Five Misconceptions of an Influencer

Everyone always talks about what an influencer is, but do you know what the common misconceptions of an influencer are?  I did a bit of digging and to my surprise, there actually isn’t much on this subject. I think I found more on failed influencer marketing campaigns I mean, I confess, it is much easier to share my thoughts on what an influencer is and how to incorporate them into a digital marketing campaign.  So, my approach in this instance was to look at articles on spotting fake influencers or failed influencer marketing campaigns and identify the most common denominators across these articles. And, ‘Wallah’, here you have the five most common misconceptions of an influencer.

  1. Does size really matter? More often than not, we think the bigger the following the greater the influence and impact on revenue.  Although this is true, then how do you explain the power of the micro influencer. The ones with the smaller, more niche following?  It all boils down to finding the right influencer, regardless of size, that aligns with your business values and customer needs.
  2. When the bark is louder than the bite. Having an opinion is one thing, but having an opinion that actually means something and drives impact, are two separate things.  Social media has empowered everyone to voice their opinion on any subject, regardless if they are an expert in that subject matter, on any and every social media or messenger application out there.  In the end, influence is about having an opinion that actually gets someone to ‘bite’. After all, anyone can create a Twitter account these days and sound off.
  3. Disruption: Influencer or Troll? Trolls share similar characteristics to an influencer.  For instance, their posts have high virality or engagement rates, but the difference is the intent of the post.  Like influencers, trolls will share their opinion in an effort to drive the conversation and potentially cause a bit of disruption.  However, it is important to look at the value of that post, conversation or engagement. Trolls definitely disrupt and typically do with malicious intent by baiting their audience.  Influencers disrupt as a means to encourage a different way of thinking or doing something. An influencer is a trusted ‘advisor’ unlike a troll, who is often seen as a pest or shit stirrer. 

  4. Follower to Engagement Ratio. A very common misconception that people have is that the higher the followers the greater the influence.  I would even say it’s probably one of the greatest illusion that is easily attainable with the use of one’s favorite credit card.  A telltale sign that someone bought their followers is that the ratio of engagement to followers is way off. For instance, someone may have a 100K or even 1M followers but only 100 engagements (i.e. post likes, comments, or shares). With that amount of followers, the engagement rate should be in the thousands if not tens of thousands.  You can even use a helpful and free tool called, Social Blade, to identify who has bought influencers.

  5. Content and Comment QA (quality assurance).They may share hundreds or thousands of posts a month, but sometimes their content is just contributing to the noise and not really having any real impact.  Even in some instances the imagery or copy is a mere stock image with a picture of them photoshopped in or stolen from an actual influencer. So, don’t be fooled by the number of posts but be sure to measure the quality of the content by taking a good look at the engagement rate.  It’s a bit harder to identify if the post is actually original content or imagery, but I would take a look at the engagement to follower ratio and check the consistency of the engagement rate across their most recent posts. Now while you’re looking at the engagement rate, I would venture to take a closer look at the type of commentary the posts are getting.  If you see comments that are just emojis or generic statements that would work on any kind of content like, ‘love it’, ‘great pic’ or beautiful. The more generic the more likely they are fake followers or spammers and that’s not an audience you want to invest in.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t read or see something about the rise of influencers.  Influencer marketing has taken off over the last few years and there’s a bit of #FOMO with marketers that don’t have an influencer game plan.  This feeling of #FOMO is making them even more anxious to find a quick fix and taking the bait of putting their money on the ‘influencer’ with the highest follower or virality.  Take the time to build the right influencer program and take these five common misconceptions into consideration when selecting an influencer. If you were, ‘late to the game’, then what’s another day, week or month to do the right thing for your business?

Hope this article was helpful.  Would love to hear what you think and more than the ‘cool article’ type of thought.  So feel free to comment below.

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Pegah Kamal

Author: Pegah Kamal

My passion is to help build human connections in a vastly digital world- through memorable experiences and relatable stories.

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SEO Service
3 years ago

Awesome post! Keep up the great work! 🙂

3 years ago

Great content! Super high-quality! Keep it up! 🙂

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