If I were to say I am addicted to Youtube that would be an understatement. At one point I was spending hours upon hours on it, traveling across the globe and listening to countless stories from the comfort of my home. I’m sure I’m not the only one; in fact social media has become a major part of our lives in the last decade.
Throughout the years there are couple things I’ve noticed when it comes to the videos I was watching. The Youtube landscape gradually changed from viral cute cat videos to the dawn of family vloggers and now lifestyle vloggers. Along with this, I saw a rise in ads as well. I later came to know this was a new form of marketing called influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing, according to Forbes, is a type of social media marketing where brands partner with online content creators with significant followers in order to promote their products and services. This is because influencers have more engagement. They not only connect with their audience but activate their followers to comment and share their videos/posts and more importantly buy the items they promote. Although influencer marketing can be costly, it is believed to have a profitable ROI. It is no surprise as influencers can tap into their huge audience base that trusts them. In fact, 6 out of 10 people say they would buy from an influencer over T.V. personalities. Due to this, influencer marketing can be a great addition to a company’s social media strategy as it is impactful to the bottom line.
However, it’s not all smooth sailing when it comes to influencer marketing. The industry, netting nearly $5-$10 million in market value, has become highly saturated. It seems everyone these days has a promo code for HelloFresh and the likes! Companies also have to be careful of those they bring on to partner with their brands. It has been known that many influencers buy fake followers to increase their audience. On the flip side, influencers face many challenges and rewards too when they partake in such advertising. They also need to be weary of the brands they endorse. For example, YouTube recently saw influencers back away from DevaCurl for ethical reasons. There’s also a need to be always “on” and be creative to gain more followers which can become taxing on the individual.
As an audience however, I am concerned about the legitimacy of influencer marketing especially when I see nonprofessionals giving out advice. It’s interesting to note that sometimes these advertisements are not blatantly evident. Take for example Susan Yara of Mixed MakeUP. She does not hold any valid certification in dermatology, and that is not to say she cannot be an expert, but when she is critiquing dermatologists I do have some reservations. Recently she also came under fire for promoting a company without being upfront to her audience about the fact that she was one of its co-founders.
Which leads me to my questions, is there room for improvement when it comes to influencer marketing? Do you know of any examples where it has been tastefully done?