Influencer marketing may not be the newest kid on the block, but it is still going strong. It has become a booming business, set to almost double between now and 2022. Conservative estimates place the value of this market at around $8 billion now. And by 2022, that figure will be closer to $15 billion dollars.
The reason this market is booming is thanks to a change in the types of influencers that we look up to. Look back thirty or forty years, and your influencers were athletes or movie stars. You could almost guarantee sales if one of the hottest stars was promoting your product.
Since then, though, the popularity of using celebrities to promote products has waned a bit. In more recent years, we’ve shifted our focus from top celebrities to social media stars and bloggers. Today’s influencer is likely to be far removed from the glitz and glam of Hollywood. They settle for being internet famous instead.
What Makes Influencers so Special?
Influencers are normal people. They are more relatable. Younger people find influencer recommendations to be more believable because of this. Celebs live in a world that’s removed from our own. They might even come off as fake.
Influencers, on the other hand, are just like you and me. They’re the ones wearing and styling the items that they’re recommending. They use the products that they promote. They’re cool and hip, and most importantly, they’re reliable. Their audience feels a connection to them and trusts them.
That’s why 49% of followers rely on the recommendations made by influencers.
What Are the Benefits for Marketers?
So why should marketers work with influencers? The return on investment for influencer marketing is high. In 2018, companies using this means of advertising enjoyed an average ROI of 520%.
Another advantage for marketers is that the influencer has already done the hard part – they’ve earned their follower’s trust. If the influencer recommends a product, the followers don’t need to be convinced about how good it is. After all, if the influence doesn’t like it, they won’t recommend it. Their reputation depends on it.
What are the Potential Sticking Points?
Choosing the right influencer is essential. And, it is, unfortunately, a little easier said than done. Marketers must carefully vet the influencer to ensure that their followers are real and engaged.
Some less than scrupulous influencers buy fake followers or participate in what is essentially a link exchange program. As a result, you need to check not only the number of followers they have, but also how active the followers are.
Marketers have to investigate not only the influencer but also their followers.
Red flags that point to fake followers include:/p>
- A lot of followers that interact with the page once and never again.
- No real engagement in the comments. If you’re seeing a lot of generic comments like, “Great post” and nothing substantial in the comments, that could indicate that there are fake followers.
- Followers that follow a lot of pages but have very few of their own followers.
- Followers with sparse details on their profiles.
- Unnatural spikes in their numbers. The typical influencer’s number of followers should increase at a relatively even pace. There might well be one post that attracts a lot of attention, and that can cause spikes. If these spikes are happening on a regular basis, though, marketers should exercise more caution.
- Check the followers’ pages to see how active their profile is. Are they creating any personal posts, or is it mainly likes and shares of other posts? There are going to be people who prefer not to post personal information on social media. If you see one or two like this amongst the followers, it’s not a big deal. Larger numbers could indicate that the followers are bought, however.
What Points to a Good Influencer?
You’ll spot a good influencer pretty fast. They’ll get a great deal of engagement from their audience. So, expect to see insightful comments, likes and shares, and repeat visitors. Engagement is a far better measure of an influencer’s reach than the number of followers that they have.