5 Marketing Alternatives to Avoid the Risks of Influencer Marketing

The influencer marketing industry has witnessed significant growth in recent years. Instead of investing in building trust with their audience, businesses can now shortcut this effort by collaborating with influencers who already have the trust of their audience, acting as intermediaries between the brand and its audience.

However, this isn’t the whole picture. Many businesses fail to see the other side of influencer marketing, which involves significant risks and high costs. In this article, we’ll explore the risks of influencer marketing and offer safer and more effective marketing alternatives for every ambitious business.

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is a strategy through which brands and companies establish collaborative relationships with content creators on digital platforms – such as Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and blogs – for influencers to promote the brand to their audience.

The main advantage of influencer marketing was “trust”; people trust influencers’ recommendations more than direct advertisements.

Influencers set fees for each post, or they can offer packages at prices depending on the type of post, format, and product being promoted. The value of these fees may also depend on the influencer’s number of followers, engagement rate, previous collaborations, and many other factors.

With the boosting popularity of social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, influencer marketing has become a regular marketing strategy for growing brands. Many large and small brands employ influencers to create content for them and showcase their products and services to a larger target audience.

Is Influencer Marketing Suitable for Your Business?

Many believe that the popularity of influencer marketing is on the decline. It’s expected that influencer marketing will not remain one of the strongest digital marketing strategies in the coming years. This is due to several reasons:

1 . Very Costly

It’s expected that this industry will reach a value of 13.8 billion dollars by the end of 2023. However, this massive figure could be indicative of the end of the golden age of influencer marketing.

According to a recent report, brands spend around $174 for every piece of content created by influencers. And these prices increase every year. Thus, using influencers for advertising has become more costly for brands.

Estimates suggest that the influencer industry will reach a value of 13.8 billion dollars by the end of 2023. With this immense boost in market value, competition also intensifies. Amidst all this, you’ll need to invest a lot of money and time in finding the right influencer for your brand.

Contracting with influencers is not cheap at all, especially when compared to other marketing strategies like content marketing and customer retention programs.

Dealing with influencers can become very expensive if you’re targeting prominent influencers with a massive number of followers. Influencers charge fees for their services per post, based on their reach and engagement rate. You’ll also need to cover additional expenses like gifts, event sponsorships, and contests.

Therefore, influencer marketing costs may pose a barrier to start-ups or small companies with limited marketing budgets or companies that want to work with multiple influencers simultaneously.

2. Relying Solely on It Is a Major Risk

Relying solely on influencer marketing to promote your brand poses a significant risk. If the influencer fails to create engaging content, their promotional efforts may falter or even work against your brand.

Influencer marketing, in general, is a challenging and risky marketing strategy. It heavily relies on the influencer’s ability to create compelling content that resonates with their audience. It’s essential to consider the risks and potential benefits of influencer marketing before making an investment decision.

3. Uncertain and Difficult-to-Measure Return on Investment (ROI)

The results of influencer marketing may take time to materialize. For instance, while influencer marketing can boost awareness of your brand or product, it may take some time for that awareness to translate into sales.

There are other challenges with influencer marketing, such as tracking sales and attributing them directly to influencer campaigns. You can track discount codes or referral links associated with a specific post. However, directly attributing a sale to a specific influencer or campaign can be challenging, especially if the customer sees multiple promotional posts from you in different places.

Likes, comments, shares, and followers alone don’t clearly indicate the influencer’s contribution to purchase decisions. Unfortunately, some influencers resort to buying followers and engagement to gain false popularity. Therefore, you can’t predict the return on investment or the sales volume that influencer marketing will generate for you.

Also read: Unlocking Instagram Algorithm Secrets in 2024

4. Declining “authenticity” of influencers among the audience

The audience has started to perceive influencers as inauthentic for several reasons, including their sharing of content endorsing specific brands, indicating they receive financial support from them, without transparency on this matter. Additionally, influencers often portray idealistic and superficial lifestyles on social media platforms that the audience cannot relate to in reality.

5. Finding the right influencer to represent your brand can be challenging

A recent study showed that 61% of marketers spend a lot of time and effort finding the right influencers for their marketing campaigns. It’s not just about finding a group of influencers and reaching out to them; the real challenge is ensuring that their target audience is similar to yours or interested in what you offer.

When a brand collaborates with an influencer, they should ensure that the marketing content they create aligns with the brand’s values and message.

However, influencers are independent individuals with their own visions and creative styles, and they may interpret the brand differently from what is intended. This can lead to content that does not align with your brand or even contradicts it.

For example, an influencer might post an image or video that includes offensive or controversial content, or contains inaccurate information. This could damage your brand’s reputation and expose you to legal issues.

Lack of trust can have serious consequences for brands. If brands choose the wrong influencer, they may lose their credibility.

6. Short-term impact of influencer marketing

Influencer marketing can be beneficial in generating brand awareness and boosting engagement in the short term. However, it may not have a lasting impact on sales or brand reputation.

The main reason for this is that influencer marketing aims to promote specific products or services rather than building long-term relationships with customers. While the audience may engage with the influencer’s content and make purchases based on their recommendation, they may not become loyal customers to the brand over time.

Read more: What is Content Marketing and What Are Its Types?

Alternatives to influencer marketing

Influencer marketing isn’t the only way to market your business and brand. There are powerful marketing alternatives that you can invest in confidently and securely, with lower costs and greater impact. Some of these alternatives include:

Targeted Advertising

Targeted advertising allows you to directly promote your products and services to your target audience and increase the likelihood of sales for them, across most social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

However, you should consider that conversions become much lower, ad-blocking tools are on the rise, and younger generations are less affected by advertisements.

The key here is to use images and videos that can capture users’ attention because their news feeds are already filled with many friends’ images and entertaining videos. You can also engage with user-generated content and much more.

Engagement and Messaging on Social Media Platforms

This may seem like a simple marketing tactic, but it’s highly effective in getting closer to your audience. Utilize Facebook Messenger, Instagram direct messages, and other social media messaging platforms to engage potential customers.

This type of personal communication enhances trust in your brand among potential customers. However, avoid sending random messages as users generally dislike this approach.

You can answer their queries in a simple and clear language, and even add some emojis to show them that you’re genuinely interested in them.

Viral Content

Don’t underestimate the power of viral content like short videos and funny memes. We’ve all come to realize the attention-grabbing potential of this type of content, and you can leverage it to capture the audience’s attention and engage with them, especially if your target audience is Millennials or Gen Z.

The challenge with this type of content is that you never know what to post or when to post it to make it go viral. However, the idea is to add more diversity to your marketing content by sharing enjoyable content that piques people’s interest and makes them smile.

Contests and Giveaways

Contests and challenges attract a lot of attention, yet it’s likely that most of those drawn to the contest or event will unfollow you after it ends. However, some may stick around if they liked what they saw. Therefore, it’s best not to overdo this marketing strategy and use it only occasionally.

High-Quality Marketing Content

Professional marketing content isn’t just about professionally designed and produced images and videos. It’s the type of content that resonates with your target audience, aligns with their interests and desires, and engages them in a way that encourages them to stay with you.

This marketing strategy aims to build brand reputation. Users begin to associate the brand with the information, data, parts of content, and products that truly matter to them. It’s a long-term strategy, where the created content must be consistent enough to represent the brand.

When it comes to content, quality always outweighs quantity.

The above doesn’t mean there are only 5 alternatives to influencer marketing. Social media platforms evolve constantly, offering us new avenues. And your evolution is ongoing too; you can always innovate new products, services, and innovative marketing methods for them.

Also, our goal isn’t to say you shouldn’t use influencer marketing; this type of digital marketing has its drawbacks, but it’s still highly effective. Perhaps it’s best to employ a marketing plan that combines available digital marketing methods or selects the best-suited one’s for you.

But no matter the methods you use to market your brand, remember that each requires an understanding of your audience and their needs. Otherwise, marketing won’t be effective at all, and your marketing budget will deplete.

Want to discover the best digital marketing strategies for your business? Get your answer from specialized experts in branding, content creation, and digital marketing. Contact UFUK today!

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