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Pros and Cons of Influencer Marketing - Is it right for your business?

Pros and Cons of Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has become one of the hottest online marketing trends over the past few years. Social media influencers with large, engaged followings can provide incredible value for brands looking to reach new audiences and drive awareness. However, influencer marketing also comes with some potential risks and downsides to consider. Let's take a balanced look at the major pros and cons of influencer campaigns to help you determine if it's the right marketing tactic for your business right now.

The potential benefits of influencer marketing

Influencer marketing partnerships can provide numerous potential advantages that make them an appealing promotion avenue for many brands and businesses today. Here are some of the major ways influencer marketing can benefit your brand when done strategically.

Expanded reach and awareness

One of the biggest advantages of partnering with social media influencers is the ability to tap into their existing audience and get your brand and messaging in front of tens of thousands or even millions of new potential customers. Even nano and micro-influencers with just thousands of engaged followers can expand your brand's reach to fresh new demographics and geographies.

Increased trust and credibility

Influencers often have very loyal, engaged followers who look to them for recommendations and opinions. Their stamp of approval provides a level of third-party validation and implied endorsement for your products or services. Consumers today crave authenticity and are more likely to trust an influencer than traditional ads or celebrity endorsements.

Cost-effective promotion

Compared to the rising costs of paid social and digital ads, influencer marketing can be a budget-friendly way to get brand exposure and organic reach. Micro-influencer campaigns, in particular, are very affordable compared to celebrity or top-tier influencers.

Valuable content assets

The social media posts, blogs, videos, and other content created by influencers for your campaign can be repurposed by your brand across other marketing channels. These high-quality co-created assets help boost your own content library.

Social proof and word-of-mouth

Positive mentions and reviews from influencers provide social proof for your products. Their content often gets widely shared, sparking organic WOM marketing from their followers and networks. This can help build brand credibility and trust.

Potential cons or downsides to consider

However, influencer marketing also comes with some unique risks and downsides that brands need to be aware of. Here are some of the potential cons to weigh when considering influencer collaborations.

Loss of control over messaging

When partnering with influencers, brands cede some control over how products get positioned and messaged. Relying on an outside spokesperson means you can't control everything they say or post about your company.

Inauthentic or cringe promotions

There's always a risk that an influencer partnership results in posts, tweets, or content that feel overly promotional or inauthentic to their audience. Forced or fake-seeming influencer endorsements can backfire and turn followers off.

Limited shelf life

A single influencer campaign provides value for a limited period. The awareness and engagement generated around posts tend to spike initially then fade rather quickly. To keep momentum going, ongoing influencer partnerships are ideal.

Risk of poor ROI

Like any new marketing investment, there's a risk you may not get the desired boost in sales or conversions. Make sure to clarify goals, metrics, and tangible ROI from influencer campaigns before diving in. Track referral traffic and sales to optimize for ROI.

Negative associations

In rare cases, bad judgment by an influencer such as offensive remarks or controversial actions could result in negative associations with your brand. Do your due diligence vetting potential influencer partners.

Follower fraud issues

Unfortunately, some influencers artificially inflate their followings through bots, purchased followers, and other fraudulent means. Scrutinize engagement rates and quality of followers to avoid fake influencers.

Weighing the pros and cons for your brand

Overall, influencer marketing provides powerful opportunities to increase reach, trust, engagement, and sales when done strategically. But it also comes with some unique risks and variables. Assess your specific marketing objectives, target audience, product mix, and budget to determine if an influencer program could be beneficial for your brand at this stage.

The most successful brands using influencer marketing start slowly with nano-influencers in their niche. They focus on building genuine partnerships that provide value to both parties. With firsthand experience, you can then expand your influencer efforts, fine-tune your strategy, and maximize your marketing ROI in the channel.

Proceed cautiously and you can tap into the upside of influencer marketing while avoiding potential pitfalls. Have you considered testing out influencer campaigns for your business this year? The pros often outweigh the cons when executed thoughtfully.


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