Although influencer marketing is a relatively young industry, 89% of marketers find it more profitable. Plus to its benefits, influencer marketing has challenges, as well. Lack of regulation in influencer marketing creates new challenges for marketers and brands who seek to use it on their marketing strategies.
What are the challenges in influencer marketing?
According to the study conducted by Mediakix, one of the biggest challenges of the marketing industry is spotting fake followers and inauthentic engagement. This is followed by social algorithm changes that make content less visible and building an always-on strategy instead of one-off campaigns. Let’s look through those main challenges of the influencer marketing industry and what brands can do about them.
Fake influencer activities
The number one thread in influencer marketing is the growing number of inauthentic influencers with fake followers that increase brands’ concerns about finding the right influencers to work with. Fake bot followers are made to inflate follower numbers and engagement. The aim here is to deceive brands and followers as a trusty channel. Pretty much all social platforms are victims of these fake followers.
Unfortunately, influencer fraud costs millions of dollars to brands. According to the 2018 report by Points North Group, of the $744 million that brands spent on influencer marketing, $102 million was wasted on fake followers, including Unilever’s brand Dove. Yet no brand was as seriously affected as Raw Sugar Living. The same report showed that 46% of the brand’s influencer marketing budget was eaten into bots and paid followers.
Fake followers are not only a challenge in the influencer marketing industry, but many marketing agencies also suffer from the same fraudulent activities with their digital ads such as fake impressions.
Luckily, as we already mentioned in our previous blog, there are several methods to spot fake followers like checking influencer growth rate, reading post comments, communication between influencer and followers, and using influencer analytics tools to analyze influencers’ profiles.
Rising influencer marketing costs
The next challenge ahead of brands is the rising cost of influencers. As the demand and industry grow it gets more complicated, more efforts and tools are required to leverage.
How much does the influencer marketing cost? It is a partnership fee that you pay, comprising the type of the content, the influencers’ creativity, campaign duration, influencer engagement, or agency fee. Rising influencer cost is also associated with the bot followers which are used for pretending big influencer profiles in brands’ minds. But does paying more to influencers raise your ROI? Brands need to effectively measure relevant metrics and ROI.
What to do?
Seemingly low-cost marketing channel in influencer marketing is micro-influencers. Individuals with a small but very active number of followers have more engagement rates and trusty profiles. Micro-influencers are approachable, credible, and generate more engagement rate, 22.2 times higher conversions than the other influencer types.
Algorithm is pretty much how the social media platforms operate. First of all, changing algorithms might change engagement rates and your posts’ visibility. From the positive side platforms change algorithms for supporting quality content, and users who post authentically and frequently.
Facebook’s new algorithm for example, amplifies personal accounts’ posts rather than business accounts. So, it allows brands to leverage influencer marketing easily on Facebook or think of Instagram’s no like change. The new model helps brands not to be deceived by bot likes, to work with authentic influencers, and to support paid posts on Instagram.
Brands have to set their marketing plans based on the existing algorithms. As these algorithms change regularly, brands should adopt new marketing strategies and optimize them according to the changes. These changes put influencers forward who are authentic and have higher engagements, so that brands can easily work with credible influencers.
In-house team, agency or influencer marketing platform?
The following challenge to overcome is deciding on in-house team or agency to run influencer campaigns. Considering third party costs on one side, and time spent on influencer search and campaign management on the other side.
After working on influencer market brands move their influencer marketing management to the internal team. Getting accustomed to the market aspect motivates brands to work solely instead of partnering with influencer marketing agencies or platforms. Despite specialized agencies, database tools, the high budget, and needed experience, marketers committed to run influencer campaigns with an in-house team.
Influencer marketing agencies work on the campaigns from the influencer finding to the campaign management. They built reputation and trust in brands and influencers’ eyes have expertise. By maintaining relations with influencers and brands, agencies get to know the market well.
Influencer marketing platforms give brands influencer accounts with relevant metrics and post statistics. On influencer marketing platforms, companies can easily register their brands, filter influencers by different categories, create campaigns and get reports at the end. Along with influencer marketing software, employee advocacy, and influencer analytics tools, Keepface offers influencer lists on different niches. AI-powered products have influencer profiles, performance data, audience analytics, and different other features.
As long as brands expand their influencer marketing they should go along with changing trends and reshape their strategies. Here includes responding to on-going trends in a creative way, the emergence of new influencers, allowing UGC, building long-term relations with influencers.
While influencers act as trusted agents on behalf of your brand, your employees are even more credible party to promote your brand. Employee advocacy is a smart way of promoting your brand without spending extra money and time. The practical knowledge of these people helps to increase trust and deliver your message even more clearly. The issue with employee advocacy is empowering low-reach people to spread your brand awareness. But if effectively run, employee advocacy can turn followers into real customers.
Keepface’s Employee Advocacy Tool is designed to amplify your social voice. The tool will help to enhance internal and external communication, keep control over brand voice on social media and report on which platform you perform best. All you need is to set up an employee advocacy campaign and manage it in a single place.
Enhancing content marketing
Content marketing is a modest way of presenting your brand on social media. The important part of building trust is expressing who you are with the help of quality content. However, creating quality content is the rising challenge of content marketing alone. Consistently writing content can lead to neglect quality. Highly experienced brands, pages with a relatively large number of publications sometimes can fail to deliver their messages, cause misunderstanding or just not get enough attention after all.
What about combining content marketing with influencer marketing?
Instead of writing long content to publicize your brand, prepare short texts that are plausible for the influencers you picked up. You cannot expect a high reputation from influencers without quality content.
Simply, you can create content for giveaway campaigns, video, podcast or social media takeovers, branded posts and ask influencers to optimize it in their style or provide influencers with all the text to prevent extra efforts and misleading by influencers.
Increasing video content
In a world where mobile phones are used as cameras, video content sharing became even more popular. As videos are eye-catching and they generate more engagement. Not surprisingly, algorithms in social platforms also support video content. According to the report, 72% of customers prefer to learn about products and services from videos. Preparing video content requires more time, efforts and in-depth information to share.
Editing is an important part of video sharing. A clear, polished video is more likely to attract more viewers and brands. We have seen lots of influencers quit YouTube due to the long hours needed for making and editing videos. Also, for brands sponsoring video content is pricier in comparison to photo or story posts.
Approaching video content as a challenge ahead, brands can sponsor video tutorials or invite influencers for product promotion videos. Preparing video content allows influencers to signify their creativity, share emotions and spur their audience for communicating.
Competition in existing social media platforms
Saturation of the influencer market leads marketers to look for new places. As the number of influencers increases, content becomes repetitive in existing platforms. Moving to new channels is challenging for marketers, in terms of brand compatibility with app features, finding the relevant influencers, getting accustomed to the app usage. The good thing is social platforms support easy communication, creativity, and attract the young generation.
The increased number of users drives the marketability of platforms. Take the example of TikTok, from clothing to the gaming industry, global brands either enter solely or collaborate with influencers.
Another new channel to leverage influencer marketing is podcast. Authentic influencers with a dedicated audience allow running a cost-effective influencer marketing strategy. The rising popularity of the podcasts opens new doors for brands who are strong-minded on influencer marketing.
Eventually, all these challenges are connected like a chain. Marketers need to clearly define the goals of influencer marketing strategies and apply them to overcome these.challenges.