The successful incorporation of influencers into marketing strategies is the future of digital marketing for the hospitality industry, and according to recent estimates, influencer marketing is an industry already worth billions. Moreover, around 22% of 18-34 years-olds have made a large purchase after seeing an online influencer endorsing the item.
But what are the challenges facing influencer marketing today?
Here are the 5 biggest challenges for the influencer marketing in 2019:
1. Building long-term and productive relationships with the right influencers
A huge number of brands today are incorporating influencer marketing into their promotional campaigns. In fact, nearly 40% of marketers plan to increase their influencer marketing campaign budgets in the near, future according to a recent study by Linqia. Not everyone, however, does it efficiently. So what is the trick to working with influencers successfully?
In today’s world, marketing teams are increasingly being bombarded with requests for collaborations, and the high number of wannabe influencers makes distinguishing the best ones very complicated. Finding the right influencers for your campaign can, therefore, be very time consuming and therefore costly given I’m sure you and your team don’t work free.
Marketers need to start looking for longer relationships with the right influencers, not just one-offs, to be able to ensure the quality of the content created. To work effectively with influencers, marketers should not merely be working with an influencer, but finding creative ways to collaborate. Here’s our post on Do’s and Don’t’s of influencer marketing that explains the best strategies for partnerships, and the mistakes you should avoid.
Swayy, an online booking tool, can help you with collaborating successfully for the long term whether you are a hotel looking for the right influencer or influencer looking for your next collaboration. Swayy offers pre-vetted influencers for the hospitality industry. If you want to know more why you should adapt and embrace the new way your customers expect you to engage with them, then check our recent post on why to choose influencer marketing in 2019.
2. Measuring the success of an influencer marketing campaign
84% of marketers think that measuring ROI (Return On Investment) is crucial in assessing the success of digital marketing campaigns in today’s world. One of the most popular ways of assessing this is by measuring the engagement with any given post or campaign – from clicks and impressions, to comments on social media platforms, such as Instagram.
ROI measurements consistently demonstrate that millennials and Generation Z are the predominant group engaging with content on Instagram and other social networking platforms. As a result of the incorporation of social media into many aspects of their everyday lives, it is this young generation who are shown to be the most influenced by the content posted on social media.
3. Tackling the issue of ‘fake’ engagement in influencer marketing
One of the biggest challenges facing influencer marketing in current times arises in the questioning of the authenticity and transparency of marketing strategies. Around 94% of marketers think that transparency and authenticity are crucial to influencer marketing success, and consequently, see the question of fake followers and bots as being their main concern in including influencer campaigns into their digital marketing strategies. Because brands want to maintain the image of honesty, they do not want to be seen working with ‘fake influencers’, whose followers don’t appear to be genuine. An influencer may have a very high number of followers, but if they are not engaging with promoted content, they won’t provide any return on investment for the brand involved. Micro-influencers, who have a smaller number of followers, are often more useful for niche markets, as they provide a brand or venue with a highly engaged and genuine audience.
Instagram, being the most often used and the most successful social media platform for promoting visual content has faced backlash due to a high number of fake followers, bots, or inactive accounts. Recently, however, Instagram has demonstrated an awareness of the need to address fake followers and bot accounts, deleting the accounts of users they perceive to be bots, and campaigning against third party follower apps. This campaign is the first step in reassuring both brands and consumers that influencer marketing is a transparent industry, and in ensuring that trust in influencer campaigns is restored.
4. Conforming to the ever-changing guidelines (the United Kingdom)
Maintaining transparency is vital for influencer marketing. However, conforming completely to often very complicated and confusing guidelines, that can differ from country to country, may become a challenging and demanding task. While clearly tagging sponsored content is at the heart of influencer marketing, the guidelines are continuing to evolve as influencer marketing grows and changes in the modern world.
In the United Kingdom, on 23rd January 2019, the CMA (Competition & Markets Authority) published new guidelines for social media endorsements, which, in theory, require greater transparency from influencers to their followers.
The CMA requires influencers in the UK to disclose past relationships with brands, as well as current ones. This applies where an influencer’s post relates to, or features content from a brand which they have previously collaborated with, even if the new content is unsponsored. This retrospective disclosure requires backdating sponsorships by up to twelve months, as “anything within the last year is likely to be relevant to followers”
Moreover, disclosure must be clear and upfront: stating that a post has been “made possible by” or “in collaboration with” is treated as being too ambiguous, and therefore in violation of the CMA guidelines. Thus, if you are an influencer, make sure that it is clearly stated at the beginning of the caption that a post is an ad; don’t just hide it in a block of hashtags at the end of the sponsored post.
However, this kind of disclosure is not only about conforming to the legal framework in your country, but also about the ethical implications of your online behaviour. An audience will appreciate the transparency of an influencer who makes clear when content is an advertisement, and they will be more likely to engage with brands that are seen as authentic and honest in their marketing techniques.
Most countries are now beginning to create specific guidelines for influencer marketing. While the above guidelines referred to British influencers, many countries are proposing a similar solution. For instance, check our recent post about the UAE law concerning influencer marketing
5. Influencers launching their own brands
Some influencers are launching their own brands, creating competition for the more established market. These ‘indie’ brands, with their independent appeal, are closer to the market, and are bringing the product closer to the audience. Marketing strategies for independent brands no longer rely on marketing from the ‘product’, starting instead with an established persona, and launching a product in line with the values of their brand.
This poses new challenges for influencer marketing, as convincing an influencer to promote a venue or brand may become difficult if they believe it is more productive to market their own brand. Thus, building genuine relationships with influencers that align with your brand values remains as critically important as ever.