The Risks and Rewards of Influencer Marketing in 2024

When to Hire an Outside SEO Agency | Webtek Marketing

Table of Contents

As a digital marketing agency, we have a responsibility to our clients to stay abreast of the latest in marketing trends. We need to know what works and what doesn’t. And because things change, we can never let our guard down. A good case in point is influencer marketing. It has its rewards, but it also has its risks. It is definitely worth considering in 2024.

How prevalent is influencer marketing? A survey taken way back in 2017 indicated that some 84% of marketers were planning to execute at least one influencer marketing campaign that year. Fast forward to 2024 and some estimates suggest that companies could be investing upwards of $24 billion in influencer marketing by the end of this year.

Digital marketing agencies are tapping into influencers. That much is clear. But are they getting results? Like anything else in the digital marketing world, results depend on execution and audience. Some marketers do very well working with influencers. Others don’t.

The Rewards of Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is doing well enough that digital marketing agencies and their clients are sinking billions into it. That being the case, let us talk about some of the rewards of this particular marketing strategy. Citing statistics from the Digital Marketing Institute provides an excellent framework for doing so.

1. Consumers Trust Influencers

We digital marketers have known for a long time that consumers are more likely to trust social media friends and followers than actual brands. Guess what? They also trust influencers. Data suggests that 69% of modern consumers trust recommendations made by their favorite influencers. That is an astounding number by any measure.

2. Consumers Trust Social Media

Here is another startling statistic that plays right into the previous one: 75% of consumers use social media to find purchasing advice. That’s not necessarily new to digital marketing agencies. But guess where influencers ply their trade? On social media.

These first two statistics clearly illustrate the most important reward offered by influencer marketing: reaching audience members that are likely to buy your products. Find the right influencer resonating with your target audience and your sales should increase. At least that’s the theory.

3. Influencers Add Credibility to a Brand

Last but not least in the reward category is the reality that influencers add credibility to a brand. Remember that consumers trust what their favorite influencers have to say. So if an influencer pushes a particular brand, they also add credibility to that brand. A company could be virtually unknown one day and the hottest brand going the next.

The Risks of Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has the potential to catapult a brand into the spotlight in a rather short amount of time. Partnering with the right influencers could drive sales faster than any other marketing strategy. But as exciting and successful as influencer marketing can be, it does have its drawbacks. There are significant risks.

1. Influencers Can Go Off Script

A company producing marketing videos works with a script. In fact, entire marketing campaigns are scripted. That is not the way influencer marketing works. Influencers can go off script simply because they don’t work with scripted material. This is risky in the sense that an influencer could give a false impression about a brand, make unsubstantiated claims about a product, or say other things that could get a brand in trouble.

2. Influencers Aren’t Always Genuine

A big thing with today’s consumers, especially Gen Zers, is authenticity. They are not happy to find out that one of their favorite influencers isn’t really who they claim to be. Imagine a successful travel influencer caught faking videos. She isn’t really traveling. Instead, she uses advanced video editing techniques to fool her viewers.

Less-than-genuine influencers could ultimately end up harming a brand. Digital marketing agencies and their clients need to be incredibly careful to vet influencers for this reason.

3. It Could Be a One-Way Relationship

Successful influencer marketing is based on a partnership in which both parties benefit. The brand gets the benefit of the influencer’s sizable reach and effectiveness. The influencer gets paid to represent the brand. When all things work out well, everyone comes out a winner. Unfortunately, influencer marketing has the potential to become a one-way relationship.

Just because an influencer can reach millions of people with a single video doesn’t mean that a brand’s sales will increase commensurately. Moreover, likes, follows, and comments do not necessarily translate into dollars and cents. Ultimately, brands need to do more than reach larger numbers of customers. They need to convert those customers.

Paying an influencer without seeing a commensurate sales increase means investing in a one-way relationship. A brand is paying for influencer marketing but getting very little in return.

One Strategy Among Many

Influencer marketing has a place at the modern digital marketing table. There is no arguing that point. But as with so many other things in our industry, it is just one strategy among many. Yes, influencer marketing is worth considering. But a company should never put all its marketing eggs in the influencer basket.

Influencers are human beings. They get sick; they injure themselves; they even die. Influencers also make mistakes. They fail to honor contracts or live up to advertiser expectations. That is the way it works. Digital marketers need to weigh the risks and rewards accordingly.

As an accomplished digital marketing firm with offices in Salt Lake City, UT and Austin, TX, we would never say avoid influencer marketing altogether. If it is an appropriate strategy for your organization, go for it. But do not ignore other marketing strategies proven to work.

Remember things like SEO and content marketing. Consider the fact that your target audience may not be big on social media. Use influencer marketing as part of a comprehensive strategy designed to reach your target audience wherever they might be. The more strategies you can implement across your entire marketing ecosystem, the better your results are likely to be.

Like this article? Please share it