What you don’t know about Influencer Marketing


As brand managers/digital media strategists and business owners, we have marketing campaigns we want to make viral. We want to make our brands more believable and influential.

As the influence of social media networks almost became more important in brand promotions, there came a group of humans who also became pivotal to the process of building a brand via social media networks. They are called ‘brand influencers’.

In the last decade, these young men, women and some operating as actual companies have built personal, corporate image and credibility for themselves. They have millions, thousands and hundreds of followers who are locked to their community.

While many brands have attested to the positive benefits of using brand influencers to advance their objectives, recent trends have shown that there are more than meets the eye. When the marketing industry discovered some foul play, it was the case of brand influencers buying fake followers on social media networks with Twitter and Facebook being the worst hit.

However, as AI and fraud detection technology advanced, other non-detectable and nuanced means have been adopted by unscrupulous brand influencers. A typical scenario is the posting of fake sponsored content to appear more lucrative to brands. Brands who are oblivious of this sharp practice are wont to collaborate with these characters but they end up seeing the result in poor conversion and mis-match in targeting.

How can brands choose the right influencer?

It starts with understanding the difference between influencer advertising and influencer marketing. While the former is paying to gain access to the ‘captive audience’ (real or fake) of an influencer, the latter involves leveraging the sum total of an influencer’s knowledge, credibility, affinity and skills to make a brand gain credibility and patronage.

If we truly understand the last paragraph above, choosing an influencer becomes easier and brands can easily decipher whether they merely want to advertise through and influencer or do proper influencer marketing.

First Published on NEXTGEN, a weekly newsletter of SBI Media Limited.