Aside from people asking, "what is influencer marketing?" there are many unanswered questions that linger across the industry. And there's good reason for those questions considering both social media marketing and influencer marketing have been no stranger to criticism since they came into existence.
Despite this, the influencer marketing industry has been on the rise for 10+ years and continues to grow, even during the current pandemic. It's even predicted that influencer marketing investments may hit $15B in 2022. Any industry worth of investment at that level is going to have questions.
If you're seriously considering increasing your investment in influencer marketing for your brand, check out the 5 most frequently asked questions (and answers) we've received over the years. You can read through these items below or watch the on-demand webinar recording which also includes other questions and answers from our Influencer Marketing Q&A we hosted in September 2020.
As an added bonus for your consideration, at the bottom of this post we've linked to numerous resources that can help you plan your influencer marketing strategy.
5 Most Frequently Asked Questions About Influencer Marketing
1. DO "INFLUENCERS" ACTUALLY INFLUENCE ANYONE?
The short answer... YES! People are spending a lot of time consuming influencer content; data from 2019 shows that influencer content makes up 19% of all media consumption (think radio, TV, print, social media, etc.). It's safe to assume that this number has only increased in 2020. Other research has unveiled that the general consumer feels a deeper connection with YouTube personalities over celebrities, especially when you're looking at a teenage audience. So next time you're considering dishing out the big bucks for that celebrity sponsorship, you may want to reconsider.
We also know that influencer content supports the purchase cycle of the customer journey. As you can see from the graphic below, 74% of people are using social media to make a purchase decision. And it's not just social content, blogs are still a major part of the customer journey with 35% of people looking at blogs for new content and 47% consulting blogs for new ideas.
2. DOES AN INFLUENCER HAVE TO USE A DISCLOSURE SUCH AS #AD?
Again, yes. In the U.S., the FTC states that if you have any type of relationship with the brand a disclosure is required and must be clear and conspicuous. Many marketers assume a disclosure is only required if you're paying the influencers, but that's not the case. Anything from free product, to a personal relationship, to an employee requires a disclosure. When in doubt, just disclose.
There's also a misconception that these disclosures decrease the performance of content. Research from Harvard Business Review disproves this theory showing that intent to purchase does not change with disclosure. In some cases, it may even improve the performance of the asset because of the trust the influencer has with their audience.
3. ISN'T BIGGER BETTER? WHY WOULDN'T I USE THE BIGGEST INFLUENCERS I CAN AFFORD?
Bigger = Better! Right?
Wrong. There are 5 different types of social media influencers (6 if you include the average Janes and Joes with smaller audiences), and when you dive into the backgrounds of each one and what a partnership looks like there are multiple variables that change from category to category. When it comes to considering what type of influencer you want to partner with, we recommend that brands look for those individuals who carry an even balance of having a large reach while still being credible as a representative of your brand.
Consider which type of influencer you want to partner with by referencing the chart below. As follower count increases, costs increase and quality of the content should increase (however some celebrity content can be very low quality) but the authenticity of the influencer decreases. Micro-influencers and Macro-influencers fall into what we call "The Power Middle" because they have that even balance of reach and authenticity.
Additionally, it's important to understand what you're paying for when you pay an influencer. You're not just paying for the influencers reach, you're also paying for the production of the content, the placement on their social channels, and their persona (and persona can increase heavily when it comes to celebrity work). Take these items into consideration when you're putting together an offer for partnership.
4. CAN I USE INFLUENCERS FOR B2B MARKETING?
Absolutely. However, B2B influencer comes with it's own unique set of challenges. Many B2B influencers are influencers by trade, but are influential in their respective fields because of the jobs that they hold. Here are a few types of B2B influencer segments and considerations for each:
- Less likely to have “professional-focused” accounts
- Can’t take the work (employer or industry related)
- May have professional-focused accounts
- Don’t have the time
- Likely can’t take the work (employer or industry related)
- Natural entrepreneurs
- Time = Money
- Still might not take the work (industry related)
Additionally, there are certain industries / influencer types that are just off limits. For example when it comes to industry ethics (explicit or implied) an influencer may need to keep their impartiality in tact, or an influencer may lack authenticity / trust due to perceived personal benefit or lack of believability.
- Ex. Dr. (a real one, not Dr. Oz) promoting medicine
- Ex. A financial planner promoting investments
- Ex. A beauty mogul promoting another brand’s product
Finally, one of the most important considerations for B2B influencer marketing is that you brand should prepare a large budget as B2B influencers cost much more than the average B2C influencer.
5. HOW DO I PROTECT MY BRAND WHEN WORKING WITH INFLUENCERS?
ADDITIONAL INFLUENCER MARKETING RESOURCES
Still looking for answers? Dive into some of our resources outline below. if you still have questions, don't hesitate to contact us using the form at the bottom of this page.
- A Comprehensive Guide to Setting Your Influencer Marketing Strategy
- Measuring ROI: 25 Ways to Measure Influencer Marketing ROI
- The Ultimate Checklist for Vetting Influencer Partners
- How to Determine Influencer Rates
- The Ultimate Guide to Influencer Marketing for Alcohol Brands
- Elements of a Good Influencer Contract
- How to Amplify Influencer Content with Paid Media
- 5 Influencer Marketing Best Practices to Follow Amid COVID-19
- Evaluating Influencer Performance: 5 Things to Consider
- What's a Good Influencer CPM?
- How Long Should Your Influencer Marketing Campaign Run?
- 33 Questions to Ask Your Influencer Marketing Agency Before Signing a Contract
- Is It Easy to Measure Influencer Marketing for eCommerce?
- 10 Most Common Mistakes in an Influencer Marketing Campaign
- FTC Compliance Cheat Sheet for Influencer Marketing