When it works, influencer marketing can be very effective, but there are many potential pitfalls for advertisers in this area – something that might be inferred from what people were reading on this subject on WARC in 2018.

The fast-moving world of social media provides the greatest opportunity for both success and failure, and this is where many marketers have turned to to find influencers who are more attuned to particular platforms and can better engage with their followers.

The use of social media influencers works better in some categories than others – fashion and make-up stand out – but a crucial element to success is that marketers need to give up some control. Authenticity is key and brands can’t expect to tell their influencers what to say.

Read more: 2018 Social media trends: Instagram, Influencers and Facebook

The size of an online audience shouldn’t be the primary consideration when choosing an influencer. Micro-influencers who have smaller audiences, often with niche interests, can be just as effective: the value of influencers is in engagement rather than reach.

And, a WARC Best Practice paper reminded marketers, influence happens offline too – in playgrounds, workplaces and bars – and any influencer model needs to take this into account.

Read more: What we know about influencer marketing and How to work with influencers

That means considering a word-of-mouth strategy involving those “everyday” influencers – the roughly one in ten consumers with the largest real-world social networks who regularly give advice to others.

Start with a people-centric strategy, not a channel-centric one, is the best advice – and recall that one in four word-of-mouth conversations about brands in the US involve a reference to advertising.

Read more: How to use influencers to drive a word-of-mouth strategy

The influencer market is particularly significant in China, where there are more than 100,000 influencers with at least one million fans. Brands operating here need to take an effective strategic approach; that task is made only slightly easier by the fact the social media landscape is dominated by two platforms, WeChat and Weibo.

Read more: What we know about influencers in China

Sourced from WARC