This post was updated on the 26th of February, 2020.
Despite being the new way of doing online advertising, Influencer Marketing is still facing a lot of challenges. So many challenges in fact, that they are hindering companies from getting involved at all. For example it has been estimated that influencer fraud will cost companies over a billion dollars in 2019.
However, we firmly believe that a lot of these challenges can be solved with good planning, knowledge of best practices and the collaboration between humans and the machine.
Learn how to do influencer marketing successfully
No time to read a blog post? Just watch a video recording from Digital Bash where our CEO Levin Vostell will give you practical tips and best practices on how to get tangible results from influencer marketing.
What are the 8 major influencer marketing challenges for companies?
Based on expert interviews, eMarketer.com identified in 2019 eight major influencer marketing challenges which the respondents are currently facing:
There might be also other factors which concern marketers at the moment. But as we have been discussing about the same topics with our clients or potential clients, we think these eight are at least a good starting point.
Spotting fake followers and inauthentic content
Fraudulent behaviour might be one of the biggest concerns companies have when dealing with influencers. In order to encourage collaborations with brands, some aspiring influencers result in shady behaviour such as buying followers who are not actually real people or even faking a brand collaboration.
It is not always easy to distinguish influencers with fake followers. A brand needs to undertake in extensive research.
Things to check are for example the followers’ characteristics as such demographics, the influencer’s engagement rate and the follower growth rate.
Fake Brand Collaborations
Influencers can also result in faking brand collaborations in order to build a track record of successful campaigns.
This means that these individuals have produced content that indicates a brand collaboration, without there actually being any. So for example a brand is tagged in a post which it has not paid for.
Although the brand itself may not have an issue with this, the practice is still misleading. The influencer might also just tag the brand in the picture or story to raise their awareness and thus hopefully gain a brand collaboration as a result.
Influencers should always clearly mark all advertisement posts as so, or use for example the promotion feature on Instagram.
Social algorithm changes making content less visible
As we all know, in order to survive the free social media sites are based on ad revenue. They can only survive if people spend a lot of time on the site and see a lot of advertisements.
Therefore, the algorithm needs to prioritize content that the users find really engaging. So content the users like, view, comment and share.
The more a post or a video gets engagement the more it will be shown to more users. The engagement rate of for example micro-influencers often surpasses those of bigger influencers or brands. Therefore it is more likely that a large part of the micro-influencers’ followers also see the content.
To conclude, all social media platform users need to pay special attention in their content creation. I has to be as entertaining, informative and as unique as possible.
Building an always-on strategy
Like any other marketing activity, influencer marketing should be considered as a continuous effort instead just series of single campaigns. Having a single, one-off three-month (or even one-month) campaign with a few influencers for one product might not bring desired results.
Instead, Influencer Marketing should be integrated as a part of the overall marketing mix. It should also be seen as an omni-channel activity, reaching throughout the customer journey.
Rising influencer costs
Influencers are aware that they are on demand for brand collaborations. The most popular individuals with millions of followers are bombarded with different campaign requests. Hence, they know their worth and are charging brands accordingly, leading to increasing prices.
One thing is clear: the more followers the individual has, the more expensive s/he is. However, in terms of ROI, the larger influencers do not represent the best solution for most brands.
Micro-influencers, although smaller in terms of followers, have a more targeted follower base. This often leads to a better brand fit, more engaged audience and a more affordable price.
Of course, due to the increasing demand for these smaller-level influencers, their prices are also set to rise. And without a clear, common system system to which the price for a post is based on (for example CPM), the fees of different influencers might differentiate a lot.
Keeping up with social media trends
Yesterday it was Instagram, today it is TikTok. As social media sites gain and lose popularity at a sometimes terrifying speed, it can be difficult for brands to decide where they should put their efforts.
In addition the older platforms are coming up with different new features for brands and consumers alike. Thus, decisions about new features should also be made at the same time!
It is important to follow your target audience, but also in a way that is authentic to your brand. If you don’t have enough resources to be always on top of trends, then influencers can be a valuable partner. They will certainly know they way around the most popular channels.
Building a strong creative strategy
As said before, Influencer Marketing should not be a separate effort, but seamless continuum of your other marketing efforts. Thus, the creative strategy should fit with your existing creative strategy.
Of course influencer marketing brings its own special factors. The creative strategy needs to be seen through the lenses of the influencer, who will add their own creative strategy to the campaign. These two strategies need to be able to support each other.
Reducing time managing campaigns
Creating an influencer campaign takes a significant amount of time, and especially so when dealing with smaller-scale influencers.
As mentioned previously, the need to check for possible fraudulent behaviour makes the research for suitable influencers longer than it already can be.
And after you have found the fitting individuals contract negotiations and endless emails come into play. On top come the checking of posted content and gathering campaign metrics from various sources.
The operational side of influencer marketing should not take such a long time that there is not enough time for the campaign strategy.
Taking care of brand safety and alignment
With influencer marketing the advertising company needs to give up their brand in the hands of an influencer. Control needs to be diminished, because for the sake of authenticity, the influencer needs to have freedom in the way they post.
You should still give some instructions to the influencers how to mention the product. Things like how to mention your company, which hastags to use and even some text examples can help in keeping the brand image coherent.
But, like with any advertising, the finished product should always be checked before publishing. In that way you can eliminate things like human errors or misunderstandings.
Influencer marketing challenges can be overcome
Even though influencer marketing has its challenges, it does not mean that it could not be a successful add-on to your overall marketing mix. It won’t turn your business around in a week, but it can help you to reach your business goals. When done correctly.
Learn how to overcome these influencer marketing problems
Watch the video from below and learn, how to find the right influencers, avoid influencer fraud and create a creative strategy which will guarantee results.