By Connor Nolan
Influencer marketing has been praised as a way to communicate a brand’s message to a specific target audience, through a trusted source unique to that of a brand. Individual content creators have amassed social media followings base on their unique style, personality, abilities, and subject-matter expertise. Their credibility in the eyes of their fans makes them the ideal spokesperson for a company whose product aligns with the wants and needs of their following. The premise behind influencer marketing remains solid and companies believe in its ability to promote a brand. According to Hubspot, Google searches for “influencer marketing” grew 1500% in the last three years, and 71% of marketers say the quality of customers and traffic from influencer marketing is better than other sources. But is the increase of brand awareness materializing into sales dollars? Does influence marketing work live up to the hype, or will its practice fall to the wayside?
Much of the skepticism around the returns from influencer marketing has come from recent interactions influencers have had with hotel owners. Here’s a example of what’s now being called #Bloggergate.
Influencer blogger Elle Darby was contacting Dublin-based hotels for her upcoming vacation. In her email, she was pitching a showcase of their facility to her social media following for free room and board. The hotel flat-out refused and even issued a statement saying it would never offer influencers accommodation in exchange for exposure. From a pragmatic point of view, this resiliency against influencer marketing makes sense, due to the difficulty in forming a causal relationship between this and sales.
Measuring the success of influencer marketing has mostly been focused on community engagement. This can be in the form of various interactions such as likes, shares, comments, retweets, mentions, direct messages, and reposts on other social media channels. While the numbers of these interactions can be tracked through third-party programs like Fohr, the conversation rate from each of these various interactions is still hard to measure. Granted specific social media campaigns like online purchases sourced influencer-posted discount codes can be tracked, knowing how influencer marketing has swayed non-participating followers is yet to be determined.