Buyer Beware: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly of Influencer Marketing Event Recap​

Oct 3, 2019

Submitted by SMCLT Board

Influencer marketing is a form of collaboration and can be generally defined as a form of social media marketing involving promotion or endorsements of a product, service, or campaign from influencers, people and organizations.

Speaker Erin Breeden, the CEO and Head Mermaid of Blue Tide Creative, breaks it down to something a little more bite-size,

“Identifying and partnering with someone who has reach and proven trust from their followers. Known for their authentic messaging, they can convince people to buy whatever you are selling, telling, or showing.

Erin shared what all marketers need to know - the good, bad, and ugly - about influencer marketing to Social Media Charlotte members and guests on September 18 at Advent Coworking.

Here are some key takeaways:

There is No Quick Fix

  • Do not work with an influencer based solely on their number of followers or likes.
  • If the influencer doesn’t have a niche or the niche doesn’t relate back to your company or product, it may not be a good fit.
  • This is not a replacement for social media, public relations, and/or content strategy.
  • Working with an influencer is not a ‘guaranteed win’.

Influencer Marketing Isn’t a New Concept

  • Wedgewood China was endorsed by King George III and Queen Charlotte in the 1760s.
  • The Davis Milling Company was one of the first companies to introduce an influencer into their marketing efforts starting in the 189’s. This influencer was called Aunt Jemima, a jovial woman with a big grin whose image and likeness was used on all their packaging and advertisements, and still is, even to this day.
  • Celebrity endorsements became more prevalent in the early 20th century.
  • Santa Claus became Coca-Cola’s silent pitchmen by the 1930s.

Types of Influencers

  • Mega - 1 million+ followers
  • Macro - 10K - 999K followers
  • Micro - 1K - 10K followers

PRO TIP: Do not discount micro-influencers with smaller followings as their followers can be even more engaged with the sponsored content the micro-influencer posts.

Laws and Liability

  • ‘Truth in advertising’ is more than a saying - it’s a requirement.
  • It is essential for any influencer to disclose when they’re being paid to endorse a product or service - Disclose, Disclose, Disclose.
  • Disclose any material connection above the “more” button on an Instagram post.
  • Hashtags that should be used for disclosure by influencers receiving compensation for their posts include: #AD #Partner and #Sponsored
    • They need to be highly visual and not in a string of tags
    • Cracking down and avoid vague hashtags (ie., not #thankyou)
    • Avoid shortening words - should be written in full (ex - #sponsor instead of #spon)
  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) does not monitor bloggers and influencers unless they receive a complaint or someone reports them.

Protecting Your Brand

  • Make sure you do your due diligence when selecting influencers to work with your brand
    • Notoriety: Is this influencer well-liked? Is there any controversy?
    • Expertise: Is the content of your campaign appropriate coming from this influencer? Why are they a good match for your brand?
    • Reach: Will this influencer engage your current audience, or introduce your brand to a new audience?
    • Demographic: Is the influencer’s following similar to your brand’s target audience?
  • No matter who you are working with, be clear with your expectations and set them upfront in your contract:
    • Be very specific about what the influencers and bloggers you work with can and cannot do with your brand, specifically including that they need to comply with all FTC rules and regulations. This will help remove liability from the brand if something is reported to the FTC.

Tools to Verify

Do your research

  • Tanke - an influencer marketing agency based in Paris. They created an IG tool that measures engagement
  • Fohr Certified - an influencer certification platform that connects brands to influencers that match their needs, demographics, etc.
  • Hootsuite - utilize the search streams to discover influencers by monitoring conversations relevant to your industry across multiple channels.
  • Other: AspireIQ, Upfluence, Instaband, and Famebit

PRO TIP: Engagement rates: 2-3% engagement is good and anything else above that is fantastic

Influencers vs. Brand Ambassadors

Creating brand ambassadors can be a better fit for some brands because:

  • The relationship is more of a strategic partnership.
  • A long-term relationship with a regular brand promotion and a direct tie to the product, service, or company.
  • A brand ambassador is a person who is hired to represent a brand in a positive light to increase brand awareness and sales.
  • The brand ambassador is meant to embody a company’s mission, vision, goals
  • **This person can be an employee.

Removing the Gray

Make it easy on the influencers by providing very clear expectations

  • Know what you want to achieve (ex - do you want a surge or steady growth? Do you have specific numbers in mind? What is the purpose?)
  • Ask for stats and proof of past campaign success.
  • Ask for their impressions before signing a contract.
  • Determine how ROI will be tracked. (ex - will there be a special link or code)
  • Agree on platforms used and numbers of posts or stories.
  • Give them any hashtags and specifications for each post.


Fees range depending on experience and stats. Most influencers have a set number

Based on information from Digiday, there is a baseline per post for Instagram:

  • 2,000 to 10,000 followers - $75 to $250 per post
  • 10,000 to 50,000 followers - $250 to $500 per post
  • 50,000 - 100,000 followers - $500 to $1,000 per post

“Ninety-two percent of consumers trust reviews and recommendations from friends, family, existing customers, and trusted advisers (like influencers) over corporate ads.”

If you are looking into adding influencer marketing to your overall strategy (as many marketers are these days), make sure you know what your goals are and do your research as there are a plethora of influencers out there. It is important to your brand that you select the right ones to work with to help your company for success in this arena.