Social Samosa takes a look at how Influencer Marketing comes with its own share of drawbacks that brands often fail to take into consideration committing grave Influencer Marketing Mistakes.
Influencer marketing is has been a buzz word in the advertising domain and there is a sudden upsurge in brands resorting to this strategy to reach their target audience. According to a research, 86 percent of marketers used this strategy in 2016 and some have even doubled their investments this year.
Research further states that Influencer marketing content delivers 11X higher ROI than traditional forms of digital marketing. Also, 70 percent of influencers feel that the most effective way to collaborate with brands is through an influencer marketing platform.
A look at the current scenario
Commenting on how do influencers serve the purpose for a brand, Saurabh Uboweja, International Brand Expert and CEO, Brands of Desire says, “Online influencers have the ability to broadcast a brand’s message and help expand its reach to a new set of potential consumers. When unified with a chain of influencers, it is also the best way of taking an online story viral, which is what brands aim to do with their content.”
In rare cases, influencers also have the ability to trigger action on a brand’s behalf, especially if it involves a small effort and involves a high psychological payoff. According to statistics by Influencer Orchestration Network, 51 percent of marketers report acquiring a better quality of customer through influencer marketing.
Harshil Karia, Managing Director at Schbang elaborates, “It is not possible for all brands to afford celebrities, hence the trend of social influencers came up, who are like the mini celebrities of sorts, but right now, the purpose is getting diluted because at any given point of time, one influencer is endorsing too many brands and sometimes, they don’t fit well with the ethos and look of the brand.”
The right fit comes with finding relevant influencers and providing them with creative liberty so as to get the bang of the buck.
Siddharth Banerjee, EVP- Marketing, Vodafone India said, “As India becomes Digital India with future-ready networks like Vodafone and increased Smartphone penetration, influencers become a key source of credible information about products & services. Vodafone engages with authentic online Influencers who help share our brand messages to specific tailored audiences.”
Banerjee further explains that Influencer engagement is a continuous exercise and unlike the conventional outreach, this has to be supported by unique, relevant and engaging content throughout.
“With discussions in the Telecom sector spanning from regulatory to product and offers to brand campaigns, the business need to have influencers with a specific set of audiences and it becomes critical to increase our engagement deeply with all our stakeholders,” Banerjee concluded.
The honest drawbacks of Influencer Marketing
According to reports, while influencers may have a large number of followers, a typical Facebook post only reaches about 3 percent to 8 percent of that audience, with Instagram being only slightly higher, at 8 percent to 18 percent. Choosing a wrong influencer can result in both – waste of money and energy for the brand.
Further, a survey done in UK states that 43 per cent think influencers are “often inauthentic” and work with brands “they don’t believe in”, while a further 52 per cent assume if an influencer promotes a product, they have been paid to do so, regardless of whether they have or not.
Such factors leave considerably sizeable loopholes in the concept of influencer marketing.
Uboweja from Brands of Desire highlights, “Influencers like all humans are unpredictable. If they take an intensely polarized view on a pressing issue that conflicts with a brand’s position in the market, they can do more damage to the brand than benefit.”
Another flip side is that while most influencers claim a large reach and follower base, which is visible too, reach doesn’t often translate into real influence and it becomes quite difficult to measure the ROI on influencer marketing.
Often marketers, are confused on deciding how much to spend on influencer marketing, either they end up over-spending or not allocating proper budget for the marketing effort. The thumb rule is, you should spend between 1 to 25 percent of your marketing budget.
Varun Duggirala, Co-founder, The Glitch, commented, “Online influencers in today’s day and age are true blue media channels for a brand to amplify their values/ message and utility. If a brand works with an influencer to build content that is genuine and entertaining then it can build true value for the brand. However, if done in a ‘copy paste’ method then its money wasted because the digital audience is smart enough to spot a blatant plug.”
There have been a number of instances, where influencer marketing has backfired, mainly because of choosing the wrong influencers and following the copy paste format. For instance, Tata Tea’s Fruski Leak suffered damage at the hands of the brand, as influencers such as Biswa Kalyan Rath shared copy pasted tweets.
Influencer marketing is the double aged sword that needs to be maneuvered with utmost planning – the right moves can help brands win a battle, but, one wrong move could cause damage that is beyond repair.