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5 Ways Most Marketers Misunderstand Influencer Marketing

5 Ways Most Marketers Misunderstand Influencer Marketing
Image credit: Andranik Hakobyan | Getty Images
Guest Writer
Startup Advisor, Freelance Writer and Marketing Specialist
5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Influencer marketing has become one of, if not the most powerful, tool in a marketing team's toolbox today. With the majority of brands using this new technique in 2016, it's not expected to disappear anytime soon. In fact, research shows that it's probably going to continue growing throughout 2017.

The reason for this is that people no longer trust brands. Many are no longer influenced by traditional advertising techniques, as they are influenced by people they trust and respect. However, a lot of brands are still misunderstanding the term "influencer marketing," thus making it an efficient promotional tool.

Related: How to Create a Successful Influencer Marketing Campaign

With this in mind, I've outlined five ways in which the term, "influencer marketing," is still being misconstrued so that you can make the adequate changes within your strategy.

1. Influencers are not professional media people.

Influencers are not professional media people; rather, they are experts in their field, academics, and consultants who are not marketing gurus. They are individuals who know a great deal about specific subject matter. Influencers are not driven by traditional advertising, which means their reasons for being active on social platforms are very different to those of a typical media outlet.

More importantly, influencers are not looking at and evaluating the common marketing metrics that you and I view. Instead, they're focused on learning from their peers and other influencers to share their knowledge with their following. You may believe this won't get you the results you want, but on the contrary, this natural and authentic drive is what builds trust between your brand and your audience.

Related: How to Make Millions Online Through Influencer Marketing

2. Influencer marketing isn't an opportunity for brands to sit back and relax.

You may or may not be paying for your influencer. Either way, it's not an opportunity for you to sit back and watch the magic happen. Unfortunately, influencer marketing is not a way for you to shovel work onto another person's's an opportunity for you to branch out to new channels.

The only way for you to make sure you get the most out of your influencer marketing campaigns is to work closely with the influencer in order to create content that's relevant to your brand. You need to follow what they do, share and like their posts on your channels, as well as boost their efforts with the backup of your in-house marketing team.

If anything, adopting influencer marketing involves more effort. It requires you to evaluate its success and continuously optimize it in order to accomplish the results you set out to achieve. If you sit back and watch from a distance, your investment will be wasted.

Related: How to Succeed at Product Placement Without Celebrities

3. Influencer marketing is not just about big celebrity names.

Originally, having a big name as an influencer was thought to be the best way to reach a larger, more widespread audience. Consumers have caught up, and are now aware that these renowned celebrities are largely inauthentic, with social media channels run by teams with deceptive marketing techniques.

Micro -- and mid-tier influencers have smaller followings, but they provide more specific and localized reach. They are industry leaders with a proven track record and are experts in their field. As a result, they're generally more respected and may come at a lower cost, meaning your return on investment would be larger.

4. Influencer marketing does not have a short-term focus.

Many have been under the impression that influencer marketing is relevant to one campaign and once that campaign is complete, it's time to move on to the next best thing. First, for your influencer marketing campaign to be effective, you need to cultivate a real and authentic relationship with the influencer you have chosen. You need to know him or her and vice versa so that you can be sure you work well together.

You also need to know that your influencer is able to connect with your audiences so that you can create a more meaningful relationship with them. Put simply, your influencer marketing campaigns are about building relationships, both internally and with your consumers that will stand the test of time.

Related: Eight Tips to Create a Successful Influencer Marketing Campaign

5. Influencer marketing is not a tactic.

Influencer marketing isn't just a tactic you can deploy to quickly get more people to buy your products whenever you need a sales boost. It's a long-term strategy that needs to be incorporated into every aspect of your marketing plan. Your influencer needs to be involved from the moment the concept of your campaign is being established and all the way through to its execution.

Related: How to Get a Great ROI on Your Influencer Marketing Plan


Although brands of all kinds have benefited from implementing influencer marketing strategies into their marketing plans, others have struggled to do so efficiently. While big budgets and world renowned celebrity statuses may seem like a quick fix, they're not. Not anymore.

Ignore some of the misconceptions surrounding influencer marketing and remember to put in the same amount of research and hard work you would with any other of your marketing efforts in order to ensure your campaigns are highly successful.

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