The world is speeding up, and attention spans are shrinking.
Ads become shorter, and dense pieces of information are being shoe-horned into 5 or 10-second slots.
In times like that, it becomes increasingly difficult for companies to market their product or service to people in a way that doesn’t make them roll their eyes and scroll past.
Enter: the influencer.
More importantly: influencer marketing.
Influencer Marketing Pros And Cons.
The genius of influencer marketing is the fact that it allows companies to make use of somebody who has spent hours creating content that their followers enjoy watching.
It would make sense, then, that an influencer that focuses on health and wellness would advertise a product that promotes health and wellness.
What it allows the company to do is to bypass any sort of mental adblock by channeling themselves as the metaphorical friend of your favourite e-celeb.
Let’s look at some more pros of influencer marketing.
Pros Of Influencer Marketing
- It Helps You Reach A Relevant Audience
Influencers are a great way to reach a wider audience of people who might be interested in your product or service, as well as people who may not have known about you to start with.
- It Builds Credibility And Trust
Trust and credibility aren’t built overnight, and to have an influencer showcase your offering is a great way to show people that their favourite celeb endorses what you have, so why shouldn’t they?
- It Saves Time And Money
Influencers know how to create their own attention-grabbing content.
That means less time having to come up with good ideas, and letting the influencer do the work.
Additionally, influencer contracts (generally) tend to be less expensive than the cost of an ad on YouTube, and the ROI is significantly higher.
Cons Of Influencer Marketing
With all of these positives, it seems like a simple decision to go with a marketer.
But it’s not without its drawbacks.
Let’s take a look at one particular case.
The Olivia Jade Incident
In March of 2019, Olivia Jade was caught in quite the scandal when it was discovered that she had gotten into the University of Southern California (USC) because her mother had been bribing university staff.
Why is it important? At the time, Olivia was a social media influencer with 3.3 million followers on YouTube and Instagram collectively.
She was dropped by some major brands following the scandal, including Sephora and TRESemmé.
This did not reflect well on these companies, and shows how easy it is to go from famous to infamous in a moment.
This emphasises one of the biggest cons of influencer marketing, namely:
- If It’s Bad, It’s Really Bad
Your weight is placed on one person specifically, who becomes an ambassador for your brand.
That means that any mistake they make is one that reflects on you tenfold.
But there are some other cons to consider.
- It Can Be Difficult To Measure Results
Finding the right influencer takes a lot of time, as does launching the campaign.
But the influencer is under no obligation to guarantee sales for you.
Their job is to get your brand in front of as many eyes as possible.
No more, no less.
- The Wrong Influencer Can Be Costly
When it comes to advertising, quantity will always trump quality.
Spending more money on an influencer that’s more relevant to your brand is a better idea than two influencers who cost less but have no relation to your brand whatsoever.
For lack of a better term, it can make you seem like a drone that’s just trying everything and anything to make money.
Is Influencer Marketing Worth It?
While it has pros and cons, the ultimate decision comes down to you and your company.
Recently, the concept of virtual influencers has been introduced with some success.
These virtual celebrities have fully fleshed out backstories, feelings and personalities, all of which are reflected in their posts.
While this may be an alternative, there’s one crucial point which could prove detrimental in the long term: the imperfection (or lack thereof).
The problem with virtual influencers is their biggest selling point: they’re virtual, so they don’t trip and fall the same way real people do.
In fact, any flaws which do come into view feel forced and unnatural.
They’re a sure-fire way to avoid scandal, but they’re not going to bridge the gap the same way a flesh-and-blood influencer would.
There’s a lot to be said about influencers, especially in an age where people don’t like doing things they feel forced to do.
But it’s pretty important to keep in mind that making mistakes is one of the biggest aspects of being human.
There’s only so much research that can go into deciding whether or not somebody would represent a brand in a positive or negative light. There are some things which can’t be predetermined, and certain outcomes which can’t be predicted. How a company reacts is just as important as how the influencer reacts if things go south. Disavowing yourself from somebody is radically different from damning them, but the line between them is thin at best.
One of the most useful assets in product or service promotion is the power of connection.
And influencers provide that in buckets.
But also remember that they’re human, and they make mistakes.
It’s those mistakes that companies need to keep in mind before they use somebody who has the potential to be great, or not so great.