What are the issues plaguing influencer marketing this year? How can brands and marketers deal with such challenges? In this article, you’ll discover the top three influencer marketing problems that come with implementing an influencer marketing program and how to overcome them.
#1: Fraudulent Social Media Activity & Fake Followers
Fraudulent accounts today are overpopulating many of the widely used social media platforms, and they are eating into brands’ allocated marketing budgets. Because of this, spotting inauthentic influencers takes the spot as the number one problem almost half of influencer marketers are currently facing.
Out of all of the influencer marketing problems, this is the one that you should focus on if you want to grow your influencer marketing ROI exponentially.
Choosing the right influencer to convey your brand’s message can be tricky. And the prevalence of influencers who intentionally purchase fake followers is making things even more difficult. When influencers have a follower count, this is generally appealing to companies who are seeking to find the right person to collaborate with. So often times these influencers pay for engagement in the hopes of convincing brands that they are “the real deal.”
Despite many attempts to combat this type of fraud, these fake accounts remain present across all major social media platforms. Instagram, the platform most popular with influencers, has approximately 95 million existing bot accounts, according to a recent report by MediaKix.
How to Deal With It
Here are some red flags to look out for when trying to identify bots and fraudulent accounts:
- The following-to-follower ratio is disproportionate. Fake accounts use the strategy of following and then unfollowing users after they’ve followed them back. Compare the account’s number of followers to the number of users they are following. If you notice a wide gap, it could indicate that the influencer’s account is inauthentic.
- There are signs that the account is purchasing engagement or followers. A sudden spike in followers within a short period of time or massive follower drop-offs are both signs of suspicious activity. Moreover, posts that are often bombarded with generic, mostly meaningless, and spammy comments are also an indicator that the account buys engagement.
- Something seems off about the influencer’s engagement rate and reach. Track the performance metrics of the influencer’s images, videos, and stories. If a huge follower count doesn’t translate into impressive engagement or reach, you might want to think twice before collaborating with this influencer.
A wide array of general and influencer marketing tools are readily available to make it easier for brands and marketers to check the authenticity of influencers. Here are a few that you should try:
- Google – The first thing every influencer marketer should do is to “Google” the name or username of the influencer they are considering collaborating with. A real influencer should come up in the search results. You can determine their level of influence by checking the quality of their website content (if they have one) and the legitimacy of their social media profiles. You’ve got a highly influential prospect if the name of the influencer appears in more than one article listing or if their Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook username has a check-mark next to it. This means they are a verified public influencer.
- IG Audit – This tool comes in handy if you want to perform a quick scan of the influencer’s Instagram account. Just type the username into the search box to reveal the account’s estimated real-to-fake follower ratio. The result will also show the average number of comments and likes on the influencer’s posts.
- SocialBlade – This tool provides a fuss-free way to track user statistics on the most commonly used influencer platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. It analyzes an account’s follower growth and the number of views, among other things.
# 2: Social Algorithm Updates
In every release of social algorithmic updates, there is an initial panic among brands, marketers, users, and influencers — and understandably so. In fact, 49% of marketers cited social algorithm changes as one of their primary concerns relating to their influencer marketing strategy.
While social algorithmic changes are necessary to improve user experience, these updates also have the ability to affect existing influencer marketing campaigns. This can leave marketers and influencers scratching their heads as they try to come up with ways to adapt quickly.
Here are some recently released social algorithmic updates:
- Facebook’s ranking factors for posted comments: The social media giant’s latest updates are aiming for better engagement ‘by showing people the posts and comments most relevant to them’. You’ll likely notice this change on your newsfeed as comments from people you know start showing up underneath posts.
- Twitter’s Top Tweets and Latest Tweets: Twitter’s latest updates allow users to toggle between an algorithm feed and a real-time, chronological feed.
- Instagram’s recommended posts: Instagram users will be able to view the recommended posts after they’ve seen all the latest posts. Recommended posts highlight the content that is relevant to users’ interests and related to communities they follow.
How to Adapt to These Changes
A slight algorithmic change can affect your influencer marketing campaign. But instead of fretting about the things that are beyond your control, aim to keep a steady focus on monitoring the impact of these changes on your campaign. Then, proceed to make the necessary adjustments.
These changes may force both marketers and influencers to up their creative game and update their platform use strategies. A great way to add more value and relevance to influencer content is by utilizing the branded content tools from your chosen platform.
Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube all feature branded content tools that influencer marketers can leverage to expand their reach and maximize engagement.
Furthermore, if you feel that changes in algorithms will affect your audience’s ability to view your content, this is something you should definitely address. The influencers you collaborate with can mention these changes in a YouTube video, Instagram Story, or Facebook Post so their followers–and your target market–are aware of the changes. They can also request followers to turn on notifications for these posts so they never miss out on their content, and your marketing.
# 3: Establishing a Long-Term Connection with the Influencer
It all seems very simple at the beginning—a brand identifies its target demographic and searches for an influencer who can help spread awareness and influence their niche audience. But the real challenge lies in sustaining a long-term, collaborative partnership with the right influencer and implementing an impactful campaign.
Before we delve deeper into this topic, let’s weigh in on the perks and downsides of having a long-term influencer relationship.
- Sustained brand exposure
- A deeper understanding of the brand objectives
- Enhanced brand reputation and loyalty
- High-quality content stemming from a better understanding of the brand
- Secure agreement terms and a smooth collaboration process
- Overpromotion of the brand to the same audience
- Long-term deals can be costly
Although extra time and effort are required in finding influencers to build a long-term partnership with, many marketers believe that the pros still outweigh the cons.
How to Build & Maintain a Solid Influencer Relationship
Once you’ve chosen an influencer and done your research (i.e., checking the authenticity of the influencer and their relevance to your target audience), it would be best to test the waters first by following him or her on social media and trying to engage by commenting or liking one of their posts. Introduce yourself informally before approaching the influencer for a collaboration.
Then you can invite the influencer to brand promotions and events or offer free product samples and fair compensation. Authenticity is key — your collaborative efforts will have a greater chance of generating results if the influencer genuinely likes and wants to work with the brand.
It is also crucial to choose an influencer whose style and audience align with your brand objectives. Remember that an influencer who can effectively deliver your brand’s message is worth the investment.
In order to nurture a solid, ongoing partnership with an influencer, it is important to set clear expectations while giving the influencer enough creative freedom. Keep in mind that if the influencer publishes content that sounds forced and unnatural, the influencer’s audience won’t buy into it. Influencer posts should be organic, and authentic.
Learn to communicate what you want and compromise if necessary. This will motivate the influencer to think outside the box and create engaging content without losing his or her authentic voice or sacrificing the brand’s integrity.
Final Thoughts on Dealing with Top Influencer Marketing Problems
Implementing an influencer marketing program requires a lot of hard work, time, and resources. In doing so, you must be open-minded, and cautious. Collaborations take compromise, but the outcome of a well-implemented marketing campaign will be beneficial to both parties. A great way to ensure quality work, and discretion is to hire a team whose sole responsibility is partnership or influencer-outreach. They will be able to keep an eye out for current influencer marketing problems. Remember, this is a wedding, not a one-night stand.
Once you have a solid grasp on influencer marketing, and the many benefits it can provide to your brand, you’ll be better equipped to handle struggles relating to your marketing strategy and these influencer marketing problems.
Hero photo by Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash
Influencer Marketing Problems FAQs
Influencer marketing isn’t always bad, you just need to thoroughly create an influencer marketing program. It requires time, effort, and resources, hence, you need to be careful and open to other perspectives. When you have a good understanding of the ins and outs of influencer marketing, it can be beneficial to you and your brand. Furthermore, to avoid problems, be equipped in handling your struggles.
Influencers have greatly affected marketing as more companies and businesses start using them. Due to its rapid growth and demand, brands are now willing to increase their budget with this technique. Influencer marketing has changed the game since it involves ordinary people in marketing the products. Consumers, in some ways, can feel the authenticity and relate to them more compared to celebrities.
Yes, influencer marketing is ethical, especially when done correctly and appropriately. Marketers have found the best way to promote their products and services through influencer marketing. By choosing the right influencer to work under the standards of the profession, this technique can be effective and ethical at the same time. So always make sure to follow FTC guidelines and remind your influencer to only give real reviews.
being an influencer is not always about how large your following is. The key to being an influencer is finding a niche that you are passionate about and can master. Other influencers are successful in what they do because they convey themselves as experts in their fields and they use their knowledge in educating the online community. If you want to be an effective influencer, determine your niche and find the best channel that will work for you.
Influencer marketing is effective because of the relationship and trust that influencers established with their audience. It uses ordinary people who possess expertise in their respective fields. Consumers view them as more credible and authentic people that give honest recommendations and reviews of the products. This allows brands and companies to find and market their products directly to their target audience.