The biggest marketing trend over the last 2-3 years has no doubt been influencer marketing. Emerging from the idea of social and culture hacking, Influencer marketing basically means that an influencer is showcasing, advancing and/or selling items through their network or fans. These Influencers are selected based on their ability to affect the character of a brand. An influencer is also somebody who has built a degree of impact within their given network.
*** This article may be viewed as controversial, However these are the dirty secrets about modern influencer marketing that no one wants you to know… and it could save you thousands ***
Founded on the idea of grass roots marketing, Influencer marketing utilizes an influencer’s online networking to increase product or brand awareness. This potentially can make a brand or product explode. Contemporary marketing has targeted markets through mass media and other mediums to promote products. Over the years however, this has proven to be extremely expensive while yielding smaller and smaller results (ROI). As the power moved from organizations to customers, the idea of influencer promoting went to the cutting edge.
Internet based life has been the pinnacle of human existence in the modern age. However, so has the emergence of self proclaimed “Influencers” who prey on startups like leeches by promising huge sales in return for free products and/or a marketing fee…
1. The Person is Not an Influencer (questions to think about)
If they have influencer written in their bio… the odds are, they’re not a real social influencer. Influencers can be categorized by different grading similar to a celebrity (A List, B List, C List).
When you look at this persons page would you consider them A, B, or C list? Are they Authentic? Relatable? And Real? ….. Are they Current? Seasoned? Or a Has Been?
These are the questions you should consider before selecting an influencer.
2. You Didn’t Research The Niche Enough
Often time’s business owners are their first customers... They believe that they need to create a marketing campaign that would motivate themselves to purchase. The truth is, you need to understand your target market, how they communicate, and what motivated them to purchase.
Using resources like Google trends, or Google search console to see what is relevant or what people are looking for before creating an offer.
3. They Over Sell Themselves
Many influencers try to pack themselves with contract after contract filling their stories and timelines with products and promotions. Keep an eye out for influencer marketers who have diluted their brand with too many promotions. These types of influencers have been over leveraged and their followers won’t be purchasing anything they promote.
Take a scroll through their profiles and time lines and see how many products they promote and look at the engagement before committing to anything.
4. No Proven Track Record
Which governing body provides influencer stats? The truth is none… Influencers can butter you up and make you believe you are missing out on the opportunity of a lifetime. This is why vetting them is so difficult. It is easier to cave to temptation because of FOMO then it is to stick to your guns.
The risk of losing REAL money today outweighs the chance you MIGHT make a sale.
Ask for reference letters from previous businesses or a point of contact. Would you hire someone to finish your basement strictly based off how good they tell you they are? Be sure to do your homework.
5. The Influencer Demands Full Payment Before The Services Are Rendered.
Influencers who are quick to push the sale and throw your questions back into your face are not the type of people you should be doing business with. This is to assume you aren’t trying to lowball them or genuinely wasting time/ disrespecting them. If the influencer does not have an existing portfolio or media deck, use that as leverage to offer them the chance to work with you at a rebate so they can build their portfolio.
6. No Real Followers or Fans
The most common mistake is people just at the site of someone with a huge audience! WOW you have 50k followers… The reality of the situation is:
Followers DO NOT = SALES
It is critical that you perform a social media audit in order to understand if this person is a real influencer or just smoke and mirrors. This is the fastest way to lose precious marketing dollars. You can perform a quick audit yourself by looking through the likes, comments, or followers section to view the authenticity of the profiles of the people who engage with the influencer. If things don’t check out. Then don’t bother using this person.
7. Not The Right Message
Many times there is a lack of communication between what you need as a business and what the influencer is trying to say. Influencers often user their self proclaimed position of power to explain how they know exactly what their followers want and how to deliver. The truth is…if you can’t speak to the influencer’s fans yourself and sell the product… neither can they for you! The message is the medium… If you are paying for just another picture post…The odds are you won’t get the rewards that you are looking for. Picking the best message for the right audience with the right influencer!
8. Time Wasters
This is probably the most common issue I have found with influencers.
You offer them a great gig for a great price but they don’t take the time to learn the product or brand. Instead they rush to promote the product without regards for its features or use. Seasoned Influencers understand the importance of getting to know the products and the business before they start to share the information. Everyone hates another shout out!
9. Using Fake Likes and Engagement (Social Media)
So you have found the perfect influencer for the perfect price, whom is willing to do everything you want and more. A dirty secret in the influencer world is paid likes and comments. Often time’s influencers will use the money they made from your promotion to purchase thousands of fake likes and followers for your account. Making it seem like they have given you great ROI. Although there is no recourse for this, be vigilant of this.
10. Payment Terms – How to pay an influencer?
Payment terms are important because they are an indication on how transparent and genuine an influencer is. The most common forms of influencer’s payments are:
Paypal- In short, when sending a payment over PayPal, DO NOT sends it as friend and family because there is no recourse if the person takes your money and runs. Always pay the premium and have buyer protection.
Gift Cards - Gift cards are another great example of a method of a no recourse payment method. Once your influencer has the gift card information they can spend the money and you will never see it again. Gift card purchases are not applicable for chargebacks or refunds.
Direct Deposit - One of the best practices assuming your influencer is someone local to you. If this is the case, have a contract is in place outlining all the expectations for marketing project.
11. Your Brand or Product sucks
The cold hard truth is… before you decide to do any influencer marketing; you need to be able to generate SOME sales. If you can generate 15-100 sales (depending on the product or services) on your own without an influencer, you will understand exactly which sale pitches work and which ones don’t. This will make any marketing campaign you engage in that much more effective.
Marketing and sales is not one shoe fits all, so it important to work in the trenches to learn the ropes before you try and swing for the fences.
Honesty breeds trust!
In Conclusion, it boils down to a certain something: Honestly and integrity breeds trust. Both as a business and as an influencer, it's fundamental be honest and straightforward about your needs and expectations. Manufacture customer trust. Trust is earned, not given. Also, if trust is broken, it's difficult to revamp.
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