Guest post by Shane Barker.
It’s quaint to recall that just a few years ago, top business blogs were still featuring posts on how to convince your boss to invest in social media marketing. Today, 90% of American adults under 30 and half of all the people on earth belong to at least one social network. And it’s hard to find anyone in marketing leadership who doesn’t understand the power of social media marketing.
As social media has evolved, many people have turned into amazing content creators or influencers in specific niches they’re passionate about and skilled at. They’ve built sizable, engaged audiences that follow them for advice, tips, and product reviews.
Because their audiences trust their recommendations, social media influencers can extend your brand reach and help you engage your target consumers or B2B buyers. They can help you grow your business regardless of your audience and objectives.
If you’re new to leveraging influencer marketing, or struggling to get results with it, you may have questions about how to start or improve, and if this will be an effective tactic for your business.
Here are three essential things to know about influencer marketing, plus an illustrated, detailed look at the pros and cons.
How Should You Get Started with Influencer Marketing?
First things first, map out your goals. What do you want to accomplish from your influencer marketing campaign?
Once you have figured that out, you should associate those objectives with relevant key performance indicators (KPIs). You can track these KPIs to evaluate the overall effectiveness of your campaign and optimize it for better results.
For example, if your goal is to increase brand awareness, you can track KPIs such as reach, impressions, and social media mentions.
Then, move on to the influencer vetting process. This step can make or break your campaign. Spend sufficient time looking for the right influencers and evaluating their profiles for factors other than just follower count.
For example, are they social (e.g., are they following back at least one quarter of their followers)? Do they regularly retweet content from sources other than their own? Are they active on your key target networks?
Before you invest in influencer marketing, here’s a closer look at its pros and cons.
What Are the Benefits of Influencer Marketing?
Influencers are social media personalities who endorse brands and products by creating high-quality content. People look up to influencers for their expertise, authenticity, and genuineness. This is why audiences are highly likely to believe and heed their recommendations.
Partnering with influencers can help you reach new audiences and build trust in your brand. With a highly-targeted approach, you can avoid wasting your marketing budget and resources, and accelerate your business growth.
One aspect that makes influencer marketing attractive is its cost-effectiveness. Particularly by targeting nano- and micro-influencers, influencer marketing no longer requires a huge financial investment (though doing it right does take time).
What Are the Drawbacks of Influencer Marketing?
Like any other marketing strategy, influencer marketing can fail to deliver the hoped-for results. To achieve your objectives, you need to plan and execute your influencer marketing campaign(s) carefully.
The most common cause of failure is collaborating with the wrong influencers. This can hurt your brand’s reputation and also cause financial losses.
If an influencer fails to abide by the FTC endorsement guidelines, your business may have to face grave consequences.
Another drawback of influencer marketing is that it can be difficult to measure success. This is especially true if your goals are not easily quantifiable. For instance, if your goal is to increase brand awareness, it may be challenging to quantify the actual results.
Despite all these disadvantages, influencer marketing is usually worth investing in.
If you’re worried about not generating a good ROI, you can leverage efficient influencer marketing platforms to streamline your efforts.
Check out this infographic for a more detailed view of the pros and cons of influencer marketing.