We all know that having a social media presence can be a helpful way of connecting with customers, of building trust in your brand, of keeping abreast of industry news and trends and placing yourself as a strong player in a competitive marketplace. However, many businesses struggle to find followers and quickly find themselves lacking the motivation to continue to drive their social media platforms forward.
The use of social media influencers, when done correctly, can be an effective way to get your messages out there and your products and services noticed. In recent years the rise of the social media influencer has tempted many businesses to use their power to help them attract the attention of more customers, to promote what they are selling and to help encourage more customers to try them out.
What is a social media influencer?
A social media influencer is someone with a great number of engaged followers on social media. On their profile, they may well review or promote products and services in exchange for freebies and money and will use hashtags such as #ad, #gifted, #sponsored to indicate that they have a partnership with the business they are featuring. Because of their wide reach, these influencers can be extremely valuable to businesses who are often willing to pay out massive sums to have their products and services featured or promoted on their feeds.
Using social media influencers – the pros
Social media influencers gather huge amounts of attention, and therefore by promoting your brand and products without going down a more traditional and ‘pushy’ sales route. Many people who follow celebrities feel as though they are friends with them, that their opinions should be respected, and therefore if they say they love a particular brand or product, those following them will be more tempted to buy too.
Trust plays a huge role in using social media influencers too. People who follow them trust the information that they put out there, they believe that everything they say is gospel, and even with the ‘ad’ or ‘sponsored’ hashtag, they’ll still want to have what they have, to buy what they buy. Social media influencers don’t just become so overnight, they invest in building up their following and keeping their followers happy, and their advice and recommendations have a big impact.
If you want to boost your brand awareness, using social media influencers is key. The reality is that social media influencers, even if they don’t boost your sales, can make your brand much more well known. The more people who know who you are the more easily recognizable you will become and the better you’ll stand out amongst your competitors, so when it comes to making a buying decision, customers are more likely to go with the brand they’ve heard of – that’s you!
Using social media influencers – the cons
Despite the above, using social media influencers should only be undertaken with caution. In the past, there have been some examples of where making the decision to connect with these influencers has not worked out well.
For a start, there is always the possibility that the influencer will fall from grace. If they get caught doing or saying something they shouldn’t, it could mean that your brand goes down with them. If suddenly their fans turn on them or they are seen in a negative light, anything they promote could actually have the opposite effect to which you intended.
Social media influencers also aren’t cheap. You’ll need a decent budget to tempt them and therefore you have to weigh up whether you are sure going down this route will bring in more revenue than it costs to get the influencer to endorse your product in the first place. Being sure of a good ROI is never a certain thing in any business venture, and using celebrity influencers has no guarantee of a good return.
You have no control over the response
While you can ask the influencer to include specific wording, you can’t control the fans reactions. What you hoped would happen can be easily disrupted by comments and opinions which could either divert attention away from the promoted product or suddenly hold it in a negative light. If someone comments negatively about your product this is also going be seen by the thousands of people who view the post and could actually do more harm than good.
So are social media influencers worth the risk?
If you do your research thoroughly, negotiate a good price and use this marketing technique carefully and sparingly, you could see a hugely positive impact on your brand's growth and it could lead to a strong and productive partnership in the future. However, it is still wise to approach social media influencers with caution, and if you are not willing to put the research and effort into understanding not only which influencers are most aligned with your brand, but also how this world works, you could be doing yourself and your business a costly disservice.
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