So you think you need an influencer. Influencers of course are the buzz word of 2019 and it seems like a lot of people think they are the golden ticket of advertising. I’ve heard a lot of big brands and even small businesses talking about social media influencers. They want them, they use them, but do you really need them?
First of all, what is a social media influencer? We’ll they’re a person of influence of course. You’ve seen them, you probably follow, models, celebrities, or everyday average people on Instagram, Youtube, twitter, Facebook, or a blog. Basically they are someone who has been very successful with content marketing and they have an audience. They might be reviewing products, blogging about a specific topic like food, fitness, travel, or parenting but when we break it down they are simply access to an audience. That’s the most important point, you have to think of influencers like they are a channel.
Influencers have that title because they have been known to influence people's opinions and shopping habits through their content marketing. That is why I think there is this perception that they are the golden ticket. Like if you can get an influencer to blog or post about you, then you will be set for life. Sadly that’s not true.
I’m sorry to keep bringing the reality check but here are 3 reasons why I think influencers are not necessarily the golden ticket, of advertising that you might think they are:
1. Audience and demographics.
This is something I’m constantly preaching about. If you’re spending money on a channel and you don’t know anything about the audience, then you might as well throw your money away. For example, if you operate a local bakery and you want your brand to be featured by influencers, first of all you better make sure they are food bloggers. Second, where is their audience located? Are they also local? Are they global? Are they even real? Unfortunately it is really easy to buy followers on instagram and appear to be a person of influence. My point is that just like any TV, Radio, or Print campaign, there is work to be done on researching choosing the right channels with the right audience.
2. Media coverage
Influencers can be a really good way to target niche audiences. People who have very specific likes and interests. However, influencers should be an add on to your existing campaigns, not your entire budget. That’s because you’re often dealing with smaller segments of the population which can support your mass marketing but should never replace it.
YouTube has certainly been cracking down over the years on content creators who post product reviews. If a company provides free products or services for review then it needs to be disclosed because that is considered an advertisement. Audiences are also becoming more savvy and skeptical when it comes to this that blurred line between advertisement and legitimate review or experience. People want authentic and unbiased content that doesn’t always feel like advertising. When it comes to instagram, there is no regulation like on youtube and audiences are becoming more aware of the sponsored content and that might hurt some influencers as consumers try more and more to avoid advertising.
Basically if you work in areas like food, fashion, travel, technology, or most consumer packaged goods, then influencers might be something to explore. But like any campaign, do your homework, and don’t give your money or products to anyone claiming to be an influencer because it might be that the only person they are influencing is you, to give them money.