Influencer marketing is not about throwing money at someone and expecting a miracle to happen overnight. To maximise the strategy’s effectiveness, organisations need to get smart – and fast. With influencer marketing set to take off in 2016, organisations need to align their expectations with reality. This involves debunking the hidden myths of influencer marketing, and ensuring you know exactly what to look for in the ideal influencer.
Myth 1: A-List Celebrities make the best influencers
This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, some celebrities have diminished their social influence by spamming their audiences with sponsored content, therefore losing their trust. Anyone can be an influencer. Brand advocates are everywhere. In fact, what makes influencers such as bloggers and vloggers so influential is their perceived similarity to their everyday audiences. On one hand, they have the ability to humanise brand messages, while on the other, they are able to communicate with their audience in a casual manner about everyday topics.
Myth 2: The best influencers are those with a heap of followers
Just because someone has a huge social media following does not necessarily make him or her the best influencer for your brand. For an influencer to be effective, they need to respect your work and content, be passionate about your cause and take sincere interest in the issue. These types of influencers are more likely to have an active and engaged audience willing to spread your message, as it aligns with the influencer’s general beat. For example, it would be wrong to engage a food blogger to write a review on a new consumer technology gadget. The influencer has a steady follower base for a reason – their followers are interested in knowing more about their area of expertise not something that blogger is not known for.
Myth 3: The best influencers are those with the widest reach
While reach is important, it shouldn’t be the only factor you take into consideration when selecting an influencer. Category relevance and resonance to the audience are also to be considered. Engagement plays an even more important role when it comes to amplifying your content and distributing it to networks. Someone with an engaged following of 1,000 will do more to spread your message than someone with 10,000 unengaged social media followers.
Myth 4: The influencer you engage with solely determines whether your content is shared or not
The number of times a piece of content is shared depends more on its quality and the platform on which it is published, rather than the influencer posting it. Content performs better on platforms with audiences who are actively reading and sharing. Influencers with a stronger domain distribution are more powerful in driving traffic to content than those who simply share it socially.
Myth 5: Influencers will post anything you want them to
Influencers are not newspaper ad units - they don’t simply sit back and follow your orders. Even if you pay them, influencers are obliged to write what they believe in. Organisations must accept this truth and be ready to give up their inherent sense of control for brand-influencer relationships to flourish.