David McManus / October 23rd 2018

Do influencers really influence?

A recent study by The Drum and Buzzoole discussed the current state of affairs of influencer marketing, the report highlights the issues and concerns in the industry – and the importance of required regulation in the field. Brands are currently struggling to connect with effective influencers, and struggling to accurately measure their return on investment. There is also a growing concern about avoiding fraudulent influencers who buy fake followers.

Below are some interesting key findings from the report, which summarises the disarray within influencer marketing today.

  • An Instagram account with over a million followers can earn upwards of $50,000 for a single sponsored post (hence why accounts are buying fake followers).
  • 46% of marketers do not feel current advertising and industry guidelines for influencer posts are sufficient for transparency but 86% believe that influencer marketing needs to be regulated (the problem).
  • Only 2% of PR and marketing agencies have a specific influencer marketing team (the 2nd problem).

Marketers are clearly aware of the benefits involved with utilising influencers as an effective marketing tool. However, as this method of marketing is still unreliable, unregulated and under resourced, in terms of analytics – are brands still taking the risk with influencer marketing?

The answer in short, is yes.

29% of agencies are planning expansion with their influencer work next year – and to help marketers avoid any influencer related headaches or fraud – we’ve put together 3 risks that can arise from influencer marketing, and how to avoid them.


01: They only care about the money, money, money…

Celebrity influencers have a habit of failing to deliver on commitments. Their audiences may be largely fake, and also may become the targets of scandals or crisis situations that, by extension, could tarnish your company’s image as well. Sure, they can reach large audiences, but being in the limelight has drawbacks. Cristiano Ronaldo charges £308,000 for one Instagram post! Imagine paying such an extortionate fee, to then go through allegations…. Think to yourself… is your influencer influential?

Real employees and customers inspire better marketing traction than celebrity shills.


02: Mistakes happen, don’t let it be your brand that pays the price

To us, allowing the influencer to post without supervision is just insane.

Unquestionably, the aim of using an influencer is to encourage user generated content and for the post to feel as ‘natural’ as possible. However, the internet has a rich history of tarnishing brand reputations because of poor communication, and not checking content before it goes live (our favourite example is posted below).


‘Celebrity’ Scott Disick literally including his Instagram advertising direction, in his Instagram post. You had one job, the easiest job’.

It’s more than okay for you to ask for a draft post, and to make amendments where you see fit. If you establish a healthy relationship with the influencer, any miscommunication will be eliminated.


03: Big following doesn’t mean big results

It is of popular belief that the more users the “influencer” can reach (the more “followers” they have), the better, stronger and more of an “influence” they have.

Unfortunately, as much as the social media giants try to tackle the situation, fake followers are still live and kicking.

Tip: to calculate the effectiveness of the influencer, work out the engagement rate of the post. Below are some simple calculations you can use.

Engagement rate of image: Likes + Comments / Followers.
Engagement rate of video: Like + Comments + Views / Followers.

Building a working relationship with the influencer can eliminate falling for fake follower foes. If the influencer is unresponsive, and has a low engagement rate – then avoid them at all costs.

To conclude…

Whilst influencer marketing has proven to be successful (read here), it is vital that the practice is regulated, to help small businesses achieve a return on investment and create inspiring campaigns with the help of inspiring, influential individuals.