Is It Okay for Marketers to Pay Influencers for Mentions? [New Research]
Consumers are skeptical and disengaged when traditional advertisement gets placed in front of them yet everyone is thirsty for sincere product reviews and opinions. At the same time, brands are trying to determine if paying influencers for posts is an ethical and effective way to score brand lift.
On one hand, influencers are replacing traditional marketing efforts in terms of how brands reach consumers so they be paid for the leads and sales that they are ultimately creating.
On the other hand, paying someone to say good things about a product or service takes away from the authenticity of the recommendation making it potentially unethical and less impactful.
Influencers Tell us How They Work With Brands
To weigh in on this topic, GroupHigh went straight to the source and sent a survey to over 5,000 influencers who represented a variety of verticals and social spaces. They were questioned on their brand partnerships and if they've noticed a trust issue from consumers with paid content.
Here is where it got tricky. We started out wondering if it was okay to pay influencers. After hundreds of conversations with brands and influencers we realized most brands are paying influencers and most influencers want to be paid.
So, the question quickly has changed from "if we should pay" to "when is it okay to pay" for brand mentions?
The answers to these burning marketing questions and brand insights were compiled and released in this research report so that brands can grasp the influencer views and foster stronger marketing relationships.
Key Considerations When Placing Paid and Sponsored Content
The key takeaway from our survey is that authenticity and transparency are crucial for both brands and influencerswhen it comes to generating content that is engaging.
Influencers tend to agree that when they write content about a brand and are open in their transactional relationship with said brand, their audience understands and trusts their opinions. When an influencer tries to bury the fact they are compensated by the brand, audiences become distrustful.
Here are a few things marketers can do to make sure that their relationships with influencers are authentic and transparent:
- Nurture influencers and create an ongoing relationship with them. The media that results from this type of relationship is sincere and trusted by consumers.
- Make sure influencers you work with are disclosing the nature of your marketing relationship. This post can help.
- When you are communicating with your influencers about the type of post you want, be transparent about your goals so they can weigh in on the best ways to reach their consumers.
- Ensure that a sincere brand love is already in place before paying for posts. Send an influencer the product for free and monitor your network to find out who loves your brand. Once this characteristic has been established then it's okay to go for a more formalized partnership.
Bottom line, when an influencer sincerely stands behind the brands that they talk about, they are able to integrate the brand organically into their lives which creates content consumers love.
In the name of being on a journey powered with never-ending-marketing-wonderings, after this research and information has been digested, a new question arises.
What would happen to your brand's image if you diverted the rest of your marketing budget to influencer marketing for the rest of the year?
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