Debunking the 5 Myths of Influencer Marketing

This is a guest post by Pankaj Narang. He’s the Co-Founder of Socialert, a hassle-free way to track Twitter hashtags and keywords.

Whose advice would you prefer more: from a close friend or a brand? Majority would answer, obviously from a friend. Today, the definition of friends has expanded to include influencers.

Further, the power of influencer marketing is proven by the following two stats:

  • 49 percent people rely on recommendations from an influencer while making a purchase decision
  • On an average, businesses generate $6.50 per every $1 spent on influencer marketing.

On the flip side, influencer marketing is seldom an easy feat for most brands. You have to find the right influencer, approach your audience with content and a partnership that feels authentic and measuring the ROI.

There are a lot of misconceptions about influencer marketing. This handy cheat-sheet busts the 5 myths about influencer marketing to keep you ahead of competition.

1. Traditional Marketing is More Effective for Acquiring Customers

The plain fact is, “traditional user acquisition costs are very high”. There is a drastic shift for the past few years in how digital marketing works. Between December 2014 and January 2016, the cost to acquire a loyal customer rose 101 percent.

Simultaneously, people have gone blind to digital advertising. 92 percent of banner ads aren’t even noticed and an overwhelming 64 percent say ads are intrusive.

In an age where consumers no longer trust traditional media or even content directly made by the brands themselves, numbers portray a telling story of where 49 percent of people are swayed on their buying decisions by an influencer.

2. Public is Skeptic to Trust Influencers

Research shows that a little over 9 out of 10 people trust influencer’s more than they do other sources of advertisement. In fact if the target demographic of your brand is among the under 18 crowd, YouTube creators and influencers become the primary way to reach your target audience.

An industry that has managed to use this aspect of influencer marketing into sizable returns is the beauty industry who have witnessed around 86 percent of their content being created by influencers on YouTube.

3. An Effective Influencer Marketing requires Celebrities

One of the most common myth about Influencer marketing is that celebrity endorsements are the only way to harness the power of an influencer and their audience. But while it might make sense for a brand like Nike to have their shoes on the feet of all the star athletes, for smaller companies, focusing on micro niche influencers has led to much better ROI.

In fact while it might make more sense to pay more and rope in a celebrity with over 5 million followers, eyeballs doesn’t necessarily reflect into conversions. Statistics show that the loyalty and engagement of micro influencers is almost double at 8 percent compared to that of 4 percent for people with over a million followers.

Hawaii’s Department of Tourism collaborated with Instagram travel bloggers and Hawaiian natives to share content promoting events and destinations – so that visitors would be interested in travelling to check them out. They connected with photographer Rick Poon to showcase his visit to Hawaii and attract his followers to visit. The result being, 65 percent of people who saw the posts wanted to visit Hawaii.

Image courtesy of gohawaii

4. Only B2C Brands have Found Success with Influencer Marketing

The myth that influencer marketing is bundled as a part of the social media push often dissuades B2B brands from pursuing influencer marketing. While influencers for B2C companies are mostly famous or internet famous, in the corporate world influencers are highly respected individuals who with their experience and knowledge are subject experts and thought leaders.

Top Rank Online Marketing and Content Marketing Institute collaborated with 40 influencers from major brands such as Facebook, Kapost, LinkedIn and many more for their Content Marketing Conference.

Each influencer was asked about what advice and insights they would give to marketers interested in content marketing. These insights were compiled in the form of 4 e-books. Some influencers shared long-form interviews. The results of this campaign were:

  • 200,000 total views for the e-book
  • 1,000 leads
  • 200+ event referrals
  • 4,000+ pdf downloads

There are many such case studies which prove the effectiveness of running an influencer marketing campaign for B2B brands.

5. Measuring the ROI of Influencer Marketing is Impossible

ROI forms the crux of every advertising campaign. However, 78 percent of marketers according to one survey said determining the ROI of influencer marketing was going to be their top challenge for 2017.

Use special tracking links to measure the ROI of influencer marketing. Your goal will help you decide the right metrics to measure. They could be – brand awareness, increase click-through rates and conversions or track social shares and engagement. Give the influencers special tracking links so that when they share content, you can see the number of clicks the influencer gets on that content.

Tools such as Socialert show the benefit the campaign received by involving the influencer. The value of the influencer is tracked in the form of reach and impressions received.

While tracking data, don’t track everything. Collect too much information and you’ll get overwhelmed and end up not knowing what any of it means. Focus on the key metrics to gauge the success and to know where you need to improvise.

Which is the biggest influencer marketing myth according to you? I would love to hear in the comments below.

About Pankaj Narang
A social media marketing enthusiast, Pankaj is determined to shape his ideas into perfect products. CoFounder of Socialert, he believes in coming up with engaging tools to redefine the face of digital marketing. Know more about him at his blog