Dispelling the 7 Most Common Myths of Influencer Marketing

By Richard Wong, Vice President of Marketing and Creator Relations, #paid

With the rise of influencer marketing, social media has led to the current age of the creator—the social media creator who can turn their passion and talents into their true calling. Influencer marketing is an important way to democratize access to creative talent, allowing marketers to bring their brand to life in a human way. In return, creators can turn their passion into a living, and their audience can continue to be entertained every day by awe-inspiring content.

Still, there are many misconceptions around influencer marketing that prevent many brands from taking the leap or getting the most out of their influencer marketing. Below are the seven most common myths and mistakes that I hear from marketers and why they should be avoided.

1. Choosing creators based on the size of their following. Many marketers get distracted by creators with large followings and neglect to consider other factors when choosing which creators to collaborate with. Important factors include alignment of a creator’s audience demographics with the brand target market, ensuring the product matches with the creator’s content, and creating the right creator-brand alignment.

2. Fake followers and engagements are unavoidable. Not true. There are a lot of people with large followings, but discerning whether their following is legit or if they’ve bought followers or likes requires marketers to examine their follower and engagement growth. If one were to analyze a series of metrics including tracking anomalies in these growth metrics, normal scenarios should see linear growth with few to no outliers; high variance should raise suspicions.

3. The ROI of influencer marketing can’t be measured. Influencer marketing can be utilized in many parts of the path to purchase journey, but its sweet spot is driving consideration and purchase intent. In terms of attributing the value and impact of influencer marketing, it is important to think about which brand marketing metrics make sense and go beyond just the total number of people we reach or engage with sponsored collaborations. Sentiment analysis is valuable to see how the audience reacts, as are video completions, online conversions or other metrics that relate to what the campaign goals are.

4. You can get a good sense of influencer marketing by working with a few influencers. Would you test the efficacy of TV by seeing the effects of a couple of commercials on an off-primetime show? What about running a $100 Adwords campaign? Without enough data and scale to test these campaigns, you won’t develop enough insights to make an informed decision on whether it worked or not. There are rare instances where there’s a bad experience between a brand and creator—don’t let one-off situations ruin a potentially valuable thing.

5. Going back to the same creators over and over. Working with a lot of agencies—traditional PR or talent agencies—can often lead to using a limited talent roster on an ongoing basis. While continuous ambassadorships have a strong use case, healthy influencer marketing programs should include new creators who bring different, fresh audiences. In the same way that we frequency-cap our ads to make sure we don’t oversaturate our campaigns, we don’t want to oversaturate our message with the same creators too often.

6. Influencer marketing is only for consumer brands. Consumer brands—particularly fashion and beauty brands—were the early adopters of influencer marketing, but almost every category product or service could adopt the principles of influencer marketing. Whether you work for a CPG brand, retail store, financial services, automotive or a B2B brand, we are all consumers of media and follow our favorite social media creators. How you adopt influencer marketing depends on how you bring each campaign to life. Consumers crave human experiences, and as marketers, we need to think about how our brands integrate with our consumers’ lives, whether it’s for an everyday consumer brand or a product/service we use at work.

7. Paying creators isn’t genuine. By now, we should all understand that creators need to get paid. They bring value to our brands and deserve to get compensated accordingly. With FTC mandatory disclosures rules firmly set and enforced, all content with a material exchange between creators and brands needs to be disclosed, but that shouldn’t take away from the message itself. Good creators only work with brands that authentically match their feed and would be useful to their audience—they should be proud that a brand wants to work with them and legitimize them as a tastemaker and true expert. To embed the disclosures in a seamless way, creators can start their caption with “Super excited to be #paid and work with Brand X…” to make the requirements seem more natural and honest with their audience. In fact, we believe that honesty and authenticity are so important that we named our company in line with one of the originally recommended hashtags from the FTC: #paid.

I hope you found these common misconceptions about influencer marketing helpful and get you on the journey to producing incredible content for your brand. Together, we can change marketing for the better and work with world-class talent to bring our brands to life in a human way. #paid can be found at or on social media at @hashtagpaid.

  • Marketing
  • Social Media

Richard Wong is the Vice President of Marketing and Creator Relations at #paid. He is a seasoned, classically trained marketer who came from Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson and moved into the tech world, including growing Google’s source for insights, trends and research in digital marketing through Think with Google. He also teaches digital marketing classes at Brainstation, RED Academy and Camp Tech.

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