Recently, I have seen a lot of trolls on Influencers and Influencer Marketing. Though I take none of them personally, they made me realise that people don’t realise the significance of influencer marketing. So, here I am pointing out the obvious that most of us lose sight of.
Before I begin, I won’t be talking about Ronaldo and Coca Cola story as that is a rare instance and not a classic example of how influencer marketing works. This is because Ronaldo having the highest following on Instagram is not just an influencer, he is a celebrity sportsperson and an idol to many. So, what happened there can’t be replicated by every business as only a brand like Coca Cola can afford Ronaldo. Normal businesses need normal influencers, who fit in their budget. As, I have established that, let’s come to the topic and know why brands need influencers, starting with breaking your misconception about the phenomenon.
Why Influencer Marketing is Not a Scam
I have heard people swear on their life that they would never purchase a product that an influencer advertises. I used to see a point to this argument, which I’ll be putting forward in the next part of this article. For now, let me establish the number one reason for anyone to say that. People know that influencers are paid to endorse the product which makes them not reliable. However, that doesn’t stop them from buying things that celebrities endorse in TV ads.
While in reality, an influencer might use the product he/she advertises (I personally end up using a majority of the products I received, unless I finish it up while shooting), while there is no chance for that to be true about an ad. Do you think, Aia Bhatt shops at Flipkart or Akshay Kumar wears Lux Cozy? No, right? So, if you don’t think that advertisements, in general, are a scam you can’t label influencer marketing as one.
Now, you might say that at least we know that celebrities are getting paid. This could’ve been true before, like in the early days of influencer marketing. But now, as the competition in the market is enormous, no influencer will hide that he/she is getting paid to say or use something. People wear Paid Promotion tag like a batch of honour. Even if some of them didn’t reveal it in the past, ASCI guidelines have made it mandatory in India to so. There, goes another argument in a drain.
There might be some people, who would call quality of content a differentiating factor between TV ads. That too however is no grounds to call an influencer promotional post a scam. Not every influencer has access to expensive equipment to shoot and they are paid according to the quality. So, you don’t have to worry about that.
Those were all the valid points I found and wanted to dust the air off, though the last one was a stretch. However, if you have any other valid arguments, feel free to leave them in the comments and I’ll answer them asap. Now, let’s go to the second part of the criticism on Influencer Marketing.
Influencer Marketing is Not Morally Wrong
To be honest, I used to believe the same. I tried influencer marketing for a while in 2018 only to leave it because I thought I was doing wrong by people. However, now I know this belief is as immature as I was before lockdown. This is because, when endorsing a product I am not acting like I am not endorsing it. I or any other influencer is not trying to make you believe that they have been using the product from the day they were born and swear their life to it. This again could have been the case in the initial days but now almost all influencer campaigns are concerned with either showing use of their product or creating an ad.
Most influencers are either posting about the things that they use or wear or endorse things they are paid for. It is no rocket science to differentiate one from the other and therefore what influencers are doing by promoting products is not morally wrong. They are just selling ad spaces in their profiles like Instagram sells ads and so does google, youtube and every other site. Selling ad spaces to make an income is not morally wrong, they are disclosing it, creating the content themselves and not even stealing your information. What else do you want?
We are living in the age of marketing and the sooner you make peace with it, the better it will be for you.
Why Influencer Marketing is an Effective Marketing Tool
The psychology student in me has to point out that influencer marketing has more to do with your subconscious than anything else. When a brand runs an influencer marketing campaign, they are not looking for direct sales but increased visibility. Influencer Marketing makes it possible for big as well as small brands to reach a large audience at a cheaper cost. All brands are looking for through these campaigns is for you to know their brand subconsciously or even unconsciously. So, when it is time for you to buy a product, you will have that name at the back of your head and may end up buying it.
This is the same mechanism that ads follow, but unlike TV ads influencer marketing does not require heavy investments. Look at it this way, instead of designing an ad, hiring actors and crew, shooting it, talking to broadcasters and paying them even more money. You have to just design an influencer campaign, allocate budget, find influencers and ship them the product That is all, simpler, cheaper, effective and also ensures more reach among the youth. As youth is more active on Social media than they ever will be on Television.
If you are still not convinced that influencers and influencer marketing are essential, there could be two reasons. Either you skipped a lot of text in the article, or you are just jealous of influencers for having it easy. Just kidding, as this article was never intended to change the perception of the general public as they will judge till the end of time. But, written for small businesses to realise that they need to get into influencer marketing and there is nothing wrong with it.