How smart influencing can pay dividends

|| October 26, 2019

By Jordan McDonald

55 comms social media coordinator

Are influencers losing their influence?

Some recent articles have questioned the influencer business on social media as businesses have fewer ways to measure success and no way to verify how many people see content.

Without physically having access to the influencers’ account analytics, it is difficult (sometimes impossible) to obtain any definitive measurement of the success of an influencer sponsored (ad) post.

Sure, on your end you can provide all the proper tracking URLs and setup Google Analytics to collect traffic data while your influencer campaign is active, but you’re never seeing the full picture.

It’s because of this emerging grey area that a whiff of deceit now taints the influencer marketplace. Influencers have been inflating their followers by purchasing fake followers, and then increasing their price for a post.

On top of this, the relationship between influencer and follower is becoming strained with too many influencers seen to be promoting products that either aren’t relevant to their brand, their audience, or both.

A recent study that looks at influencer marketing found that users felt their newsfeed had become a constant sell and really lacked authenticity. In summary, these recent news articles and aforementioned study largely indicate that influencer marketing has seen its peak.

I agree that there is an authenticity and perceived value issue, but I strongly disagree that influencer marketing has seen its peak.

The articles and reports are focusing on the breakdown and ignoring the countless examples of influencer marketing done well.

Put simply, there needs to be some accountability from both the influencer and the business looking to invest.

Let me explain: typically, influencers have built an audience around some core interests, values and beliefs. These attributes define the influencers’ audience that grows increasingly hungry for content. If, for example, an influencer who promotes fitness and health products suddenly partners with a fast food brand/affiliated brand and posts consistently about a particular product, that contradiction is going to damage the relationship with the audience.

This error in judgement occurs too often with money-hungry influencers, and their followers find that increasingly transparent. But in this scenario, the business looking to advertise also needs to assume some blame.

If you’re a business that looks at the number of followers as your main criteria for investment rather than audience relevance, then you’re doing it wrong. You can bring this entire scenario right back to one simple (yet common) denominator: lack of research – and by extension, lack of understanding.

My belief is that if you’re looking to invest in influencer marketing, then do your research. There are countless examples where companies that have developed the right relationship with their influencer/s and it’s every bit as lucrative for both parties as so many dream it to be.

But if you approach influencer marketing with a lack of understanding toward your influencer, their audience, and your audience, then you’re contributing to the growing distrust in an otherwise powerful market.

We live in a time now where social media platforms are removing quantifiable indicators of post success, so nailing the right influencer for your business is the most important it’s ever been.