Myth Buster: 5 common misconceptions about Influencer Marketing

18.02.2021 Trends & Strategy

Influencer marketing has grown exponentially over the past few years. With consumers spending even more time on social media due to the pandemic, it has never been more imperative for brands to incorporate influencer marketing into the marketing mix if they are to survive. However, there are still a lot of misconceptions and myths out there about what influencer marketing is, and how to make it work for your brand.

We’ve busted 5 of the most common myths about influencer marketing to help brands better understand what they are investing in and what to expect:

1. Influencer marketing is only relevant for Millennial and Gen Z audiences.

Audience demographics greatly vary based on the social platform in question. For instance, 35% of Pinterest users are 30 to 49, and 24% of Facebook’s users are over the age of 55. The largest demographic using Twitter is 35-49. More broadly, anyone can recommend a product or service to their peers, regardless of their age.

Even so-called Gen Z platforms such as TikTok are not one-dimensional. TikTok hosts an enormous spectrum of creativity that encompasses a range of niche topics and communities.  Many “older” adults have gained viral followings in recent months by merely being authentic with their audience.

2. Measurement of an influencer campaign’s ROI is not possible.

We can always measure campaign performance and predict sales impact. Depending on the type of campaign, social channel and influencer(s) involved, there are different tools available to measure short-term sales and long-term brand equity impact. When you identify the right data, you can measure a campaign's sales impact and return on investment (ROI). 

Some of the key metrics used to measure ROI are referral traffic, conversions, engagement rates, and click-through rates. At Pulse, we have an “always on” approach: we monitor the data on all creator activations during the campaign period to ensure the best outcome for your campaign.

3. Influencer marketing might make my brand look inaccessible.

Influencers are often thought of in out-of-date industry stereotypes (i.e., young blonde fashionista). However, they come in all shapes and forms, across all sorts of platforms. Many of today’s digital creators focus their content on the specialised, niche topics they know their followers are interested in. Food, finance, DIY, tech, parenting, fashion, beauty, lifestyle and the much-missed but currently redundant travel, are all examples of popular categories.

Authenticity and transparency became critical in 2020 as brands struggled to find meaningful ways of staying relevant without appearing to capitalise on a crisis. As the pandemic forced everyone inside, many of today’s digital creators focus their content on the specialised topics they know their followers are interested in. Audiences have responded very positively to content that resembles their own lives and formed stronger bonds with creators that seemed relatable during a time of great stress for many.

4. The bigger the influencer audience, the better the influencer.

This is not necessarily true. Before engaging an influencer, it's important to focus on their audience statistics. Which country do their followers originate from? What are the gender ratios and age profile of that audience? For example, let's say your preferred creator has 100 million followers. Suppose their audience demographic is 67% female aged between 24-34 and primarily based in the US, but your campaign targets 18-24-year-old European males. In that case, months of planning a fantastic product with a great campaign concept might fall flat at the last minute because their audience isn’t likely to convert, despite a high impression count. Mistargeting is at the root of many underperforming campaigns.

Even for brands with a global market, the quest for reach must be counterbalanced by the pursuit of credibility and engagement. Brands should focus on relevant matches that deliver creative and consistent content. This will better enable them to influence their audiences, rather than only opting for the influencer with the highest follower count.

5. It’s easy to manage influencer campaigns in-house.

Some brands have started experimenting with in-house teams or even giving the job to interns, and then — unsurprisingly — declaring that “it doesn’t work”. While running successful influencer campaigns is just about possible for some highly skilled marketing teams, companies should tread carefully. 

It may seem easy to reach out to two or three creators and negotiate contracts with them, but it requires specific industry knowledge to select the right influencers to achieve the KPIs, and how to identify fake (bought) followers.  Activating hundreds of micro-influencers or possibly thousands of nano-influencers requires expertise, time, effort, energy, resources, tools, algorithms, and data.

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