Is working with an influencer a stroke of inspiration that’ll brilliantly boost your brand reach or bandwagonism that’ll ruin your reputation and blow a humongous hole in your budget?
Instagram is the don dada of influencer platforms and it’s at the helm of an $8 billion industry driven by superstars like Kylie Jenner – who charge a mind-boggling $1 million per promotional post.
But you’ll be pleased to know that there are influencers are the other end of the spectrum who can still deliver a decent ROI despite having far smaller fan-bases.
To help you decide if influencer marketing is right for your business, let’s take a look at 10 of the main pros and cons.
1. Authentic (Pro)
Influencer marketing allows your business to access your target customers in a more natural and authentic way than traditional advertising. Rather than bombarding your audience with overt sales content, you’re using influencers already connected with your target audience to showcase your products and services.
2. Expensive (Con)
Once upon a time, free products were the currency for influencer marketing. However, as the influencer space has become more saturated and competitive, freebies won’t satisfy big-name macro-influencers (typically those with 10,000+ followers). However, a large number of followers does not always equate to ROI that rocks. In fact, research shows that micro-influencers have a higher engagement rate.
3. Audience (Pro)
By definition, influencers have a large or well-segmented following that’s (crucially) loyal and engaged – exactly what you need in order to enhance brand awareness. When you attract these loyal consumers, they can become brand advocates and might even elevate themselves to influencer status, thus cementing a cyclical process that sustains long-term success for you.
4. Ghost Followers (Con)
Ghost followers are fake or inactive users on social media often created by bots and they’re a big problem for influencer marketing because they don’t actually engage with influencer content. This means that while some influencers appear to have a large following, it’s actually fake or inflated and will have little impact on your brand growth.
5. Trust (Pro)
Influencers are able to build a strong rapport by allowing their followers a vivid insight into their lives. In doing so, their fans feel the same close connection to them that they have with friends. These bonds of trust are important in the world of business and marketing, where personal connections are a major motivator in the decision to purchase a product – an ExpertVoice survey proved that 82% of consumers are highly likely to follow an influencers’ recommendation.
6. Outsider (Con)
When you work with an influencer, you’re stepping into their social space, which has its own signature style that you’ll have to accept and adapt to. Furthermore, you’re trusting an outsider who might lack the same passion and knowledge of your brand as your own employees, which means your brand message could get lost in translation and damaged by association with any negative twists and turns their career might take.
7. Creativity (Pro)
The best influencers are content creation geniuses who have worked hard to build up a fiercely loyal fan base. In fact, for those with the largest number of followers, it’s their full time job. By partnering with them, your business gains access to an audience expert who can take responsibility for promoting your brand whilst you focus on other areas of your marketing strategy.
8. Competitive (Con)
The influencer marketing industry is fiercely competitive and growing at a rapid pace. In fact, according to Business Insider it’s on track to be worth $15 billion by 2022. As demand for influencers increases, sifting and selecting the best partners for your business will be time-consuming and fees for the best will increase, so you might decide that it’s preferable to invest in training and tools to develop your own staff.
9. Content (Pro)
Working with an influencer can help lighten content creation load because you can re-use influencer content on your own social media channels. It’s an effective way to add variety to your social feeds, highlight the collaboration and give your followers more insight into the business. In essence, showcasing the partnership becomes a marketing campaign in its own right which can help improve your social media engagement.
10. Controversial (Con)
Influencer marketing has faced a fair amount of criticism, with some consumers feeling misled by influencers who have not made clear that their endorsement was part of a paid partnership. In response to this, hashtags such as #ad and #sponsor have become more common. Instagram has created a ‘Paid partnership’ for posts of this kind, which is good for transparency but detracts from the authenticity that makes Instagram influencer marketing so special.
Like any type of digital marketing, influencer marketing has its benefits and drawbacks. But with so many influencers out there, it’s perhaps worth exploring if there’s someone whose vision and audience base aligns with your own.
And remember that making friends with a well-connected micro-influencer might actually drive more conversions than re-mortgaging your home for a mega-influencer contract.
Either way, we hope our top 10 pros and cons have provided you with some intelligent insights.