Global influencer spending will run as much as $10 billion by 2020, but all that money can’t buy trust.
Consumer trust in what influencers have to say sits at just 4%, and advertising has a trust level of 37%—behind banking, energy, and telecommunications—according to Edelman’s most recent trust barometer.
In addition, the average human being has an attention span of eight seconds, according to one study—a sharp decrease from the average attention span of 12 seconds in 2000, when the mobile revolution began.
It’s more important than ever to be thoughtful and strategic when embarking upon influencer marketing.
Here are four tips for cutting through the noise and developing influencer marketing opportunities that matter:
1. Partner with authentic influencers. CEO influencers who resonate with consumers are transparent and forthright. A poll conducted by our agency revealed that 64% of users online responded positively to Elon Musk, as opposed to 7% for Mark Zuckerberg.
Work with social media influencers who like and buy your brand while consistently representing your brand values and identity. We live in the age of authentic communication, and brands that don’t deliver a genuine influencer experience risk a backlash.
2. Prioritize depth when developing social media stories. Tap into cultural moments in areas such as sports, entertainment, and politics; harnessing consumer sentiments; creating content meant for social-media-first distribution, and examining and tapping into how people act, behave and consume.
3. Look beyond vanity metrics. More spending on influencers doesn’t necessarily equal bigger returns. Nano- and micro-influencers can often drive more revenue for brands than influencers with a million followers.
A recent ROI-focused micro-influencer program proved no correlation between audience size and ROI, but there was a correlation between high engagement and revenue generated.
When receiving an influencer partnership rate proposal, look at what you’re buying: an endorsement, the influencer’s word, her audience, and her creative content. When evaluating this price, determine her audience reach and engagement rate, and review the industry market rates/supply and demand, as well as the components of what you’re asking her to create.
4. Protect against influencer fraud. Sadly, everything in the social media world can be faked, including follows, “likes,” comments and shares. That means organizations are being exploited.
An overarching issue in marketing has been the use of bot farms by influencers, ultimately costing brands and marketers millions from their budgets. Following an audit of 10,000 influencers that brands and agencies frequently work with, the influencer fraud AI detection tool, Like-Wise, identified that 25% of influencers have paid for fake followers from illegal bot farms.
Capitalize on software solutions and tools to protect your brand from influencer manipulation, and set up a solid talent-vetting system.