Influencers: Perks and pitfalls
According to Statista, influencer marketing is projected to be a $2.38 billion market by 2019.
“Influencers can boost your brand awareness, make a positive association and give you something interesting to talk about outside of your products," Reay said. "However, you’re at risk of those influencers losing their value or reputation overnight. Use influencers, absolutely, but never rely on them 100% and know when to jump ship.”
The analysts at Socialbakers have another word of warning: beware of influencers who have ‘purchased’ fake followers to boost their profile.
While there is no fail-proof way to identify fake accounts among the real ones, tracking data on the metrics around influencer marketing – followers, engagement and interests – can allow businesses to identify fake accounts.
If a user has a sharp spike in followers at a time when its posting rates and interactions remain unchanged, this is suspicious.
This week (19 November) Instagram announced a strategy to 'reduce inauthentic activity'.
But brands can try to minimise the risk of working with influencers whose followers are fake by looking at two data points: the influencer’s performance over a given period of time, for example six months, and his or her engagement level per 1,000 fans, Socialbakers' report said.
“The former metric allows marketers to easily spot spikes of followers and performance that can highlight fake activity and the latter metric gives a clear insight into whether the influencer’s followers are actually engaging with the topics that resonate with the brand’s audience.
“In addition, benchmarking the performance of a few influencers over time can also greatly help to identify anomalies that are a result of fraud.”
Reay added: “Choose influencers that align with your brand values. Work with them to weave the association with your brand genuinely into their content and posts, always making it clear when it's a paid promotion.”