Social media marketing is quickly becoming a staple in every brand’s core strategy. With the takeover of the Internet, promoting your brand through traditional channels like print ads, TV and billboards has become outdated and insufficient on its own.
Influencer marketing is a sub-category of social media marketing that has brands using online influencers as vessels to promote their products or services. This type of marketing has been found to be much more effective than regular sponsored ads. Because people are much more likely to take a recommendation from someone they follow than that of the brand themselves, companies are strengthening or sometimes even replacing their existing marketing strategies with influencer marketing.
Like with anything though, many have yet to take the plunge into this type of marketing due to popular misconceptions. And that’s exactly what they are: misconceptions. Here are the 4 biggest myths when it comes to influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing is expensive
Many are hesitant to invest in influencer marketing because they think they’ll be dishing out a lot of money for little reward. But the opposite is actually true. Sure, if you’re aiming for the Kardashians or Jenners you’ll likely need to sell your first-born to afford it. If you’re influencer savvy though, you should be shooting for the niche influencers. Niche influencers may have much less followers but their follower engagement is often off the charts. Moreover, they are much more organic and genuine than the Kylies and Kims of the social media world.
The more followers the influencer has, the better
Focusing on the not-yet-famous influencer will benefit your brand much more than hunting for the big names. Not only will big names cost you an arm and a leg, their follower engagement is relatively much lower compared to the micro-influencer. Let’s take the Biebs, for example. While he certainly has a ton of followers, we need to understand that a large portion of those may be useless to your brand. You have a fraction that love his music, a fraction that are there for the drunk posts, a fraction that think he’s hot and a fraction that like his style. That leaves you with a percentage of his following that are actual potential consumers of your brand. This is why dealing with niche influencers with very targeted followings will get you a better ROI.
Instead of looking at their number of followers, look at the followers themselves. What are they into? How engaged are they? Are they consumers of your product or service? Focusing on these things instead of the number will save you a lot of money and wasted time.
You must provide influencers with monetary compensation
As mentioned, influencer marketing doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money. In fact, it can cost you none. Many smaller influencers may not even require monetary payment for a partnership with your brand. This is actually one of the most hotly debated issues when it comes to influencer marketing. Is a good payout to the influencer really necessary to get good results? In many marketers’ experience, the simple answer is no.
While people argue that paying an influencer is the only way to go, others argue that those who haven’t made it big yet stand to benefit from a cash-less collaboration as much as the brand does. For most micro-influencers, money is not the most important part of a brand partnership. What trumps money is exposure and providing their followers with unique and helpful content. If the brand adds value to their feed and can grow their following, the word “unpaid” might not scare them off. To find the influencers who won’t ignore your DM’s, target ones with similar values and interests to your brands so that working together will be mutually beneficial.
Additionally, influencers may accept compensation in forms other than straight cash. While some may strictly require monetary compensation, others may be willing to accept less tangible perks. They can often be motivated by experiences, product, and exposure. If you’re lucky, you’ll find an influencer who is so keen on being seen as an influencer by their peers that they’re willing to work with you for nothing.
FTC regulations aren’t that important
Many brands think that they’re too small for the FTC to go after. WRONG. The Federal Trade Commission requires influencers to disclose that their posts are paid. Not complying could result in big problems for both the brand and the influencer. The FTC does not discriminate when it comes to sniffing out the law-breakers and brands of all sizes have been nailed with big fines.
If you’re too lazy to look into the minutiae of these guidelines, the overall gist is that if you’re paying an influencer to promote your brand, they must explicitly include in that post that it is paid. This can be done simply by including hash tags such as “#ad” or “#sponsored” prominently in their caption.
While there will always be naysayers, the best course of action is to do your research. Social media and influencer marketing has exploded because it works. The present and future is online and if you aren’t marketing your brand there, you’re really screwing the pooch.