Do influencers really... influence?

From one-woman start-ups to billion-dollar brands, businesses today are in the game of influencer marketing.

With the ever-growing use of social media for both personal and businesses, it remarkable how these platforms are being utilised as avenues of reach, engagement and brand awareness.

So the big questions is, are businesses getting their rightful return on investment with these 'public figures' promoting their core brand & values, or is this all just for promotional use?

Before we even attempt to answer the big questions, let's make sure we understand the #influencer business.

There are two types of influencers; micro- and macro influencers. Micro influencers are bloggers, vloggers and industry experts, where macro influencers are TV personalities, singers and models (think Hadid sisters and Kylie Jenner).

According to One Productions, 94% of businesses that use influencers as part of their marketing strategy get up to eleven times their ROI when compared to traditional forms of advertising.

Going macro could mean micro results

Looking at examples like Cristiano Ronaldo, Beyoncé and of course, the Kardashian / Jenner sisters, it might look very straightforward and clear to make macro influencers part of your marketing arsenal, but only 3% of consumers admit that they will try a product or service endorsed by a celebrity.

This is in strong contrast with 30% of consumers who are more compelled to make purchasing decisions based on recommendations from non-celebrity bloggers.

Bloggers (who are not tied to a specific industry) tend to give more personal and honest opinions. This gives viewers a sense of relatability and provides an understanding that they share the same point of view as their readers and viewers.

On the other hand, if a business is keen to create a lot of awareness and noise for the brand, using macro-influencers would be the best deal (Forer, 2018).

Influencer marketing has made its way in creating a unique tactic that targets the brand's specific audience and market, minus the risk of being critically assessed (best to avoid a repeat of the 2017 Pepsi fiasco). This medium is comparatively easier to manage and monitor than more traditional methods. There are many new software options, like Traackr, that make it possible for companies and even individuals to monitor analytics and success rates for campaigns.

With this being said, there can be some major risks too. Influencers create their own content and curate their own captions (provided they comply with the deliverable specified by the company), but there is also a rise of Instagram frauds that use fake followers to gain freebies and collect payment - often disappointing the expectations of the brand (Matthew, 2018).

At the end of the day, assessing effectiveness is a must. Cases and implementation differ from company to company and on their unique business goals and marketing needs. When a company has a good grip on their needs, how they are going to benefit from influencer marketing and the right influencer for their brand, they would surely get effective and amusing results.

Sharina Manaog

Communications Executive | Vital & Vitality