Has Influencer Marketing Had It's Heyday?

(AD) With regular negative articles in the Press and critical threads on web forums it’s easy to think that people have had enough of influencers. It’s not surprising there is frustration when someone suddenly goes from all organic content to advert after advert, but arguably the negativity is evidence of just how successful influencer marketing still is

A lanyard saying "Influencer" next to a cocktail on a wooden table
Is influencer marketing still a good investment?

Why Is Influencer Marketing Successful? 

Influencer marketing involves a direct conversation between a person and their audience. Whether they follow for inspiration, interest or curiosity the audience is interested in what the influencer has to say and there is an element of trust. People should know when something is an advert (just like when watching TV), but that doesn’t stop them being influenced. How many times have you seen an advert for a chocolate bar and then really wanted to eat chocolate? If people see someone they follow using a product or a service at a minimum it will make them aware that the product exists. When already aware of the product seeing influencer campaigns can reveal new aspects people weren’t aware of, they show how the product fits into a lifestyle and can also encourage purchasing through keeping up with the Joneses.

Could Influencer Marketing Be Becoming More Successful?

There are a huge number of influencers across the different platforms. While the challenges of creating a blog were seen as a barrier, most people have social media accounts. Many people have discovered they unexpectedly grow and become influential just by being themselves. People like the authentic feel of micro influencers and it makes them hugely successful for marketing campaigns. 

Rather than being on the way out it is arguable that influencer marketing is becoming more successful and there are lots of examples of successful influencer marketing campaigns. Whether the influencer has hundreds of thousands of followers or just hundreds if the audience is engaged and looking at their photos, watching their videos and reading their words they will encourage purchases or a change in behaviour.

People are watching less TV in real time so they are skipping the adverts and sales of printed magazines and newspapers are in decline. Add to this the tightening of online privacy laws, cookies being disallowed and more people using ad blockers and it makes targeted advertising harder to do. 

Influencers know their audience so not only can they introduce a product to a group of people with similar interests, but they instinctively know the selling points that will appeal to them. This becomes even more important when there is a niche product. An influencer with a specific interest or niche can come up with marketing angles that would otherwise take focus groups and a lot of customer engagement to identify.

The Risks Of Influencer Marketing

Despite it’s success, influencer marketing isn’t without risks for the influencer or the brand. The influence is built on goodwill and reputation so it can be easily lost. Most large influencers face some level of trolling and a backlash for publishing paid content on their channels especially when it isn’t seen as authentic.

There are also risks relying on a platform you have no control over: from changes to algorithms to accounts lost through hacking, content (and followers) can vanish without warning.

Some businesses struggle to justify the cost of influencer marketing because ROI (return on investment) isn’t straight forward to measure. While some people will click through and buy straight away the posts often lead to the planting of an idea or desire and by the time a purchase is made they wont always remember where they saw the advert. 

Established influencers normally have a good understanding of the guidelines around advertising and gifted products, the sensitivities involved and spend a long time on content creation and engagement. Choosing the right influencers for a campaign is more than looking at the headline numbers (which can easily be faked). It’s important to look at previous content created and the quality of engagement. 

While some influencers seem to feel entitled; asking for a lot and not delivering, most work really hard and deserve the money or high value items they are given. That day out or holiday they have been gifted? It’s great obviously, but it’s work. They need to make sure they are getting suitable content, getting all the information correct and seeing as much as possible in order to really review it. That’s not always easy, especially where families are involved. Paying reasonable rates allows influencers to invest more time and creativity into the content creation inevitably leading to better outputs. The time and effort put into campaigns by influencers shouldn’t be underestimated (or undervalued). 

The kind of influencer and the type of campaign worth investing in may change over time, but it seems clear influencer marketing is here to stay.

***Disclosure: this is a sponsored post. All thoughts are my own.***

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