For fashion brands, the ever evolving world of influencer marketing has at times felt like the Wild West.
As companies concede to the power of influencers, they’ve been forced to experiment with best practices and strategies to maximize their return on investment. However, thanks to no precedent and also murky protocols surrounding sponsored post disclosure regulations, brands and influencers are working together to pave their own way. As a result, as the industry continues to develop, there are several misconceptions and misunderstandings about influencers and how they fit into brand marketing efforts.
We asked attendees at Glossy’s Hot Topic: Influencer Marketing event on Thursday what they think is the biggest myth in influencer marketing. The following responses have been lightly edited for clarity.
Leah Jackson, fashion writer, FashInvest
The biggest myth in influencer marketing is the more followers you have, the more influential you’ll be when you’re advertising a product. It’s important to have an authentic relationship with the brand and also the product, and [to fit] the brand image, but it’s also [important] to be really thorough with your followers about how often you wear an item, why you like it, why it’s your favorite and how it fits you.
James Reid, senior brand partner, Collectively
I think the biggest myth is that audience size matters. Just because someone has a million followers doesn’t necessarily mean they’re influential or of comparable influence to someone with, like, 100,000 followers. Bigger is not always better.
Reshma Chamberlin, co-founder, Summersault
The biggest myth is that all influencers are really snotty, pretentious and un-relatable, especially as their followers grow. We’re all human beings, we all have our flaws, I’ve run my own agency, and now I run my own startup. These influencers are just as serious as we are. They may be younger and not as much of a well-oiled machine, versus bigger influencers that are behemoths, but they’re serious about their businesses. Do your research. Approach people that align with your brand. I’ve spent so many hours on Instagram, and there are so many people I genuinely follow and have been lusting over what they’ve been doing for years. Reach out to those people so your relationship can be genuine. You can trust influencers if they align with your brand.
Nicole Kliest, editorial lead, Orchard Mile
I’ve talked to a lot of people that don’t really see the ROI for influencers. They claim they’re not seeing actual conversions, or they say, “I’m doing these press trips, and it’s a lot of money, and I don’t see how it benefits my brand or my company.” I respond by saying that I’ve seen — through conversations with bloggers or friends that work in fashion — that this awareness really does make an impact. But awareness, in general, is a hard thing to measure.
Bonnie Barest, former fashion and beauty media consultant
The biggest myth of influencer marketing is that influencers are often better voices than editorial authorities. I think both are great, and it depends on who’s behind the voice. Digital and social media has taken over the authoritative voice, versus editors. Legacy editors with clout can compete, and ultimately, I think legacy publishers have embraced influencers. It’s an exciting time for both.
Christopher Floccare, account executive, Awin Publisher Services
The biggest myth is that actual value of influence can’t be measured. I work for a technology provider that recently developed an influencer tracking model. It’s on a performance basis, so [for] people who want to understand the journey of the sale. I’ve heard lots of people here say, “I don’t understand the return on investment,” and, “I don’t understand touch points and how to value how much I’m spending versus what I’m spending in return.” Unfortunately, there’s a lot of confusion.