The pros and cons of influencer marketing for a business
In the summer of 2019, an ice cream van owner in Los Angeles put up a sign saying “influencers pay double.” The sentiment came from frustration over social media influencers expecting freebies in exchange for online promotion. Since then, similar signs have appeared throughout the UK as well, and the anti-influencer backlash has increased. Some feel that influencers are out to take advantage of independent businesses, while the social media stars feel they can truly help businesses blossom with the right partnership. So here are the pros and cons in using influencer marketing to expand a business.
The downsides to working with social influencers
In the UK, as well as the US, the general rule is that people offer “exposure” for businesses if they can get a free sample of a product or a free meal. The value of the partnership depends on the cost of the free service and the social reach of the influencer. A successful YouTube channel with millions of viewers can create sponsored content with free samples and promote the brand across the world. But there are too many examples of people with fewer than 1,000 followers asking for free meals for a party of four.
Working with an influencer to create an online marketing strategy is a risk until brands can build a relationship with someone they trust. There is the chance that they will give something away to an inexperienced influencer and get nothing back in return. It is also difficult to measure the success of the venture. If they see more business the next week, can they be sure it was because of that Instagram post or YouTube video? Then there is the issue of cost. How much are businesses losing in giving away a meal or service to this person?
The right social influencers to make a difference
It does all depend on the influencer and how good they are at creating content and encouraging their followers. Those who post regularly, create a good relationship with brands and have a strong following that trusts their endorsements can help businesses with product launches. This is especially true for companies targeting Gen Z consumers within the beauty and fashion industries. A little name-drop in an online makeup tutorial goes a long way.
Data from 2021 shows that social influencers are more influential than you might expect. A recent article from the Digital Marketing Institute shows that 40% of people surveyed had purchased something after seeing it used or promoted on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or Facebook. Additionally, experts in the field Neon Ambition stated: “Potential clients are likely to compare different products and services. Make your mark right away by following up on leads as soon as they come in.” Other reports also indicate that 70% of teenagers trust influencers more than celebrities when it comes to recommendations. This all comes down to the relatability of peers over the inaccessibility of celebrities.
Is social influencer marketing worthwhile?
The best thing that businesses can do is research influencers before committing to an agreement. Do they have experience with specific types of products and services and a strong following that matches the target market? If so, the risk of giving out product samples for online promotion can pay off. The right post from the right person can persuade many potential consumers. Over time, this can develop into a strong professional relationship.
The editorial unit