influencers covid

Pros and Cons of Influencer Marketing in the Reality of Lockdown

Influencers are individuals who have a dedicated social media following and are viewed as experts in their niche. Influencer marketing utilizes endorsements and brand mentions from influencers through social media.

Companies partner with influencers who promote products to their audience. As a result, companies get heightened brand awareness and increased sales. Influencers, on the other hand, get paid through partnership fees.

Benefits of Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has numerous benefits, some of which include:

  • Reaching the Right Customers                

Businesses spend a considerable amount of time trying to find the ideal customer profile to focus their marketing efforts on. Finding the right target group allows sales teams to focus their efforts in the most profitable direction. 

With influencer marketing, you can find perfect customers for your business by partnering with the right influencers. If an influencer has followers that are ideal customers for your business, then you need only look at their audience to find a promising base of potential buyers.

  • Expand Your Brand Reach

Influencers typically will have anywhere between 1000 to 1 million followers. When you partner with an influencer, you get your brand in front of all these people. Even with a foolproof traditional marketing strategy, it’s hard to match the power of getting all these people to see your product with as little as one social media post. By partnering with an influencer, you, therefore, get to grow your brand’s reach.

  • Building Consumer Trust

Trust is one of the most important things in any business. You can leverage influencer marketing to grow the level of trust in your brand to give your business a credibility boost. You can achieve this by:

  • Partnering with an influencer that posts genuine and authentic content.
  • Partnering with an influencer that loves and relates to your business.
  • Using email lookup tools to find out more information about potential customers. This will help them relate to your business on a personal level.
  • Fuel Rapid Business Growth

Influencer marketing has great potential to grow your sales. If you can tap into the right influencer’s following, you will tap into a gold mine of new consumers. You will uncover new frontiers of customers that you didn’t know existed. The good news is that you can achieve this within a short time. Ultimately, this will lead to increased sales which will fuel rapid business growth.

Drawbacks of Influencer Marketing

On the flip side, if you get influencer marketing wrong, there could be disastrous effects to your business, including:

  • Partnering with the Wrong Influencer

Most of the benefits of influencer marketing hang on finding an influencer that is passionate about your business, is genuine, and is followed by people who are your target audience.

If you partner with an influencer that doesn’t meet these particular criteria, then you risk annoying your current customers, targeting the wrong consumers, or even both. You could therefore end up losing your customer base.

  • Legal Issues

When dealing with influencers, it’s important to ensure that you fully disclose any paid partnership with your consumers. If influencers are unclear about this, you could get in trouble with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) under the consumer protection law which helps prevent deceptive advertising. Being accused of misleading customers could negatively affect your brand.

  • Influencer Fatigue

Over the past few years, consumers have been bombarded with a steady stream of sponsored content. Platforms such as Instagram and Facebook have become saturated with paid content from ads and influencers.

It has therefore become hard for consumers to know who to trust and believe less in the information posted by influencers on social media. So even if you partner with authentic influencers who fit your business, it seems that influencers have less “influence” than they once did.

  • High Costs

Influencer marketing costs are determined by how large of a following your chosen influencer has. Influencers with over a million followers will command close to $100k for a post while those in the 30k-500k follower range will cost around $200-$800 per social media post.

It’s also hard to measure the long-term value of influencer marketing because influencer engagements last only a few sponsored posts. Solely relying on big-name influencers for a limited number of engagements can run down your business.

  • Scams and Other Risks

Perhaps one of the biggest risks of working with online influencers is the risk of scams and frauds. This normally occurs when influencers use artificially inflated follower numbers. They in turn use this to increase their asking rate for engaging their audience on behalf of a brand.

What’s worse is that the fake follower trend has exploded. According to a Points North Group study, up to 20% of mid-level influencers’ followers are likely fraudulent.

Cybercriminals can also impersonate certain influencers just by fabricating their social media accounts to look similar to that of an influencer. You can find out the true identity of a suspicious person by asking for their number and using a phone lookup service to find out who they really are.

So if you are not careful, you may fall prey to these scams and frauds, and paying a lot of money to engage potential customers that are non-existent.

Has Covid 19 Impacted Influencer Marketing?

Covid 19 is unlike any pandemic our society has encountered to date, perhaps because it’s the first one post-internet. During this time, influencer marketing has been affected in several ways, both positive and negative.

Positive Effects

  •  A spike in user engagement

In the age of lockdown, there has been a spike in engagement on social media sites especially Facebook and Instagram. Businesses have adapted to this spike in engagement and are recruiting influencers to tap into the potential customer base. So with this in mind, you as well as the influencer need to know what you should post on social media so as to engage readers.

  •  Increased potential customer base

At one point, a third of the world’s population was on lockdown. The number of people that joined popular social media sites was staggering. This is good news for businesses since they can enlist the help of trusted influencers to reach and convert these potential customers.

  • Improved sales

Covid has put a financial strain on many businesses. As a result, the need for influencers to aid in boosting sales and brand awareness has increased. Influencers are now working to tailor their influencer programs to lead directly to sales. These targeted efforts help businesses to generate high ROI.

Negative Effects

  • Misinformation

The proliferation of fake and untrustworthy information during the Covid pandemic has reached an all-time high. This is bad news for influencer marketers since fewer people now have trust in influencers.  It is therefore hard to prove the authenticity of genuine businesses that use influencers to market themselves.

  • Increased fraud

Covid 19 has opened the door to a wide number of scammers and fraudsters who pose as influencers with a huge following on social media. These scammers defraud unknowing businesses that end up paying a lot of money just to reach an audience that is fake/doesn’t exist.

  • Theft of proprietary information

The Covid pandemic has unearthed a new breed of hackers and cybercriminals who take advantage of social media, such as Instagram’s privacy policy, which is unclear to gain access to people’s accounts. Once they do this, they can access private information from the messages shared between influencers and brands. They can then sell this information to competitors.

Should You use Influencer Marketing for Your Business?

If you are on the fence as to whether you should use influencers to build your brand, there are things you need to consider and things you need to be aware of.

What to Consider

Some of the things to consider include:

  • Whether you can find an authentic influencer that people trust. If your customers cannot trust an influencer, then your brand will lose credibility with such a partnership.
  • Whether the authentic influencer appeals to your customer profile. If the influencer doesn’t appeal to your customer profile, then any influencer content that is put out will have trouble resonating with customers.
  • Whether the influencer is passionate about your business and is genuine.
  • Whether you would like to pay for a one-off or limited-time engagement.

What to be aware of

At the end of the day, you should be aware of the fact that what makes or breaks an influencer marketing strategy is authenticity. With authenticity, you will be able to reach massive audiences, build trust, and target the right customers for your business. Without authenticity, your brand’s credibility will be destroyed potentially resulting in financial loss.

 Author’s BIO: Ben Hartwig is a web operations director at InfoTracer. He authors guides on marketing and entire cybersecurity posture and enjoys sharing the best practices.   You can contact the author via LinkedIn.