Brand promotion via social media influencers is swift, smart and instant. But is there an opportunity cost we are collectively ignoring?
In a world driven by tech, reaching your stakeholders is just a few clicks away. The #, @, .com, like, share, tag, comment features of online platforms have expanded the marketing arena and reach – both for businesses as well as consumers. Digital marketing, especially via influencers has created quick ROIs for companies as well as new business opportunities for social media users. Especially those who think smart, fast and short. Experience has shown us that only those who are able to leverage social media platforms to make instant connections with their followers succeed in the long-run.
According to the Association of National Advertisers, 75% of marketers like to work with social media influencers. The influencers’ market is predicted to be worth $16.4 billion in FY 2022-23 (please check). Influencer marketing is emerging as one of the largest and potentially the easier and quicker source for advertising to rake in moolah. At present the future appears to be bright and sunny in the digital marketing arena.
However, I want to take a few moments and discuss the dark side of this bright future. Not to dampen your spirits but to caution you against going down the wrong road. Following are my key take-aways about the not-so-social aspects of the booming influencer market.
Fake influencers, yes they exist! Finding the right influencers can be difficult. About 61% of the marketers find it challenging to get the right influencers for their brands. It is common knowledge that some tend to buy fake followers and use bots to increase the number of followers and engagements. No, we don’t but it happens.
All this does – is achieve an illusion of high outreach for the businesses. But in actual tangible terms there are no real people engaging with the content, as a result figures suggesting high outreach are of no value – either to the business or its stakeholders.
So we need to ask ourselves – what purpose do fake influencers or bot driven shares and like achieve for us? Is this a sustainable or even profitable business model? As consumers, are we ready to be phished out of the market?
Sell or sale? It is evident that even small-scale businesses are investing in the influencer market for good ROI and immediate impact. Influencers however may comprise large segments of people who are new to the social media marketing landscape and have arrived with more hits than misses. Great for them but is this bankable? What about some goodwill hunting for our audience?
The empathy and ethics quotient of a brand may not resonate with the influencer’s content in the short and long run as it is sponsored. This can have an adverse impact on the cause and purpose of a company as well as its marketability.
We are living in an age when even adolescents are influencers and parents are merry engaging their toddlers to become so as well. Is this impinging upon the real joys of life that tangible human connection brings?
Yes, Millennials and Gen Z are crazed about influencers and associated channels and marketing.
So let the influencers and the influenced speak!