencer strategy.
Understanding what influencer marketing is not, and strategizing beyond these common misconceptions, is an important first-step if you want to set your brand up for influencer marketing success.