Influencer Marketing: What We Can Glean from Marketers’ Shortfalls

  • By Emily French
  • in
  • on March 17, 2020

If there’s anything that marketers have learned, it’s that social media isn’t going anywhere and it will continuously evolve in our lifetimes. Over the last ten years, Instagram was born, Vine had come and gone, Facebook may have interfered with American politics, and professionals are now TikToking. Social media’s growth and seamless assimilation into our lives has brought forth a new era of word-of-mouth marketing, with influencers being a driving force in what people are talking about today. Research has shown that a large percentage of young people favor the opinions of influencers over their own friends, and with this shift in dogma comes a projected $15B in spend in influencer marketing by 2022.  

According to Mediakix, 80% of marketers say influencer marketing works, and certain studies have found that when done right, it can rake in an ROI of $6.50 for every $1 spent.

“It all sounds too good to be true…”

And you may have a point there. Let it be known that influencer marketing isn’t a science. Oftentimes we see influencer campaigns met with skepticism because the cringe-worthy blunders are just so unforgettable- like Mike Bloomberg’s campaign bust, Kim Kardashian’s Diclegis promo that violated FDA standards and the tale of an influencer with over 2 million followers that struggled to sell just a few dozen shirts

But these failures shouldn’t deter marketers from investing in an influencer campaign, and like many marketers will tell you, knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what to do. There are valuable insights we can draw from these failures, what did they do wrong?

They lacked brand alignment, authenticity & opted for impression quantity over quality.

Micro-influencers have the ability to reach an audience far more targeted and tailored to your brand’s values than any instagram celebrity could. These influencers with under 10k followers can reach a specific locale, age demographic, and any combination of lifestyle affinities. Their opinions are trusted because they’re real people with jobs and families- which also means they probably won’t kill off your campaign in a distasteful publicity stunt. Build a network of these micro-influencers, and your brand can rival the reach of any macro-influencer at a tiny fraction of the cost and nearly double the engagement

If you’re investing a portion of your marketing budget on a single post, you’re essentially given one shot at success. Comparable to print, soon enough your instagram post will be buried in new content and forgotten like old news. Not to say that nano and macro influencers can’t make waves in your brand awareness campaign- but what’s the ROI? How much of that spend is really driving conversions? The notion that anyone that follows Kim Kardashian may be a potential customer is unrealistic, and it chalks up a significant portion of your reach as wasted ad spend. Morning sickness drugmaker Diclegis spent upwards of $250k to reach any woman in a single post with Kim Kardashian, when they should have invested in reaching the everywoman, or more specifically… pregnant women. Their poor decision in choosing an influencer was not only met with an FDA warning, but their target audience was left to feel ostracized and dubious over the drugmaker’s claims.

Daniel Schotland, CEO at Linqia says, “With 92% of consumers trusting influencer marketing over traditional advertising, brands will adopt the former as an ‘always-on’ strategy and rely more on machine learning, which is increasingly vital in determining which influencers and content will resonate best for a specific audience.”

We couldn’t agree more with this “always-on” approach, and this strategy is one of the key reasons why Glossier became a billion-dollar industry unicorn in just a few years. Glossier identified that their best advocate was their customer, so they provided their network of micro-influencer “Glossier Gals” with a kick-back on each sale attributed to their recommendation. This built trust around the brand, developed an endless cycle of user-generated-content, and created a community centered around the brand with tweets, memes and makeup tutorials going viral.

Influencer marketing can seem like uncharted territory for many, but as long as you stay true to your brand, there isn’t much reason to fear. When creating an influencer campaign, just ask yourself these three questions:

Does this person align with my brand? 

Is this authentic to my customer?

Does this serve quality over quantity?

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