You’ve probably heard the term “influencer marketing” but may not be familiar with what it is. Unless you avoid all forms of digital media, chances are you’ve stumbled across it without even realizing it. Influencer marketing relies on influential people – those with a large number of social media followers, for instance – to help sway the public into buying a product or service. Think of it as a sort of celebrity endorsement minus the celebrity. Influencers don’t have to be famous; they just need to be popular and have a strong online presence. Brands covet the instantaneous purchasing abilities that social networks provide through vendor links, and will invest in a person with a large following in order to create buzz over their products and services, improve credibility, and drive online purchases. This is a very 21st-century style of marketing that, by its very nature, is vulnerable to fraud.
Fake influencers are an emerging problem in the world of online marketing, usually typified by individuals who offer to purchase followers, likes, comments, and more. Companies who pay for their services in the hopes of increasing engagement are basically throwing their money at a non-existent target audience. Another issue making headlines is fake accounts. Even the U.S. presidential election was affected by fraudulent influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing can be a viable strategy, even for a medical practice. When patients like and share your content, they are reaching an audience you might otherwise never be able to make an impact on. The trick becomes detecting and preventing fraud in order to ensure your influencer marketing campaign is a success.
Detecting and Preventing Fraud
It would be impossible to track each and every person on the internet to ensure they are real. Doing so would be extremely cost-prohibitive and would take far too long to accomplish. While Facebook and Twitter have made strides toward removing fake accounts, spotting them all would be akin to finding a needle in a haystack.
Instead, companies are turning to technology for help. Some influencer marketing companies have developed software algorithms that help assess the risk of a particular influencer based on his or her purchasing patterns and user engagements. Others are taking steps to eliminate bots from their platforms and changing the way they charge for influencer marketing, shifting from basing their charges on follower counts to actual post impressions, a more reliable measurement of an influencer’s true reach.
Technology isn’t perfect and can never completely eliminate fraudulent influencers, but by dealing with a reputable influencer company you’ll have a better chance of being sure your marketing dollars are wisely spent.