a women on her laptop doing influencer marketing

Influencer Marketing: Pros and Cons | Is It Suitable For Your Business?

Be it Youtube, Instagram, snapchat, tiktok or Facebook, these days a lot of brands are leveraging these platforms; and lots of people are getting aware of the term “influencer marketing” so let’s understand what it is exactly and if it is the correct strategy for your

In this article we will go over the following

  1. What is Influencer Marketing
  2. The Ecosystem: Brands & Influencers
  3. Importance of Taking Accountability
  4. How do Influencers earn money
  5. What does the Brand Benefit
  6. Future of Influencer Marketing
  7. Pros of Influencer Marketing
  8. Cons of Influencer Marketing

What is Influencer Marketing

Influencer Marketing, a term we all have been hearing since the last few years, is when people with good reach promote a brand’s products or services on their social media like instagram, facebook and youtube in exchange for either a free product, which is known as a barter collaboration or in exchange of money. Below is the trend, which is upward trending, for Influencer Marketing over the last 5 years. 

The Ecosystem: Brand & Influencers

Ideally influencer marketing is an ecosystem where brands and influencers depend on each other. Brands like to promote their products and influencers like to earn money. However there are chances of conflicts in this ecosystem like some brands do collaborations but do not pay the influencers or a lot of influencers don’t treat brands in the right manner and rather than supporting each other, it just creates a very one sided relationship which makes the ecosystem very difficult to sustain

Importance of Influencers Taking Accountability

A lot of influencers need to take accountability for what they are doing. Brands will make products which are very “massy” in nature and solve “hard hitting problems” like make dark skin whiter or grow your hair overnight. However, influencers should not propagate these products just because they are being paid to promote it. Also, they should clearly state if it is a sponsored product or not as a lot of viewers have blind trust in the influencer and would buy it just because the influencer is suggesting it.

An example of influencers not taking accountability is the fyre festival where several influencers posted on their instagram that people should go and book the tickets for an amazing adventurous music festival but it turned out to be a total sham. What would have happened if they did a little research – if they asked the organisers how they are planning to get the festival up and ready in only 8 weeks whereas usually it might  take a year for other music festivals.

How do influencers earn money using Social Media?

Apart from platform monetization, influencers get paid by the brands for promoting their products. Why do Influncers do this? Why not just promote products they actually believe in for free? This is because it takes a lot of hard work to think of good content ideas and implement them to make a youtube video or instagram post, so why not be paid for their efforts? It is their bread and butter and their motivation. Influencer rates can be decided using their engagement, reach, subscribers, view count, popularity etc.

What does the Brand benefit From Influencer Marketing?

Why do brands collaborate? When any new brand comes into the market, even if they have the most amazing products, no one is going to buy them because there is no trust or credibility going on for them and that’s the role influencers play. They create trust and credibility for the brand. Usually brands would have two goals with this one being sales and another branding. Now depending on how hard hitting the problem is, a brand might expect sales to be driven from the influencer’s deliverables. 

The Future of Influencer Marketing

A lot of brands are seeing diminishing returns from influencer marketing these days. The reason being that they have done extensive influencer marketing and already reaped all the benefits of it and secondly the influencers keep on getting expensive month on month. Apart from this the viewers attitude towards influencer marketing is changing as more and more people are getting educated that the influencers are promoting the product only because they are getting paid.

I think the only way ahead is to be transparent with users so they know what is exactly going on. If influencers are collaborating with a brand or sharing any affiliate links then they should clearly state it. Only by being honest with their audience/ viewers can this ecosystem survive. 

After a certain stage of influencer marketing, a brand might start seeing that their direct sales are diminishing and the ROI is less than 1, in this case just treat it as a branding activity as it would still build credibility for the brand and you would see an impact of this in a few months on your sales

Pros of Influencer Marketing

Brand Building

Influencer marketing is a great way to build your brand. It creates top of mind awareness in the viewers’ minds which would ultimately lead to the user opting for the brand’s product when they will face a problem which the brand helps solve. It will also increase brand searches if the campaign is of a higher frequency over a duration of a few weeks

Credibility and Trust

This might seem too cheesy but it is the most important thing for upcoming brands. Why would anyone use an upcoming brand which they have never heard of instead of buying from a well established brand? As new brands are not known, they do not have any credibility or trust and hence influencer marketing plays the most important role here. When influencers try out the brand and tell their audience how the brand helped them solve a problem, it builds credibility and trust for the brand. This is why influencer marketing becomes vital for any upcoming brand

Drives Quality Traffic

Influencer marketing drives quality traffic as users are partially made aware and educated on the product. This is why, apart from direct sales, a brand’s remarketing funnels on facebook and google will also start performing better.

Sales Channel

Influencer marketing is a great sales channel and can impact direct sales with the right outreach. In fact, for small brands doing Influencer marketing, sales becomes an important goal for them to sustain and grow,

Cons of Influencer Marketing

Declining ROI

Although Influencer marketing is essential for new brands, if they keep on continuing with the same influencer marketing strategy, then they will start seeing a severe drop in their ROI. This is because of two reasons, one being that the same influencers start charging more, and another being that people face banner blindness, ie, they ignore any ads, integrations in the influencers content.

Human Error

Human errors are always out of control of any business. These problems can be from the wrong tracking link given to influencers badmouthing the brand to its audience because of a delayed payment which can be very costly for any new brand.

Time Consuming

Influencer Marketing, unlike google and facebook marketing is a time consuming process. At first you need to find influencers which appeal to your target audience. After which a contact needs to be established. New brands need to be very smart with their pitch to successfully connect with the influencer, From here on commercials, concept, etc needs to be closed and the influencer needs to be given time to publish their deliverables.

Difficult to measure results

For brands who do only influencer marketing, it is easy to pinpoint what results is influencer marketing driving, however with other platforms like google ads, facebook ads, programmatic ads, it can become a little difficult to measure the impact of influencer marketing. Also platform level restrictions like instagram do not permit clickable links in the posts, making it very difficult to track.

Brand BuildingDeclining ROI
Credibility & TrustHuman Error
Drive quality trafficIncreasing costs
Sales ChannelDifficult to Measure results

In conclusion, influencer marketing might be the right fit for your brand if it is digital and upcoming, else there are other marketing tactics that you can explore as well like facebook, google marketing, guerilla marketing and a lot more

4 thoughts on “Influencer Marketing: Pros and Cons | Is It Suitable For Your Business?

  1. Bara

    Absolutely appreciate how detailed and precise this article is. All the above mentioned factors gave me clarity with regards to employing the means of influencer marketing for my business startup or not. Thank you.

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