7 Myths About Influencers: What are influencers like?

Sarah Donawerth
Sarah Donawerth
7 Myths About Influencers: What are influencers like?

There are many myths about influencers that circulate today. They’re lazy or they are just out to make a quick buck. However, influencer marketing is much more complex than that.

Here are 7 myths about influencers that aren’t true:

Myth 1: Influencers are lazy Millennials

Most of us can picture a Millennial in our heads. They probably have a phone in their hands, eat a lot of avocado toast, and like to take selfies in front of colorful, painted walls. Unfortunately, that stereotype comes from a misinterpretation of what millennials are striving for.

To shift your perspective– millennials are a connected generation and were the first generation to adopt the smartphone. Millennials are intentional about their purchasing habits, opting for avocado toast and other somewhat unique food choices instead of the previous generation’s fast food. While most cannot explain their affinity for colored walls, it is important to see the reasoning for millennial behaviors. While foreign to the baby boomers, millennial shopping habits can be correlated to cultural components to explain the rationale.

Job security, financial security, housing availability, and a whole host of other factors has shifted millennial behavior. In fact, millennials are some of the hardest working employees. 73% of millennials report working more than 40 hours per week (Source: Dynamic Signal). Over 25% say that they work more than 50 hours per week.

The myths about influencers not working hard is also not true. Influencers typically have a full-time job in addition to the content creation they accomplish. Imagine if your weekends were filled with photoshoots and caption writing! Being an influencer is typically a side hustle for these Millennials.

Forbes reports that 39% of workers ages 18-24 and 44% of workers 25-34 have a second job, compared to just 22% of workers aged 45-52. Clearly, millennials are getting a bad rap when it comes to hard work.

Myth 2: Influencers are just in it for themselves

Many influencers feel a very deep connection to their audience. They understand the high-level of responsibility they have been given to engage such a large number of followers.

According to Forbes, every influencer surveyed had turned down a brand at least once, citing their values or personal brand. They also cited creative freedom as a contributing factor.

There are definitely exceptions to every rule, but it’s clear that most successful influencers are striving for more than just the bottom line.

Myth 3: Influencers are a walking billboard for your brand

Influencers have a unique voice, perspective, and motivation. 5 minutes on an influencers feed will make it clear that they are speaking from a very genuine place. They won’t sacrifice their voice for a brand’s benefit.

Working with influencers involves a lot of creative freedom to let influencers best represent your product to their audience. If they are a quality influencer, then they won’t let you pass them a script and use them as a brand robot. Instead, work with influencers to create a message that you can both be proud of.

Myth 4: An Influencer’s follower count is most important

What’s the first thing a brand manager looks at? An influencer’s followers. However, this is no longer the metric for determining if an influencer is successful. Instagram influencer Arii was unable to sell 36 t-shirts to her over 2 million followers online (Source: Indy100).

To truly evaluate if an influencer can yield results, engagement is a better metric to follow. Do they have a lot of comments? Are the comments starting a conversation or just emoji hearts? What comments and questions are asked of the influencer? These assessments will help you determine if an influencer really has the right sort of audience for your brand.

With the rise of micro-influencers, follower count is even less important. Influencers with less than 10,000 followers are able to create genuine recommendations that their audience trusts. These trustworthy influencers can produce the engagement and interest that brands are looking for.

Myth 5: Influencers do everything themselves

To quote Into the Woods, “No One is Alone.”

When looking at influencer posts, remember who is working behind the scenes. Top Instagram influencers may have an entire staff working for them, but even smaller influencers have someone holding the camera sometimes to get the perfect shot. Influencers may be using the help of friends and family in order to create the best imagery for their platform.

Influencers may have the help of virtual assistants or people to answer the messages, comments, and shares that flood in. When considering using an influencer, your brand may want to include an additional product that influencers can gift to the people involved with their work. You should also be aware that certain ideas for your influencers could require additional hands on deck.

Myth 6: Influencers are all the same

The myths about influencers all looking, talking, or acting the same is probably the biggest fallacy of the industry. Influencers are more diverse and varied than anyone can calculate. Every influencer has a unique voice, aesthetic, and perspective that they are sharing with their followers. There are hundreds of niches that influencers can be categorized with, including lifestyle, DIY, fashion, photography, health/wellness, beauty, etc.

Every interest on the internet has its own set of influencers. Just because one influencer worked for free product, doesn’t mean that another will. Just because you had poor ROI with one influencer, doesn’t mean that influencer marketing can’t work for your brand. Influencers are all different.

Myth 7: Influencers can’t generate results

Many brands are starting to believe that influencer marketing doesn’t have a real impact on sales, but they couldn’t be further from the truth. Current projects estimate $8 billion in spending by 2020 on Instagram influencer marketing alone, according to Relatable.

Influencer marketing can produce 11x more ROI compared to other traditional advertising channels, like banner ads (Sources: Grin.co, Convince and Convert, and Single Grain).

Stop questioning if it works, and instead question “How am I going to track the results?” Each influencer accomplishes different results, so how do brands know which influencer can generate the biggest buzz?

59% of marketers use clicks to measure the ROI of influencer marketing (Source: Content Marketing Institute). Setting a clear goal for the campaign, such as brand awareness, conversions, or reaching new leads, will dictate which metric you will use to track the results of the influencer’s efforts.

Before you dive into influencer marketing, it is important to understand that the stereotypes are not always the standard. Yes, there are probably a group of influencers that are setting a bad example and creating these bad impressions, but that shouldn’t dictate how brands move forward with influencer marketing. Take the time to get to know an influencer, set clear expectations, and build a relationship will ensure that you both get what you are looking for out of the influencer-brand partnership. These myths about influencers shouldn’t hold you back from experimenting with influencer marketing and finding a winning formula.

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