What’s wrong with influencer marketing

Apr 25, 2023

Influencer marketing has taken the advertising world by storm in recent years. From sponsored social media posts to brand collaborations, it feels like every brand is jumping on the influencer bandwagon. And in 2022, the influencer market in the US was valued at $16.4 billion*. But is this marketing strategy really worth the hype? At Experify, we believe that there are several fundamental flaws with influencer marketing that need to be addressed.

First, let's take a look at what makes influencer marketing so attractive. At its core, influencer marketing uses popular social media accounts to promote a product or service. The idea is that by partnering with someone who has a large following, you can tap into their audience and unlock or convert a huge base of new untapped customers. This strategy works best for companies that are looking to build brand awareness and drive sales, and does provide a compelling human-based connection layer to the buying journey. 

Consumer scepticism and influencer fatigue

However, the biggest challenge facing influencer marketing is a lack of trust and authenticity. Consumers are becoming increasingly skeptical of influencer content, with many questioning the authenticity of the reviews and recommendations provided by influencers. Since they’re getting paid for their reviews, how truthful can it really be?

According to a recent survey, only 4% of consumers trust influencer recommendations*, and many view influencer marketing as a form of deception. Even influencers themselves are beginning to self-admit the inauthentic nature of the strategy, and ‘influencer fatigue’ and distrust is on the rise. A new trend of “de-influencing” has even been going viral on TikTok, with people actively discouraging certain products. This lack of trust can make it difficult for brands to gain traction with their target audience, and undermines any value of influencer marketing in building long-term customer relationships.

The future of social marketing

So, what does the future hold for social marketing? Brands are now faced with the challenge of filling the gap of providing user-generated content and testimonials in a way that’s authentic, trustworthy, and believable.

Focusing on customer communities and user-generated content
One solution is to focus on building customer communities and encouraging them to share their experiences and opinions. This can be done through social media, email, and other channels where customers are already active, with the goal of creating a network of satisfied customers who can vouch for your brand. But this can be incredibly time-consuming and seem endless, especially when there’s a million other things you also need to be doing.

Alternatives to influencer marketing
There are also a couple alternatives to influencer marketing that brands can explore. Referral marketing, for example, can be effective at driving sales and building customer relationships by rewarding customers with small discounts to invite and convert their friends. Affiliate marketing is another option, where existing customers get a small cut of their friend’s sales — but both these methods can easily also be perceived as overly salesy, as just an extension of branded spokespeople. 

Relying on a star review system alone is challenging, too, since one moderate 3-star review can tank your product's whole reputation, and consumers have caught onto the idea of brands buying 5-star reviews. 

The power of human connection and authenticity with Experify
At the core, shoppers are simply seeking more authentic and engaging shopping experiences to validate their purchase decisions. In a recent survey, 88% of consumers indicated authenticity as a key factor for brand affinity and loyalty*

That’s where Experify comes in. We believe that the solution to the broken influencer model is to empower customers to connect with real product owners and, by focusing on building authentic and trustworthy customer relationships, brands can drive long-term success. Our platform provides a uniquely personalized and experiential shopping experience that allows shoppers to make informed purchase decisions based on real conversations and unfiltered advice from real product owners. There’s no pressure to sell or customer kick-backs, and no paid sponsorships or endorsements here.

While influencer marketing has its benefits, it’s a flawed marketing strategy that lacks the authenticity and trust that customers crave. Experify is the perfect solution for brands that are looking to move away from influencer marketing and build genuine customer relationships. Our platform fills the gap left by influencer marketing, providing an alternative that’s based on the power of human connection and authenticity.  

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