Would you feel comfortable hiring an influencer for marketing purposes? A lot of startups, but also many traditional companies, swear by it. Others strictly stick to the classic marketing measures. What is it about influencer marketing that drives opinions so far apart? I have taken some of the most popular counter-arguments and contrasted them with my own view.
Argument 1: Authenticity
Influencers only promote products for the money and don’t care about their followers. To a certain extent, I agree. However, every form of paid advertising does the same thing. The difference is that influencers stand behind their advertising message with their own face and name, which should make them more careful in choosing what products they advocate for.
As studies show, the media channel we trust most in is Word-of-Mouth. No medium can compete with a personal recommendation, especially if you are familiar with this person—and yes, this includes influencers, even though most of their followers don’t know them personally. Good influencers are in close and friendly contact with their community, and through that, they achieve the feeling of belonging to a group for people in that community. While you could imply influencers fake closeness to their communities to make money, I think that many underestimate the group dynamic of a community that follows the same interest and, of course, the feeling of being the center of such a community. Because even if no one likes to admit it, no one becomes an influencer without liking being the center of attention.
Argument 2: Giving up control
When I hire an influencer, I have no control over the content spread about my product. First of all, it is absolutely possible to remain in control by creating a detailed brief for the influencer beforehand. However, I would highly recommend giving up some of the control.
When you book an influencer, you are not only booking an advertising channel, but also a whole personality that comes with it. They produce authentic content by often using the same way of speaking, imagery, et cetera. They are probably closer to the target group than you are. Furthermore, they have expertise or engage themselves in a certain topic, through which they achieve an opinion leadership in that area. That expertise can be in factual topics as well as in creative topics like dancing, makeup, and so on. Therefore, it is recommended to take advantage of their experience and involve the influencer in the creative process from day one.
Argument 3: Social media equals bad
As soon as I hire an influencer, I make myself dependent on the social media platform. As mentioned before, booking an influencer is more than just buying an ad space on a social media channel. Influencers are the rock stars of the digital age. Depending on their success and their target audience, they appear in TV, radio, newspapers, you name it. Some might even have a format of their own or have established a brand. Use this for content marketing in any media channel. By offering content instead of pushing ads in the audience’s face you will bypass ad fatigue, which occurs after people see a particular ad too often. Instead, you can place your product directly in the channel they choose to see.
However, what should not be forgotten is that social media is the most sought-after medium among the younger target group. It also facilitates a direct dialogue with them. Dialogue marketing has long been used as a very effective method, as you can get direct feedback from the target group or even use crowdsourcing for creating new content.
In the end, it is important to note that influencer marketing is nothing new in principle. Our buying decisions have always been influenced by friends, celebrities, fictional characters, and so on. Booking influencers on social media, on the other hand, is really new and combines a whole lot of very effective marketing methods among saving you a lot of work steps in the operative execution. However, it is important to remember that every influencer is also a human being who makes mistakes and can get into crises. Therefore, you should not see them only as a marketing tool, but you should always be in close contact with them and solve problems together. This way you not only ensure that your product doesn’t go down the drain together with the influencer, but also preserve your own authenticity.