Great Exaggerations: The Death of Influencer Marketing
“The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated” –Mark Twain
Over the last couple of years, as the FTC, FDA, and Google implemented specific guidelines for compensated posts on social media. Some large companies have gone public saying that influencer marketing isn’t giving them the returns they wanted.
This has caused some folks to despair. They have declared that influencer marketing is dead.
I mean, if an influencer promotes you on Twitter but has to use the hashtag #ad, you’ll lose the credibility an influencer is supposed to give, right?
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is the process of having people with strong online followings review or promote your product or service. You focus on using thought leaders or other respected individuals to gain credibility for your offering.
Celebrity endorsements are a long-standing form of influencer marketing. So are sponsored blog posts, sponsored tweets, Instagram posts, and more.
Influencers can be paid or unpaid for their endorsement. Most of the time there is some sort of compensation, which now requires clear disclosure.
What IS Dead About Influencer Marketing
The reason that many organizations are fed up with influencer marketing is because they aren’t using people for their influencer.
They’re using them as a digital billboard.
So a major sports figure on Instagram holds up Gatorade. So a supermodel takes a picture with a specific face cleanser. Is that going to drive major sales of the product?
We’re jaded. We know that Bryce Harper or Kim Kardashian or whoever is a paid spokesperson. We know they don’t use or care about the product. We’re not impressed.
That’s the problem with influencer marketing done wrong. You are obviously paying an advertiser. It doesn’t feel authentic. We keep scrolling.
How to Do Influencer Marketing Right
Well, if influencer marketing isn’t dead, how can you take advantage of it?
There are several tips that are vital. However, the most important aspect is your mindset.
Influencer marketing is about an authentic connection with another person’s audience.
If you remember that, you’ll do well. (Click Here for more on Building this!)
Find the Right Influencer
Choosing an influencer based merely on the number of followers they have is a losing proposition. Instead, ask these questions:
- Does this person use my type of product or service in their life?
- Are they the type of person who could genuinely promote or review my offering?
- Is their audience similar to my target market?
- How engaged is their audience?
- Has this person shown the ability to inspire action in their followers in the past?
With the answers to these questions, you’ll have a short-list of influencers who may work well for your marketing outreach.
Build the Relationship
No one likes to be used. While some people are willing to be used for the right amount of money, their reviews or endorsements won’t be as authentic.
Instead, research the people you are considering as influencers. Find out what’s important to them. Investigate their guidelines for promotion, if they have any posted.
Then, reach out authentically. Talk about why your product or service would benefit their audience and share why you chose them as an influencer instead of someone else.
Keep the Conversation Going
Don’t see an influencer relationship as a one-time advertisement. Instead, engage with the new audience and the influencer over time. Find a way to connect that serves both you, the influencer, and the audience.
Can you offer coupons from time to time? Can the influencer ask his or her audience for feedback on your behalf? Can you answer questions?
Whatever you can do to keep the relationship strong over time will pay off in the end. Many times, a consumer has to see or hear about your product or service multiple times before they’re ready to buy. By keeping a conversation going, you’ll increase conversions.
The best influencer marketing feels like consumer advocacy. It’s something that truly fits the influencer and his or her audience, and it’s beneficial to that target market.
When you find a few great fits and build those relationships over time, you’ll get incredible returns that will far surpass those big-name companies that are paying for a famous person to pose with their product on Instagram.
In short, influencer marketing is alive and well – if you do it right.