“There are exceptional people out there who are capable of starting epidemics. All you have to do is find them.”
This quote from Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point aptly captures the essence of Influencer Marketing. Social media influencers are capable of extraordinary persuasion and trust, and they need not necessarily be celebrities. Influencer marketing functions on this credibility of commoners and is slowly overtaking other traditional forms.
The global Influencer market is expected to reach 24 billion USD by 2025. With customers becoming increasingly cynical about big brand direct advertisements, influencer marketing offers a more effective and personalized way.
But finding the right influencer is a gamble, and a lot can go wrong, from ineffective campaigns to influencer frauds. So here are some of the most important boxes to check
It doesn’t take much time to find an influencer. They are everywhere on social media platforms. Influencer marketing agencies can identify many influencers for a niche, but how can they ensure that it’s the right influencer for the right brand?
One of the biggest fiascos in influencer marketing was when Ian Botham endorsed Snickers. When the cricketer started posting content relating to food instead of his usual cricketing stuff, his followers erupted and started trolling him, and some even thought his account was hacked.
This is a common occurrence in influencer marketing, where an influencer’s popularity alone is considered for a brand, where the risks could be as costly as the Snicker-Botham collab. Finding influencers in a broad category is feasible, whereas identifying influencers in a specific subcategory has always been a daunting challenge. For example, a health and fitness influencer can endorse a bodybuilding supplement. But what if the influencer is more of a Yoga and Mindfulness advocate? The brand and message would be the polar opposite.
But with the help of AI, a vast amount of details about the influencer, their followers, interest, and demography can be extracted. The target audience’s interest, the preferred form of content, and association can be analyzed. These data can be matched with the brand’s requirements, and agencies can then make an informed decision.
Right kind of influencing
Most social media influencers are not marketers or advertisers. They are just ordinary people who create engaging content. So how do you get them to resonate with your brand’s value? While agencies have the tough task of bridging the gap between the brand guidelines and influencer practices, How efficiently can they communicate the brand’s message?
When Kim Kardashian endorsed a morning sickness pill from the Canadian pharma company Duchesnay, the last thing she would’ve expected was a notice from the FDA for flouting the rules on endorsing health products. The FDA came down hard on Kim’s post for not disclosing the product’s full side effects, as was the regulation.
Brand guidelines are mostly overlooked in influencer marketing due to their casual form, which sometimes hurts both the influencer’s and the brand’s image, like the example above.
AI can be used for compiling and drafting brand guidelines and matching them with an influencer for a particular marketing strategy. The result can be a high-focus marketing strategy that would deliver the brand’s message intact. These guidelines can also be used for scaling up when working with many influencers.
Right way of influencing
After identifying the right influencer and the right approach for the collaboration, the next step is to assess the success of the whole campaign. But is there any clearly defined success measure for influencer marketing? Or any tangible KPIs?
Studies show that 85% of FMGCs have faced a negative impact due to influencer marketing.
There is no denying that influencer marketing is an excellent way of branding, but there are a few reasons why certain industries are wary of it. For instance, fake influencers have caused a loss of 1.9 billion USD in the year 2019.
Social media engagement tools can check the influencers’ engagement level and help spot common red flags. But they don’t provide any estimate on the potential returns from the project. The existing measure to determine the ROI of a campaign is EMV(Earned Media valve). This metric is calculated using the historical data of previous influencer campaigns and is highly complicated.
AI and NLP can help agencies scan through a vast number of influencers’ profiles and identify any anomalies that indicate influencer fraud. AI can also study the influencer’s campaign and derive multiple metrics on benchmarks, seasonal trends, brand-influencer combinations, etc., to compute the ROI.
This will give a clear picture of the results and can also be used to draw insights to steer other campaigns.
AI, AI, Captain
Influencer marketing is still a mostly unregulated practice with its own merits and demerits. And without proper insights, it’s a difficult path to tread on. AI tools extract data on different social media graphs, provide analytics and insights on demography, streamline identifying the right influencer, and formulate the performance trend.
But AI’s scope can even extend to specific and focused functionality of changing marketing mediums. By breaking down common obstacles and drafting clear end goals and practices, AI can revamp the whole influencer marketing practice and render it a profitable endeavor.
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