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Influencer marketing: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Consumers in today’s world are focused less on advertisements, and more on content.

They don’t care that your product is the best on the market. Rather, they want to know what value your brand brings them. This line of thinking is pushed every time another company goes out of their way to make branding important.

Take Apple, for example. You’re not buying the new Macbook Pro because it has the best specs on the market. No, you’re buying it because the Apple brand holds value. They provide their consumers with an experience that extends beyond their product purchase.

Building up your brand to Apple levels involves cultivating content that people want to consume. Red Bull, the energy drink brand, nails this idea with their constant stream of video content. People actively seek out Red Bull products because of their branded videos. The brand offers something “cool” beyond their energy drink.

Your company won’t start out as an Apple or Red Bull, but you need content marketing nonetheless. It’s no longer an option, it’s a necessity. Content marketing adopters have conversions rates six times as high as their non-adopting competitors.

What’s more, 88 percent of B2B businesses are using content marketing, with B2C companies putting up similar numbers.

With this much competition, staying ahead of the game is difficult. One way certain brands are forging ahead in the content game is through influencer advertising.

Think about your business. If you told customers that your product was the best, why would they believe you? You’re as biased as they come. However, if a trusted authority says your product is awesome, consumers are more likely to believe them.

That’s influencer marketing encapsulated. People with large audiences on their blogs, social media, YouTube channels, etc, use their influence to promote your brand. As simple as it sounds, getting it right is time consuming and requires a lot of energy, effort, and attention to detail.

Influencer marketing, like anything else, is liable to turn out good, bad, or ugly. Just ask PewDiePie.

The Good

Influencer marketing is possibly the best way to supercharge your branding without actually lifting a finger. You’re able to benefit from organic content that drives your brand engagement, without creating it yourself. It’s an excellent way to save on content creation costs.

In fact, not only are you saving on cost, but you’re generating positive return on investment as well. Businesses on average generate $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing. That’s a more than 600 percent return on investment. Not too shabby.

Though really, getting the most from influencer marketing requires taking advantage of the platform from start to finish. Let’s look at how each step of the influencer process can benefit your company.

Capturing a new audience

Influencer marketing opens the floodgates to an audience you otherwise wouldn’t have access to. You want that audience to be relevant to your product or service, so it’s ideal to choose influencers that operate within your niche.

This access to their following lets you focus in on consumers who in all likelihood wouldn’t ever have seen your brand message. Social outlets are crowded with other brands vying for customer attention. Influencer marketing skirts this noise and gives you direct access to an existing base of consumers.

Access to this base makes up the backbone of influencer marketing. People trust other people more than companies. 68% of consumers look for product information from other consumers. With influencer marketing, you can significantly increase the chances that consumers view your brand favorably.

Make sure that any posts shared by influencers, whereas on their blog, youtube channels, or social media, include a link to your site.  When they land on your site, make sure you have a dedicated landing page for that influencer (hidden from Google) and that you have your remarketing codes up and running.

This way, you can create retargeting campaigns on both Google or Facebook to consumers using the influencers name and reputation in your creatives.

Now you can take all those new potential customers and nurture them down the sales funnel with remarketing.


Once your influencer starts to push content towards their audience, you can take advantage of that content to push your brand image. You’ll gain a huge advantage over other brands if you’re actively collaborating with your influencers. Try have your influencer match your brand tone, and then create your own content that plays off theirs.

If their content is good, you can even promote your influencer’s content on your own social media.  It’s a way to increase social proof, which is a powerful conversion driver.   If they write up a good review, don’t be afraid to share it with your own followers. The influencer will also appreciate the free online visibility.

Driving conversions

The final benefit from influencer marketing is turning your new audience and content into conversions and sales. By now, your new audience is consuming your content on a regular basis. However, these people still need to actually purchase your product to complete the ROI cycle.

Influencer marketing excels here because of how easy it is to leverage an audience with content. For instance, you can have your influencer advocate for their followers to join your email mailing list.

Believe it or not, email marketing is six times more likely to get a click-through than marketing on Twitter.

The Bad

For all the good influencer marketing can do for your business, there are also ways to implement the strategy poorly. Influencer marketing is straightforward, yes, but it’s not difficult to take the wrong direction with your campaign and watch it fail.

To help you avoid making the wrong mistakes, let’s break down three ways your influencer campaign could go poorly.

Copy and paste campaigns

Any marketing strategy will inevitably become streamlined and pushed out through various formats. It saves time, but isn’t usually the best course of action. This is especially true for influencer marketing.

It’s easy to fall prey to influencers who work with multiple companies using the same basic format. They’ll have templates for blog articles, social media posts, etc. The problem being, this makes your company look like every other company.

Templated posts don’t engage your audience the way custom content will. Only 56 percent of marketers realize that personalized content increases engagement. Many different companies make this mistake.

Ignoring your influencer’s voice

Sometimes brands are so desperate for an influencer that they don’t stay demanding enough during the selection process. What results is choosing an influencer who doesn’t fit with your brand voice.

It’s important to note that there’s a difference between brand voice and your target audience. No two brands are alike, even if they are speaking to the same audience. Make sure you’re choosing someone who can speak like your brand.

Yes, you are relying on someone else to create content for your brand, but you want that content to seamlessly transition into your branding.


Much like hiring an influencer before knowing if they fit your brand image, some companies are too desperate to get started and grossly overpay for their influencer. Or, they’re paying for only content.

We know, influencers are about delivering content. But as we mentioned before, there’s also an element of collaboration between brand and influencer. Some less than reputable influencers will try to get away with doing the bare minimum for maximum pay.

What can be even worse, these same shady influencers might ignore your instructions altogether. Always take the time to ensure your influencer isn’t just looking for quick cash.

The Ugly

The ugly side of influencer marketing rears its head when you least expect it.  Even respected influencers can make mistakes that have the potential to ruin your brand image.

Take PewDiePie for example. The YouTube sensation has millions upon millions of followers, and was poised to become the face of YouTube’s new Red streaming service. He also had influencer contracts with Google and Disney.

All of this changed when the streamer made less than tasteful (read: anti-semitic) comments on his Youtube channel. Obviously, you wouldn’t want your brand associated with this kind of rhetoric. Google and and Disney dropped him, while Youtube removed him from their preferred advertising program.

It’s an excellent example of influencer marketing gone horribly wrong. Brands need to account for this when choosing who they’re willing to work with. The issue being that anyone can say anything at any time.

The only way to insulate your brand from this problem is to drop anyone at the slightest sign of controversy.

Influencer marketing can send your brand image skyrocketing – or waste time, money, and ruin your reputation. As a marketing strategy it can be extremely useful and cost effective, but it’s very important to stay diligent about who you’re doing business with.

Remember, not everyone is honest; and these are the people who’re representing your brand. Do your homework when choosing your influencers – it can mean the difference between a successful or failed campaign.

by Marcela De Vivo
source: ClickZ