We have always relied more on word-of-mouth to base our purchase decision and the strategy behind Influencer marketing is quite similar. It is more about creating content and presenting it to the target audience in a manner such that the opinions and feedback curated looks genuine and trustworthy. According to Influencer Marketing Hub 2017 study, Influencer marketing accounts to be the fastest way of acquiring customers online leaving other methods which involve organic search, email marketing, paid search, etc. far behind. Influencer marketing activity has remarkably grown. To back it, another statistics from Klear suggest that the Instagram influencer marketing saw a rise of over 39% in 2018 and the investments are on the rise as well.
While the brand marketers should realize that influential voices hold a lot of power they should not remain oblivious to the risk associated while working with paid online influencers. There is a dark side to this method of marketing, and many influencers use sketchy practices to raise their follower count and deceive. According to an article in 2018 on the New York Times, a number of people inclusive of big-name celebrities are engaged in questionable conduct such as purchasing followers and using bots to automate engagement. Higher the follower count, higher are the chances of people blindly following them or hiring them. Greater are the chances of them getting paid big and much greater are the odds that the connections are built using fraudulent ways.
So what are the red flags you should be cautious about? Our focus here is to highlight the basic thumb rule you should follow before teaming up with the influencers for your brand`s promotion.
It calls for a great deal of research to identify whether your selected influencers have a genuinely engaged audience or if it`s automated bots. Bring out your social media binoculars and start investigating because all that glitters is not Gold. With a massive follower count does the selected influencer have genuine comments over their post? Are the posts liked by a large and real audience? Whether the comments on the post make sense? If there is no real engagement regardless of the large following, it could mean an influencer scam.
More followers not necessarily mean your influencer is the best out there. Look for one who is bold, has a strong flow of creative and authentic content with a real audience that interacts with every post. Some influencers can have millions of followers out of which a vast majority is fake. So, dig deep and work with one who values their craft and knows what their audience likes despite a not so massive follower count.
There is a phenomenal growth in Influencer marketing and the scams especially if it`s the micro-influencers you are hiring. To ensure your brand doesn`t leap in the wrong direction by involving in in-authentic partnerships, a proper investigation and using reliable platforms is essential. After all, you don`t want to create a shallow mirage that backfires on you in terms of investment as well as reputation.