Social media has seen a phenomenal rise since it entered the worldwide web in the early 2000s. From the now-defunct Multiply, Friendster, and Myspace, sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube now take a big chunk of social media and digital marketing strategies.
With the rise of social media came the rise of social media influencers who continue to be a vital force in online marketing. Before, company-produced ads that showcase what the brand can do for the public have been working. That’s why print and TV ads with price ranges that go up to millions of dollars used to be the domain of big businesses who could afford such productions. Small and medium companies had to settle for second-rate ad placements, and it is a big shot for them to afford any time slot because of the money involved. Before, marketing used to connote lots of money to spend.
These days, social media and digital marketing have made it possible for not only small and medium enterprises but even for startups, to afford to advertise. It is incredible to think that just a few years would make this much difference. Online innovations surely are leveling out the field for everyone, both for consumers and producers.
Social media influencing is a new online marketing strategy where companies partner up with top bloggers, celebrities, and models who can speak up for the brand. It is not the sort of advertisement where everything is staged complete with perfect lighting and sounds. It is now about being “natural” about the entire thing.
The social media influencer can merely post a selfie with her perfectly groomed eyebrows, and attribute the look to this Eyebrow A brand. Or he/she can stay in a hotel and post a perfectly shot photo in the room or beside the hotel pool, and rave about the excellent service and price. It’s sponsored, for sure, but the social media star makes the post look as if it’s all real and a personal choice to make.
You may be surprised at the price that the company pays for every sponsored post. The more “influential” a person is, the more expensive the price gets. For example, Kim Kardashian reportedly charges up to $500,000 per sponsored post. That’s far off from the industry standard of $763 per post for influencers with at least $100,000 followers.
It sounds expensive, but to put these prices side-by-side with print and TV ads, partnering with social media influencers is a far cheaper strategy to take. It also proves to be effective, especially with the already massive following of many of these stars.
Social media influencers play a prominent role in encouraging people to try a company’s products. For popular models, celebrities, and bloggers, it is a worthy price to pay for brands. Every post means a lot to their millions of followers, so the influence that every post gets is far and wide.
However, even those who haven’t proven themselves just yet tend to overshoot their rates to keep up with these stars. Companies used to fall for these until an industry average was released and they knew better.
Although tapping a social media influencer has now become famous, some companies are not buying this hype. These are some of their reasons as to why they think it is overrated:
#1: It is difficult to measure the organic reach
If you look closely at social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, you will realize that it is so easy for posts to get dumped on by new feeds. Therefore, what may be popular at this minute may be turned around by a new post in a few minutes. The exposure is so short that you cannot appreciate the marketing reach that you are paying for on social media.
The influencer may have lots of followers, but how do you measure how far they can go about promoting your brand beyond publishing a post about it? There is also the question of the integrity of followers and likes, where buying followers and likes are now made easier and affordable. Many companies online are getting competitive with their rates, and so even if you are a small business, you can still afford to “buy your fans.” One of the cheapest in the market allows you to pay $30 for 1,000 instant followers!
But of course, as anyone would know, this tactic does more harm than good. You are spending money on people who have no interest whatsoever in your brand. You are selling your product to a dead-end set of followers, who will only like and comment on your photos once you send your payments. If you have thousands and millions of followers in place, it is difficult to sift through the real and fake likes. This lack of integrity is one of the reasons why some companies still opt to go for search engine ads.
#2: People use social media for different reasons
Social media is called such for a reason, right? It is on this platform that people share and connect with their family, friends, and acquaintances. The romantic idea of meeting a hot stranger online, connecting well with him/her, both of you deciding to meet offline, and everything going well happens once in a blue moon. You use social media with people you know, and you mainly use it to connect with them. You don’t log in to your accounts to check the latest brand of bag, or to check the newest fitness trend. You have search engines to give you that.
Because people use social media to communicate with whom they know, the idea of having ads pop up on your screen every few minutes can get annoying to many. Instead of marketing your brand, the marketing idea may even backlash.
Despite these reasons, though, as of now, we cannot say just yet that social media influencers are overrated because the strategy is working for many brands. However, the price for every post keeps on rising every year, making it unaffordable for small and medium businesses. The most famous stars have the most influence, so it is crucial for companies to know whom to tap for optimum return on investment.
Author: Jason Berkowitz
Since 2010, Jason has been making moves for the SEO industry in New York City. An advanced digital marketing specialist and CEO of two very successful marketing agencies, SEO Services New York & Break The Web, Jason utilizes out-of- the-norm strategies to provide tangible results online. Jason has been featured in Business.com, Social Media Today, CareerBuilder and more.