The use of influencers is hardly a new concept. Celebrities have been endorsing products for decades. Today the power of social media imbues these people with specific audiences that brands could be engaging.
Influencers embody on a massive scale powerful marketing principles: they are word of mouth, consumer-to-consumer marketing; they are social conversations; they are organic content that is not invasive to the user experience; and it is trackable – a sea of data that you can wield insight from.
Sometimes your best option
Influencers are doing well (Check it out here!), and they often outperform brands on their own social media. Especially for smaller brands, entrepreneurs, and local businesses – They can invite engagement with your brand through social media in levels much greater than usual – as they often have a much larger audience.
That does not mean, however, that influencers are the solution to any marketing woes.
They are great when you are marketing to a specific community/niche and you want to share a product or service with them. The social media celebrities are regarded by that niche as experts, and carry with them authority and a genuine neutral interest.
However, ineffective use of influencers – like say the use of a gaming personality to promote candles; or the use of an internet comedian to promote retirement plans – offer either mixed returns or a negative impression.
Not all rewards
There are also risks associated with the use of influencers: They are not necessarily invested in your brand, they have unique audiences and approaches that you may not fully understand, influencer relationships can sour, and Customers may not like them.
Most importantly, the moment you hand marketing to an influencer, you may lose part of the message.
Too much control would compromise the value of the influencer, and more importantly, influencers must disclose the relationship they have with brands by order of the FTC.
If you are going to use this marketing approach, and you should, you should do so smartly. Here are four quick things to consider:
- What social media platform is your Influencer effective on?
- Has this influencer been vetted?
- Can this influencer authentically engage with your brand?
- Can you maintain branding control?
Okay for now
While influencers are great and as long as social media reigns, a necessary consideration for marketing, they are not the solution to everything.
Remember that today’s influencers won’t be relevant to everyone. Keep it focused.