About a year ago I hosted an event where I discussed the common myths in influencer marketing with industry peers. Today, I’m updating that list and continuing to explore and explain why certain myths exist around influencer marketing, and how others in the industry should respond for the best results.

When these myths were first discussed I was MediaCom’s Head of Influencer Marketing. Together with Joe Storey from NOW TV, Chris Davis from GLEAM, Mats Stigzelius from Takumi and content creator Tanya Burr, we reviewed the industry landscape of 2018 and objectively explained why certain myths were unfounded and unfair toward this “new” form of marketing.

Today I’m touching on the same subject again, arguing that influencer marketing has come a long, long way in just one year’s time. From being branded ‘The Wild West’ to getting its stamp on multimillion-pound media plans, it’s hard to refute the ROI proofs we’ve seen globally, and it’s absolutely impossible to deny the growth of the space (In fact, Business Insider projects that brands will spend up to $15 billion on influencer marketing by 2022).

Sure, the speed of growth never slowed down, which ultimately shows the same cracks in terms of the industry catching up, but let’s take a look at the six most common myths in 2019 and the truth behind them.

Myth 1: “Bots and fraud cannot be avoided, and influencers cannot be trusted.”

As more industry consultants and experts emerge, influencer marketing becomes less misunderstood. Unfortunately, this myth still seems to exist, with a few fraudulent individuals casting doubt on creators who work hard to build their content performance, their business, and genuine ROI on brand collaborations.

The truth here is that by using tools like Tagger, fraud is easily detected and avoided. Whether you use the fraud analysis tool as a guideline, check the creator’s account behaviour, or simply their demographics info, it now only takes a few minutes to see a red flag.

It’s never been easier to detect suspicious behaviour, and with the creator giving users access to their profiles’ backend for measurement, there is no need to rely on screengrabs either.

Myth 2: “Influencers just pose for selfies and are a non-legitimate marketing method.”

Some marketers are still not considering influencer marketing as part of their spend for a lot of reasons – lack of understanding, fear of losing money, or lack of knowledge about how best to spend in the space.

Content creators are sometimes written off and mocked as ‘Instagram models’ or ‘selfie-obsessed posers’, but a brand could be missing out on one of the best ROI in advertising.

As I said last year, relevance is vital and being well prepared is paramount. If an influencer’s audience is not aligned with your brand’s message, your budget will definitely be wasted. This is entirely avoidable with a good strategy and research. Choose your influencer collaborations wisely and reap the benefits so many brands already undeniably have.

Myth 3: “Unsexy brands and B2B brands cannot benefit from Influencer Marketing.”

The fact of the matter is, everyone can benefit from influencer marketing just like they can from word-of-mouth. Influencer marketing is not confined to Instagram, YouTube or Twitter. It’s everywhere else, too – on your local street, on Pinterest, LinkedIn, in closed Facebook groups, and at in-person events that may never be marketed on social media.

The key operative word here is ‘influence’; who is doing the influencing, where, and how. Some of the most effective and clever campaigns can come out of simple, small-scale B2B ideas.

Influencer marketing lets brands tell their stories in a human way. All brands can benefit from influencers as long as they collaborate with the right ones to help them create content that connects with the right audiences.

Myth 4: “Influencer Marketing is too expensive.”

Some people think content creators ‘charge too much’. Let’s not forget these individuals are the copywriters, stylists, photographers, creatives, strategists, models, and editors all in one, giving you not only great content but results with ‘no extra charge’.

If you look at it that way and compare it to traditional advertising techniques, influencers are actually the cheapest content creators in the world. Dependent on the influencers you choose and the size of your campaign, it can cost as little as £100 to start your first campaign!

Yes, it’s true it can be a challenge as there is no set pricing for any individual, their talent, persona, or what they create, but there are ways to know if you are negotiating well. Data is your power, and both brands and talent agents can utilise the information they see on software like Tagger to their advantage in the negotiation process. It then becomes very transparent, clear and risk proof.

Myth 5: “Influencer Marketing and influencer advertising are the same.”

There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to influencer marketing. One burning topic this year was “micro” vs “macro”, which in turn placed an argument on the differences between influencer marketing and influencer advertising. The two are very different and should be used in different ways.

‘Influencer advertising’ tends to be effective for events, new product launches or quick and effective message promotion in the form of what we call ‘one hit wonders’ that get you lots of attention. Whereas influencer marketing will typically encompass a 360 integrated marketing approach, longer partnership, multiple posts on different channels, and a more complex and involved collaboration with exclusivity clauses or even a new product. Influencer marketing will go as far as a billboard and TV screens, whereas influencer advertising is an effective tool in a moment in time.

Myth 6: “Influencer Marketing is so time-consuming.”

If we’re talking about man hours and how time-consuming it is, then yes, it is. It’s a no brainer that tech like Tagger will help you improve your team’s profitability and productivity, even double it.

Discovering influencers from around the globe, analysing their content performance, running campaigns and letting tech do ALL the reporting work for you is really the bees’ knees. Why would you spend hours trawling through Instagram, when it only takes minutes to discover influencers all over the world with ultra-relevant content? And think twice before sending your clients the same list of influencers over and over again, because there is just no ‘one size fits all’ for individuals either.

With an 83% YoY growth in Influencer Marketing spend, and with 82% of the next generation skipping ads, it’s evident that predictions of the demise of this medium are premature. The majority of marketers are still running campaigns, measuring ROI more effectively than ever before, and planning to increase their spend into 2020. The more fun question now is…who’s going to take it up a notch?

*For more really useful Influencer Marketing statistics, check this Influence Weekly article out.