Influencer Marketing: The Pros and Cons and is it Right for Your Business?
By Theresa Schempp
As digital marketing continues to propel forward, new strategies have been used to drive success in ways other than written advertisements. One of the most well-known strategies implemented in social media today is influencer marketing. Influencer marketing has been used since the 1950’s, when celebrities promoted a brand through a billboard or commercial. Today, social media has increased this niche dramatically.
Social media has given rise to internet sensations who gain followers through their desirable lifestyles. These people create a community of individuals who trust and value their ideas and opinions. What makes them influencers is their use of social media platforms to promote products or campaigns to their audiences. Brands have seen proven success through partnerships with these influencers, with studies showing some businesses to convert twice as many sales as paid ads. However, the Federal Trade Commission has begun to implement strict guidelines for this marketing strategy, which can make it a difficult field to navigate.
How do you know if influencer marketing is right for your business? There are several types of businesses that can be successful through implementing this strategy:
Your business promotes a certain lifestyle. Influencers curate their community through promoting their lifestyle and status. The goal is for the audience to correlate buying your products with achieving a lifestyle similar to the influencer.
You are in a crowded niche and want to stand out. If you are in a competitive market, partnering with an influencer could be what makes your company stand out. Partnering with an influencer makes it relatable to the influencer’s audience.
You are a new company without minimal reviews. Partnering with an influencer gives your business the opportunity to grow your audience at an accelerated rate. It gives your business recognition, which will ultimately boost your sales.
When deciding if your business should implement influencer marketing, you must also consider the several pros and cons that come with every marketing campaign.
Pros of Influencer Marketing
Allows you to target and reach bigger audiences. Partnering with an influencer allows your business to choose the type of audience you want to target. An example of this would be a fashion blogger who wears luxurious and stylish clothing. If you are a fashion business and partner with this influencer, their audience will likely view your brand as luxurious and stylish. In addition, it gives your business access to a larger audience, increasing your business’ chances of more sales and impressions.
Influencers help build long-lasting and trusting relationships with customers. Influencers are viewed by their audiences in many cases as colleagues. Influencers gain success through maintaining a community and interacting with their audience. When they promote a business, the prove to their audience that the business is one they trust, so their audience can trust them as well. This allows your business to create long-lasting relationships with this audience, who ultimately can become your customers.
There is a wide range of influencers, many who are budget-friendly. The influencer market is like any other marketing field, with options that range from affordable to more expensive partnerships. Micro-influencers, who have a smaller community, are still influential because they prove to have stronger communities. Micro-influencers are an excellent choice for a business to choose when testing influencer marketing strategies. Studies have shown that 84% of micro-influencers charge less than $250 for a post, and many work in exchange for free products or services from your business.
Cons of Influencer Marketing
The Federal Trade Commission has very strict guidelines. As influencer marketing continues to grow, the FTC has begun to roll out strict policies that business must follow when partnering with an influencer. This can be one of the biggest setbacks of businesses partnering with influencers, due to the risk of potentially breaking one of the guidelines. This can result in heavy fines and a poor reputation for your business.
Finding the right influencer takes time and effort. Influencer marketing is one of the more time-consuming strategies a business can implement. Not only do you need to find the right influencer, but you must build that partnership through several discussions and pitches. This requires a business to have designated employees to work with the influencer, which can be strenuous on small businesses.
Different tracking tools need to be set up to see performance results. Because influencer marketing is different to typical digital marketing, measuring its success must be done differently. The tools needed to accurately measure influencer marketing success typically cost more money, which may not be in the budget of many businesses.
While influencer marketing is an excellent tool that a variety of businesses can implement, just like any other marketing strategy it is important to decide if it is a strategy that can propel the success of your business.