Social Media Influencers: What’s not to like?
We’re firm believers in using social media as a marketing tactic – and we’ve seen how many well-known brands have done so with great success. (See blog posts: Social media – a game changer for your business and Super Bowl ads – are they still relevant and who watches them anyway?). Add to that the collaborations with influencers on platforms like YouTube and Instagram and these brands are getting major exposure – particularly with the ever-elusive millennials. Now in 2019, a few years since influencers have hit the social media marketing scene, is that really still the case? Some marketing experts – and brands who have worked with influencers themselves - are saying, “not necessarily”.
Why have some people stopped liking influencers?
Aside from Instagram recently hiding likes, making it difficult for an influencer to measure their own success, it’s also been said that some have bought likes and followers (not always actual users) for their posts and ads, making their credibility questionable – leading to less millennials following influencers, in general. For the brands using influencers, this can be quite frustrating, and only adds to the potential un-profitability of a brand’s social media marketing campaign. That said, it’s pretty much impossible for some companies to measure the ROI on an influencer campaign; 76% of marketers say they don’t actually know how to gauge this so what good is it to them if they can’t use results to work on and improve their campaign? [i]
Some influencers have gone micro, which means they’re tailoring their content to a more specific audience with a niche interest. This often leads to a smaller following; however, they can better speak to a specific target market, which some brands may appreciate. But for those brands and marketing companies that have decided to do away with influencer marketing altogether, social media marketing may still be a viable option.
What are the alternatives to influencer marketing? (without letting go of the social media aspect, of course)
So, for those brands that are done with handing out freebies to influencers, who may or may not actually believe in the product, there are still several social media marketing alternatives. Some include i:
- Creating engaging video content; YouTube is not dead and still one of the most popular channels to reach a very wide audience – probably more that TV! (On that note, check out our two-part blog series on video marketing)
- Build a community: show your brand is real by replying to comments (good and bad) so your followers (and potential product users, if that’s the case) see your authenticity and appreciate it. Actually, employees are the best ambassadors for a brand; they believe in it enough to work for it and, can share content, helping to build an engaged following and/or community.
- Offer users an experience that they can live themselves, rather than vicariously through an influencer; this is especially interesting at events, shows, festivals etc. where people can physically come in and test your product and experience what your brand does, firsthand. Ideally, they share their experience online as well.
- Continue to use email marketing and other communication tools to directly reach your target audience.
Influencers aren’t going anywhere, and probably won’t for a while. But a brand is only as strong as its marketing strategy, which should include a few different tactics offering more coverage and measurable results that can be translated into a new or revised strategy, if need be.
[i] Patel, Neil, Is Influencer Marketing Dead? A Hard Look at The Newest Data (and What You Can Do Instead) https://neilpatel.com/blog/is-influencer-marketing-dead/