Want to improve your brand's reputation online? Get ready to step up your social media game because we're going to talk about the advantages and disadvantages of influencer marketing!
In today's world of social media fame and viral sensations, teaming up with influencers may seem like a quick way to achieve success.
However, before you fully embrace the world of selfies and sponsored content, it's important to understand the truth behind the glamorous facade.
In this article, I will explore all aspects of influencer marketing, from its ability to boost brand awareness to the occasional controversies surrounding sponsored content.
I aim to uncover the real effectiveness and possible drawbacks of this trendy marketing strategy.
Pros of Influencer Marketing:
- Enables a wide relevant audience reach for better engagement and conversions.
- Builds trust and credibility through influencer collaborations.
- Expands brand reach by leveraging influencer's follower base and amplification power.
- Being cost-effective, particularly for niche markets, compared to traditional marketing.
- Shortens the sales cycle by leveraging influencer recommendations.
- Saves time by outsourcing content creation and distribution to influencers.
Cons of Influencer Marketing:
- Wrong influencer collaborations can negatively impact brand alignment and audience targeting.
- Mistakes in campaigns, like low-quality content or controversial behavior, can damage brand reputation.
- Measuring precise impact and ROI is challenging due to lack of standardized metrics and attribution.
- Inherent risks exist as influencers may face scandals and controversy, or because of changing trends affecting brand association.
What are the Pros of Influencer Marketing?
If done right, influencer marketing has many pros that can greatly benefit businesses of all sizes. Here’s how your business can benefit from using influencer marketing:
1. It Helps You Reach a Relevant Audience
Influencer marketing allows you to connect with a specific target audience that aligns with your brand or product. By collaborating with influencers with a dedicated following in your niche, you can reach a relevant audience more likely to be interested in your offerings.
Here’s an example:
Choice Hotels, an international hotel chain, exemplifies this through their successful collaboration with lifestyle influencers and bloggers to promote their new brands, Cambria and Comfort Inn.
They invited popular travel and lifestyle influencer, Chelsea Foy, to stay at one of their properties. She created compelling videos, captivating photographs, and insightful blog posts documenting her experience.
The campaign yielded exceptional results, reaching an impressive audience of over 40 million potential customers.
Chelsea Foy's expertise and content focus on travel and lifestyle, make her a suitable choice for promoting a hotel chain like Choice Hotels. Her existing audience consists of individuals interested in exploring new destinations and seeking travel recommendations.
2. It Helps You Build Trust and Credibility
Influencers often have a strong bond of trust with their followers.
When an influencer recommends or endorses your product or service, it carries significant weight and credibility. Their audience sees these endorsements as trustworthy, creating a positive impact on their perception of your brand.
Influencers providing transparent views of products and services establish trust and credibility among their audience, resulting in brand loyalty and more conversions.
Let’s look at an example.
As a popular beauty influencer, Tess Holmes has a large and engaged follower base on Instagram.
When she endorsed Pure Tan's Tanning Foam, it provided social proof to her audience. Seeing someone they admire and trust use and recommend the product creates a sense of confidence and trust in the brand.
By showcasing the application process, results, and sharing her personal thoughts, she gave her followers an honest and transparent idea of the product. This authenticity resonated with her audience and helped build trust in the product.
3. It Broadens Your Brand's Reach
Influencer marketing allows you to extend your brand's reach beyond your existing customer base. By leveraging the influencer's reach and popularity, you can tap into new audiences who may not be familiar with your brand but can likewise benefit from it.
This exposure to a broader audience increases brand awareness, website traffic, and social media followers. For example, partnering with a travel influencer can help a hotel or travel agency reach a global audience and attract new customers from different regions.
4. It is Comparatively Less Expensive
Compared to traditional advertising channels, influencer marketing can be a cost-effective strategy, especially for small and medium-sized businesses.
The cost of running an influencer campaign can be anywhere between $100 to a few thousand dollars. In fact, you can also run influencer campaigns in lieu of providing freebies to influencers.
According to a report, nano-influencers charge $100 for a promotional IG post and $43 for a promotional IG Story.
Even on a shoestring budget, you can run an influencer campaign.
While collaborations with macro-influencers can be more expensive, there are opportunities to work with micro-influencers or niche-specific influencers who may offer lower rates.
These collaborations can still yield impactful results within a limited budget.
The cost-effectiveness of influencer marketing allows you to allocate your resources strategically and achieve a higher return on investment (ROI).
Before you move forward, I would suggest you do a quick calculation of the cost involved in your planned influencer campaign.
To get a better idea of your influencer marketing budget, you should consider the following factors:
- Influencer's Reach and Engagement: Influencers with a larger and more engaged following often command higher fees due to their ability to reach a broader audience and generate more meaningful interactions.
- Influencer's Reputation and Expertise: Influencers who have established themselves as industry experts or have a strong reputation within their niche often have higher demand. Their expertise and perceived value can influence their pricing.
- Content Format and Complexity: The type of content required for the campaign plays a role in cost estimation. Different formats, such as social media posts, blog articles, or videos, have varying levels of complexity, production requirements, and time investment that can impact pricing.
- Campaign Scope and Duration: The overall scope of the influencer marketing campaign, including the number of posts or content deliverables, the frequency of collaboration, and the campaign duration, can affect the cost. Larger campaigns or longer-term partnerships often entail higher fees.
- Usage Rights and Exclusivity: The rights granted to the brand in terms of content usage, exclusivity, and licensing arrangements can also influence pricing. Exclusive usage rights or restrictions on influencer collaborations with competitors may incur additional costs.
- Influencer's Pricing Structure: Influencers may have different pricing structures, such as flat fees for specific deliverables, cost per engagement (CPE) based on audience interaction metrics, cost per click (CPC), or cost per thousand followers (CPM/CPM). To understand any influencer’s pricing structure, you can ask for their media kit or rate card.
- Additional Services and Deliverables: If the campaign requires additional services beyond content creation, such as editing, product styling, event appearances, or travel expenses, these factors can impact the overall cost.
- Influencer's Negotiation and Availability: Influencer fees can also be influenced by their negotiation style, flexibility, and availability. Some influencers may be open to adjusting their pricing based on specific budget constraints or unique collaboration opportunities.
To learn more about the cost of running an influencer campaign, please check my post on, “Influencer Marketing Cost.”
5. The Cycle of Sales Gets Reduced
Influencer marketing has the potential to expedite the buying cycle for your products or services.
When an influencer promotes your product with a review, they represent a scope of the buyer's journey that their audience no longer has to go through. Their product experience is enough to make their trusting audience make a swift decision to purchase, leading to quicker conversions and increased revenue. From a traditional marketing point of view, a shorter sales cycle means less use of resources and more money at the bottom line.
For example, a fashion influencer showcasing a new clothing line can drive immediate sales as their followers are more likely to purchase based on the influencer's style advice.
If you want to see how brands have skyrocketed their sales with influencer marketing, you should check out these influencer marketing case studies.
6. You Can Save Time
Influencer marketing can save you time and effort in creating and distributing content. Collaborating with influencers allows you to leverage the influencer's creativity and content creation skills.
The influencer takes the lead in producing engaging content, tailored to their audience, while the brand benefits from the exposure.
This time-saving aspect of influencer marketing enables marketers to focus on other aspects of their marketing strategy, such as analytics, strategy development, and campaign optimization.
What are the Cons of Influencer Marketing?
While it offers numerous benefits, influencer marketing also comes with potential drawbacks and pitfalls that can harm your reputation and financial standing. Here are the cons of influencer marketing that you should be careful of:
1. Working with the Wrong Influencers Can Do More Harm than Good
Collaborating with influencers who don't align with your brand values or target audience can negatively impact you. Their actions, controversies, or mismatched content can damage your brand's reputation and credibility.
Working with influencers who have fake followers can severely harm your brand. Fake followers not only fail to engage with your content or convert into customers, but they also dilute the authenticity of your brand message.
When your audience discovers the deceit, it can lead to distrust, negative sentiment, and damage to your brand's image. It is crucial to thoroughly vet influencers and ensure their followers are genuine to maintain brand integrity.
To learn how to find the right influencers, check out my post on, “The Complete Guide on How to to Find the Right Influencers.”
2. Influencer Marketing Mistakes Can Cost Your Reputation
Missteps in influencer marketing can have costly consequences.
From inappropriate content or endorsements to contractual disputes, any mishandling can lead to brand image tarnishment and potential legal issues. It's essential to establish clear guidelines, contracts, and communication to mitigate risks.
Here is an example of such an influencer marketing fail:
The Ethereum Max campaign featuring Kim Kardashian, Paul Pierce, and Floyd Mayweather serves as an example of a campaign that led to a damaged brand reputation and financial losses.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Kardashian for failing to disclose a payment she received for promoting a crypto asset on her Instagram feed.
As a result, Kardashian agreed to pay $1.26 million to settle the charges and has been barred from promoting crypto securities for three years.
Because of the incident, Ethereum Max also reportedly lost over 70% of its market value. This case highlights the regulatory and financial risks associated with influencer marketing when proper disclosures are not made.
3. It is Difficult to Measure Results
Measuring the true effectiveness and return on investment (ROI) of influencer marketing can be challenging.
Unlike traditional marketing channels with robust analytics, influencer marketing metrics are often subjective and varied. Determining the impact on brand awareness, engagement, and sales requires careful tracking, customized metrics, and analysis.
Most brands prefer tracking sales from their influencer marketing campaigns to mitigate this challenge. This was the finding from 2022’s Influencer Marketing Benchmark report.
4. High-Risk Involved
Influencer marketing carries inherent risks due to factors beyond your control. Influencers may have their own personal brand crises, which can impact your brand's association with them. Additionally, changes in social media algorithms or policy updates can affect reach and visibility. Monitoring and adapting to these risks is important while diversifying marketing strategies.
To predict the success rate of your influencer marketing campaign, I would suggest you use advanced AI-powered tools. You can learn more about them in this post on “AI Influencer Marketing.”
Q1. What are the advantages of influencer marketing?
A. Advantages of influencer marketing include:
– Builds credibility and shows authority
– Drives purchase decisions
– Helps cut through ad blindness
– Allows you to connect with audiences on their preferred platforms
– Greatly improves your ROI
– Boosts your reach
– Gives you access to quality and creative content
Q2. What are the pros and cons of being a social media influencer?
A. The pros of being a social media influencer include:
– Flexibility in terms of topics you can explore, location, and hours of work
Opportunities to partner with fantastic brands
– Revenue stream from your passion
– Ability to inspire and influence people
– Free invites to events and products/services
The cons of being an influencer include:
– Lots of competition
– Decreased engagement and fewer chances of collaborations the minute you take time off from posting new content
– Constant bullying from haters
Q3. What is the negative side of influencer marketing?
The negative side of influencer marketing includes lack of authenticity, deceptive practices, influencer misconduct, inflated follower counts, oversaturation of sponsored content, and potential loss of trust among audiences.
Is Influencer Marketing Right For You?
Deciding whether influencer marketing is right for your brand requires careful consideration of the pros and cons of this strategy.
While it can offer valuable benefits such as reaching a relevant audience, building trust, and expanding brand reach, it also presents challenges. These include the potential for working with the wrong influencers and difficulty in measuring results.
By weighing all of these factors and aligning them with your brand objectives, target audience, and budget, you can make an informed decision.
So, what are your thoughts?
Have you tried influencer marketing, and if so, what has been your experience? We'd love to hear your insights and stories in the comments below.