73 percent of marketers have a budget set aside for influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing is an effective way to grow brand awareness within your targeted audience, quickly establish reputation and credibility, and improve sales. But just because popular brands are utilizing influencer marketing as a strategy, doesn’t always mean they’re getting it right.
The Power of Influencer Marketing
The Frye Festival has been circling the news once again following the release of both Netflix and Hulu’s behind-the-scenes look at the disastrous events that ensued with Fyre’s co-founder Billy McFarland using influencer marketing to “sell a pipe dream to your average loser.” It remains unfortunate that one of the most successful influencer marketing acts is also one that most would like to put in the past.
The result was a disaster. However, it also presented itself as a case study showing the ultimate power of influencer marketing. The influencers did their job, and as a result, 95 percent of the festival’s tickets were sold within the first couple of days post-launch.
Shutterstock, with the assistance of the advertising agency DiMassimo Goldstein, recently released a video recreating something similar to the Fyre Festival promo video, by using nothing but items from its stock footage library. Shutterstock’s chief marketing officer Lou Wiess stated, “we thought it would be a great way to show marketers and creative teams that you can truly create anything you want from our 12 million video clips and tens of thousands of music tracks.”
While this may be true and is a cheaper approach to marketing than shelling out millions, is it as useful as utilizing influencer marketing?
We at Brand Buddha recently posed this question to Shutterstock and DiMassimo Goldstein on our Facebook page: “The #fyrefestival video you (Shutterstock) and DiMassimo Goldstein created was awesome. Do you think the original campaign would’ve been as successful without the influencer marketing component?”
DiMassimo Goldstein’s response?: “#noway.” The agency admits that the Fyre Festival video would have been much less effective without the help of influencer marketing. So where does this leave marketers?
The relationship between influencers and consumers has started to shift significantly- particularly surrounding trust and authenticity. If you’re one of the 71 percent of marketers that believe influencer marketing is good for business, then there are a few takeaway lessons from scandals such as Fyre.
Lessons To Take Away
1. Work with Micro-Influencers to Remain Cost-Effective and Build Trust
To save money, utilizing niche influencers is an excellent way to build trust with your consumers. These individuals are micro-influencers, who are active on social media but don’t necessarily have a huge following. If shelling out millions isn’t your cup of tea, it is cost effective to work with micro-influencers as their rates are significantly lower than those who have millions of followers.
One of the noteworthy failures from the Fyre festival was their influencers were paid for a one-time campaign. Did these influencers invest time in understanding the brand and form an authentic relationship with Fyre? We now know the answer to this, is no.
Micro-influencers build relationships with their audience. The time they usually spend equates to cherishing their growing community – whereas high-profile influencers typically don’t have the time, and as a result, come off as much less personal.
Utilizing micro-influencers in an influencer marketing campaign means growing alongside them, and is an excellent way for brands to benefit from a smaller initial investment while still being seen by a loyal and growing audience.
2. Establish Longevity and Maintain Relationships
After deciding on an influencer or group of influencers for a project, it’s best to continue utilizing them for future endeavors. There are advantages to working with an influencer continuously or for multiple campaigns. As a report done in Moblie Marketer states, studies are showing that influencer-brand relationships are lengthening and one-off campaigns are becoming less and less frequent. It remains a worth-while decision for marketers to consider reconnecting with influencers they’ve worked with on previous campaigns, as to increase campaign effectiveness and build authenticity.
Establishing successful and lasting relationships with influencers can lead to more creative and unified campaigns in the long run. It will also aid marketers to build strong relationships with their targeted audience members. As an influencer continues to grow, new members of their audience serve as additional engagement on past collaborations, which leads to more interaction between your brand and new, possible consumers.
3. Make Sure the Influencers Remain Transparent
Another issue that the Fyre festival faced was that a majority of the influencers violated the US’ Federal Trade Commission’s warning to celebrities and influencers that they must be clear about sponsored posts. Sure, Fyre festival sold out because they promoted an event where you could party like a celebrity for a weekend – but where they failed was in their lack of honesty.
Many of the influencers promoting the event did not use the now requisite hashtag #ad, leading followers to believe the recommendation was honest, rather than paid. 74 percent of people trust social networks to guide purchasing decisions – so why not establish transparency with your consumer audience?
Treating influencer marketing like any other channel is something marketers should focus on, making sure to work with individuals who can best represent their brand. Marketers need to be honest with influencers about their product, and influencers need to provide the same honesty to their audiences to make all promotions genuine. Consumers are more likely to purchase an item from someone they relate to, such as an influencer that shares similar values or interests. Of course, a brand wouldn’t want an influencer to say they hated their product, but allowing an influencer to first test out the product and then give honest feedback is one of the ways to promote authenticity.
As a marketer seeking influencers, be sure that your product meshes well with the lifestyle or both the influencer and their audience – authenticity should follow with ease.
Marketers can learn from the mistakes of Fyre Festival’s dishonest use of influencer marketing, and apply the age-old saying to their own influencer marketing campaigns – honesty is the best policy.