Strategic influence: The potential and the pitfalls of influencer marketing


Brands of all shapes and sizes are coming to terms with how powerful influencer marketing can be. Tune into your Snapchat story or take a scroll through Instagram and you’ll soon see a list of celebrities and local identities promoting product after product. 

To give you an idea of the power and the price some brands are willing to pay to be endorsed, some key influencers have reportedly received six-figure sums for promoting a product just once on their social media platforms.   

Influencer marketing plays on the relationships a public figure has with their followers to help engage new markets and make new connections to people with similar interests and motivations. It works as part of an overarching marketing strategy and allows brands to tap into markets previously thought to be too challenging or out of reach.

It also builds a perceived one-on-one conversation about the product with a person they trust and whose opinion they value, via the social media platform the reader has volunteered to be part of and agreed to be contacted on.

This kind of disruptive marketing provides great opportunities, but there are some critical things to remember if you’re considering using a key influencer as part of your marketing strategy.

Who You Work With

The most important decision is selecting the right person. The person you work with will become the voice and the face people associate with your brand. They should project the type of brand experience the consumer will expect to have if they decide to purchase the product. And remember, it’s not just your image on the line — the key influencer cares about their followers and their own personal brand as well.


To achieve results, any product endorsement must be part of a wider strategic marketing campaign. You should have a marketing strategy in place to measure ROI; this could be click-through rate or the rate at which sales increase over a certain time. The amount of followers a key influencer has does not necessarily reflect the amount they should be paid for their endorsements.


It’s crucial that any content promoted by an influencer is relevant and is ‘in-context’ from the consumer's perspective (for example, the timing and location). By targeting only a few key influencers, you have the power to connect with vast numbers of people all over the world.

So who would be on your radar as a potential influencer? Think carefully.

Hard Edge is a strategic marketing and creative agency for disruptive brands. 
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