More than 500,000 active influencers are operating just on Instagram, according to a study by InfluencerDB. That’s 39% of all Instagram accounts with more than 15,000 followers. And among this group of active Instagram influencers, 81% have followings between 15,000 and 100,000 users.
With so many options, marketers can find influencers who closely match their brand’s ethos. But it also means the influencer field is at risk of becoming oversaturated, which presents several challenges to marketers.
“There are so many different verticals and styles of content creators out there,” said Jason Pampell, founder and CEO of HireInfluence. “The negative side of that comes down to weeding out the inauthentic profiles. It’s important for brands to carefully select influencers they choose to work with—focusing on the ones with an authentic niche, authoritative voice and loyal fans within their space.”
Finding the right influencer can be difficult—at least in the US
Only 39% of US marketers feel confident in their ability to identify the right influencers, according to a Cision and PRWeek survey.
And with the rise of microinfluencers, marketers now have to increase their number of partnerships in order to reach scale.
“While the increase has definitely led to more available influencers to work with, brands need to be careful,” said Jessica Dooley, US social practice lead at Mindshare. “The emergence of influencer marketing into a scalable channel has increased a brand’s liability to fraud and potential controversy. Now more than ever, it is paramount that any influencer activation is rooted in a more rigorous evaluation process.”
Is automation an option?
The influencer space is teeming with platforms that help brands detect, manage and measure the performance of influencers. But, according to a 2019 Talkwalker survey, 62.7% of marketing and PR professionals worldwide do not currently use these tools.
“The very nature of this tactic is the human element,” said Tyler Farnsworth, founder and managing director at August United. Farnsworth uses influencer management platforms, but warns against excessive automation. “People and relationships are at the core here—we're talking about people, not ad units you can buy from Google.”
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