Rethinking Influencer Marketing
If you think that there are social media influencer everywhere, that because they really are. It’s not just you who feel that perhaps the influencer sector is a tad but too crowded.
According to the marketing analyst Klear, influencer marketing grew by nearly 40 percent in 2018 compared to 2017. That’s just within a span of a year. As the number of influencers rise, it’s worthwhile to ask whether they continue to wield any influence at all.
The Post-Fyre Festival Influencer Marketing World
Influencer marketing has been on the news lately, and not because of good reasons. Not so long ago, the Fyre festival disaster highlighted how social media influencers can boost even the most basic of scams.
If your memory is hazy, the Fyre festival was a massively marketed musical event in Bahamas. There were a number of celebrities involved with the marketing campaign, including the co-organizer, the rapper Ja Rule. (The lead organizer is now in jail.) People spent hundreds of dollars for tickets to the festival. But they turned up, the festival was, well, not one.
Instead of the cosy accommodation they were promised, the site had set up disaster zone tents. The high-end food was just two slices of white bread. Even that arrived too late. The festival goers were without water. Rather than a celebration of music, the site resembled a refugee camp in a warzone.
None of it ended well, of course. The festival goers eventually sued the organizers (a lawsuit that has inspired two TV specials). One of the themes that pops up during the hearings is how the organizers of the festival used social media influencers to market nothing as something, eventually duping the public.
All in all, the scandal following the Fyre festival did not reflect well on social media influencers. Some influencers who promoted the event—like Kendall Jenner who was paid a quarter million dollars to promote the event in a single social media post—later apologized.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Consumers, and even some organizations, are no longer too impressed with influencers.
Here Comes the Regulations
Aside from lawsuits spurned by major scams like the Fyre festival, so-called influencers have come under fire by the regulators as well. It has to do with how social media celebrities sneak in advertisements as genuine posts. An influencer may claim to “love” and use a product like a soap. But the consumer is unaware that the influencer was actually paid to love the soap.
Some of the things influencers can fall under deceptive marketing practises, at least according to the authorities In the UK. The British regulators recently investigated how celebrities get paid to endorse products on their social media feeds without disclosing the posts as advertisements.
As regulators increase pressure on advertisers to be more transparent, social media influencers would eventually get caught up the back and forth. So, it all boils down to whether social media influencers are as useful as they once were?
Should Digital Marketers Ditch Influencers?
An opinion piece on the British Financial Times published just last year declared that “social media influencers are so last season.” The article cited a number of prominent influencers whose businesses were folding. Around the same time, major brands like Glamour and Macy’s announced they were replacing celebrities and supermodels with “real women” instead.
Combined with declining respect from the general public, saturation, and regulatory scrutiny, are influencers finally a dying brand? Not so fast, says experts at www.shoutagency.com.au. Getting the best out of influencer marketing really depends on choosing the right influencer for the brand.
Businesses and marketers must carefully research an influencer before purchasing their services, the experts warn. This means doing a background check to make sure the influencer has not publicly shared controversial opinions (read: Logan Paul). Also, the follower data the influencer posts must be authentic.
Use influencers who appeal to nice audiences. Those who want to make the most money by doing everything are the ones that quickly lost influence. Influencers in niche markets are well followed, and even admired. The Kardashians are good, though infamous, example here. Despite the twists and turns of the influencer industry, the Kardashians continue to sell makeup using their social media profiles.
In other words, influencer marketing is not dead. It’s just getting overcrowded. Brands and digital marketers can still benefit form influencer marketing by finding the right influencers. Don’t use influencers that do bit of this and that. Their profiles must have a strong focus on one thing, preferably relating to your target audience.