Influencer marketing has become one of the most popular marketing strategies in recent years. Brands are paying influencers with large followings on social media platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok to promote their products or services to their followers. While influencer marketing has been successful for many brands, it is not without its drawbacks. In this article, we will discuss why using influencers for marketing can be bad and why brands need to be careful when choosing to use influencers as part of their marketing strategy.
One of the biggest criticisms of influencer marketing is that it can often be seen as inauthentic. Influencers are paid to promote products, and their followers know this. As a result, their followers may see their posts as disingenuous or even fake. This can damage the credibility of both the influencer and the brand they are promoting, making it difficult for either to establish a real connection with their followers. Brands need to be aware that inauthenticity can quickly erode the trust and loyalty of their customers, and that influencer marketing is not the solution to building a strong, authentic brand.
Lack of control over the message
Another issue with influencer marketing is the lack of control that brands have over the message that is being delivered. When brands hire influencers, they are relying on them to promote their products in a way that is consistent with their brand values and messaging. However, influencers are free to add their own spin to the message, which can sometimes be at odds with the brand's intended message. Brands need to be aware of this risk and carefully consider the type of influencer they choose to work with, as well as the content they want them to promote.
Insufficient target audience
Influencer marketing is often used to reach a specific target audience. However, just because an influencer has a large following, it does not mean that all of their followers are part of the target audience that the brand wants to reach. In some cases, the influencer's followers may be completely different from the target audience that the brand wants to reach. Brands need to be careful when choosing influencers to work with, and make sure that they have a following that aligns with the brand's target audience.
Fake followers and engagement
One of the biggest challenges with influencer marketing is the prevalence of fake followers and engagement. Many influencers have bought followers or used bots to artificially inflate their numbers, making it difficult for brands to determine if they are reaching real people. Brands need to be aware of this issue and perform due diligence when choosing influencers to work with. This can include using tools to check the authenticity of an influencer's followers, and looking for other indicators of fake followers, such as high engagement rates and low interaction with followers.
Expensive and difficult to measure
Influencer marketing can be expensive, and it can be difficult to measure the return on investment. Brands need to carefully consider the cost of hiring influencers and how much they are willing to spend. In addition, it can be difficult to measure the impact that influencer marketing has on sales, as it is often just one aspect of a larger marketing campaign. Brands need to be aware of this and choose their influencer marketing strategies carefully, making sure that they are spending their marketing budgets in the most effective way possible.
Legal and ethical issues
There are also legal and ethical issues that brands need to be aware of when using influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the US, which requires influencers to disclose when they have received compensation for promoting a product or service.
Potential for Scandal
Finally, Influencer marketing can also be risky due to the potential for scandal. Influencers, like anyone else, can make mistakes or engage in behavior that is harmful to their reputation and the brand they are representing. For example, if an influencer posts a controversial tweet or is caught in a scandal, it can reflect poorly on the brand they are promoting. Companies must carefully vet potential influencer partners and monitor their online activity to minimize the risk of scandal.
What Companies Can Do to Mitigate the Risks of Influencer Marketing
Despite these challenges, influencer marketing can still be a valuable tool for companies if done correctly. To minimize the risks involved, companies can take the following steps:
Choose the right influencer.
Companies must carefully choose the right influencer for their brand. They should look for someone who is relevant to their target audience and whose values align with those of the brand.
Set clear expectations
Companies must clearly communicate their expectations to the influencer and make sure that the influencer understands what is expected of them. This includes guidelines for content, tone, and brand messaging.
Monitor online activity
Companies must monitor the influencer's online activity to ensure that they are not engaging in behavior that could harm the brand.
Companies must develop a system for measuring the ROI of their influencer marketing efforts to ensure that they are in fact receiving a positive return on investment. This can be done through the use of dedicated links, UTM’s or even affiliate programs for the influencers.
In conclusion, while influencer marketing can be a successful strategy for promoting a brand, it also carries significant risks, including lack of authenticity, irrelevance to the target audience, high cost, difficulty measuring ROI, and potential for scandal. To mitigate these risks, companies must choose the right influencer, set clear expectations, monitor online activity, and measure ROI. Ultimately, influencer marketing can be a valuable tool, but companies must be mindful of the potential risks and take steps to minimize them to ensure a successful campaign.
If you want help selecting the right influencers to partner with your brand, give us a call at 1.877.655.9678