- 1. Introduction of influencer marketing
- 2. Benefits
- 3. Drawbacks
- 4. Best practices
Table of contents
Influencer marketing has quickly grown in popularity because of its many benefits to branding and companies. It offers one of the best returns on investment, the ability to cross-advertise to other industries and a way to involve consumers in advertising and product improvement.
Introduction of influencer marketing
Influence marketing stems from the larger word of mouth (WoM) marketing and involves obtaining online brand ambassadors to subtly advertise products they have genuinely used on social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc..
This marketing technique provides the consumer benefits, too. It provides them with additional product information from people like them. While initially, this marketing method used celebrities, it eventually turned to well-known bloggers and key influencers who may be new to the blog or social media scene, but already have clout.
Read more about the definition of influencer marketing here.
As opposed to hard sell advertising like television or radio ads, using influencers provides a subtle ad that uses a person, not a persona, who resembles the target audience in key ways, such as a mother, or small business owner. The influencer either gets free product, gets paid for their participation or gets both. Due to the incentivized nature of the technique, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) passed regulations governing it that require each influencer to reveal their status on each post or blog.
The benefits of using this marketing technique include:
- Provide authenticity which helps build credibility and trust
- Provide highly focused brand or industry, plus target audience advertising
- Improve relevancy and level of engagement to the audience
- Avoid the pushy, over-the-top approach of in-store promotions or social media ads
- Provide consumer value since it communicates additional information and a real-world use case
- Decrease customer acquisition time
- Increase brand or firm search engine optimization (SEO) performance
- Cost less than other digital marketing methods
- Help the brand or the firm’s content strategy
- Help increase brand or firm reach and awareness
- Provide a win-win situation between brands and influencers
- Work for any size business or brand
While the benefits of influencer marketing remain great, few disadvantages exist. Conversely, the only downsides include an influencer changing their mind about a brand or firm and a brand or company changing direction. Either partner in the influencer mix can change viewpoints. When this occurs, the parties no longer suit one another and they part ways.
Another downside is that one party may not fulfill its contractual requirements. For example, the influencer might post or tweet, but the brand may not deliver its products or services in a timely fashion. Thus, brands and influencers need to stick to the influencer marketing process while executing the campaign to be able to cooperate harmoniously.
The best practices of using influencers in marketing continually evolve with some set by the FTC. One of the easiest methods of ensuring a program meets and exceeds industry best practices is the use of an influencer management agency. These agencies provide campaign design, industry influencers and track the campaigns for a brand or firm. They work with marketing departments in developing strategies. They cover a range of social media from Instagram and Facebook to Twitter and YouTube. Their expertise lies in managing influencers and campaigns, and they keep abreast of FTC regulatory changes and new, relevant laws like GDPR.
Used appropriately, influence marketing helps both sides – the brand or firm and the influencer. It provides both with original, relevant blogs or posts. The influencers benefit from exclusive, branded content from leaders in their fields. For example, an influencer for a film production company would receive promotions photos or exclusive trailers or scenes to include in blogs or posts. This not only helps to advertise the film but helps the influencer draw new readers or retain existing ones with their unique content.