Influencer Marketing: The Good, the Bad, the Strategies

Harrison H
Harrison H
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You’ve diligently researched your market space, created the perfect product, lined up all the creative aspects, and identified the ideal moment to introduce your creation to the world. Before you launch, you need to decide: Should I include influencers in my launch strategy?

Anyone who has engaged with social media over the last decade has witnessed the rise of “influencers,” self-made “celebrities” who have grown their fame by capitalizing on platforms like Instagram and TikTok.

Influencers can be found in almost any industry: cooking, mechanics, farming, tech, gaming, beauty, and more. If there’s a topic, culture, or interest that has a following, you can bet there’s an influencer involved. 

Influencers gain their following by creating specified content that highlights topics in entertaining ways. Some examples include:

  • Ben Gravy: A semi-professional surfer whose quest to surf a wave in each of the 50 states was a viral success within the surfing community. His channel soared to over 64M views. 
  • Cole the Cornstar: This YouTuber from Iowa creates content around his family’s commercial corn farm. He’s grown his channel to over 193M views.
  • Shroud: This Canadian YouTuber and gamer has over 10M followers live-streaming him on Twitch and an estimated $20 net worth. He has been tapped for co-branding with companies like our neighbor-friends at MainGear.

Even the B2B space is filled with influencers. Here are a few B2B marketing influencers with large followings:

  • Adam Grant: An organizational psychologist and bestselling author with over 2M followers on Instagram who studies how people find motivation and meaning, and what it takes to lead effectively.
  • Gary Vaynerchuk: Also known as GaryVee, he is an author, speaker, and co-founder of VaynerMedia, a digital and social media agency with 10M followers on Instagram and 5M on LinkedIn.
  • Ann Handley: Author, speaker and founder of MarketingProfs with over 400K followers on LinkedIn.

The Benefits

Working with influencers allows marketers to get their product or service directly in front of an engaged and curated demographic and attentive audience. 

This ability to easily tap into curated markets can have an immediate impact, and businesses generate $6.50 in revenue for each $1 invested in influencer marketing, according to Convince & Convert.

This is far from an industry secret. Brands can see big gains when they use the right influencer to put their products in front of the right audience. 

Case in point: After the mobile game Lords Mobile: War Kingdom ran a campaign featuring Instagram and YouTube influencers, the game was exposed to 1.5 million viewers, generated 86K engagements and brought 12K game installs with an average CPI of $5.16.

While this all sounds great, let’s take a deeper dive and look at some of the factors you need to consider before hastily putting your product in the hands of an influencer.

Things to Consider

B2B vs B2C

For B2C (consumer products) companies, engaging in influencer marketing can boost your authenticity in the marketplace. Influencers have organically proven themselves as subject matter experts. Their followers are more likely to be receptive to products they recommend because their posts feel less like ads and more like authentic endorsements.  

The relationship between brands and consumers has been significantly changed because of the inherent value placed on the delivery platform. However, when it comes to B2B (business-to-business) marketing, things get more complicated and often can’t be so singularly decided. 

A Forrester survey from 2021 found that 63% of [B2B] purchases have more than four people involved (vs. just 47% in 2017) and they can include different buyer roles — champions, influencers, decision-makers, users, or ratifiers — from multiple departments.

While utilizing influencer marketing can still be effective as part of a larger B2B marketing strategy, you may want to consider using other methods as the bedrock of your campaign. 

Potential Risks

When working with influencers, remember that you aren’t partnering with a full-scale agency with access to copywriters and developers. Influencers are often sole individuals (working with a video editor – at most) and might not possess the professional attention to detail you expect. They may need coaching or hand-holding to get started. This can backfire. When model and fashion influencer Naomi Campbell copied and pasted the instructional email from Adidas, she inadvertently captioned a sponsored Instagram post with: “Could you put something like: Thanks to my friend @gary.aspden and all at adidas – loving these adidas 350 SPZL from adidas Spezial range. @adidasoriginals.”

A faux pas like this risks eroding trust and authenticity. It can do more harm than good. In an instant, your brand can not only lose an opportunity, but might now be viewed as disingenuous. 

Personality & PR

Influencers are often unfiltered personalities without traditional PR training. 

While the “unfiltered” works for building a social media following, it can raise some issues when advertising and aligning a brand’s values with an influencer’s. Controversies can be great for gaining social media attention; but not as great when trying to run a business.

Many of the more famous examples are found at the top end of the food chain such as the relationship between Kanye and Adidas, which was damaged after a series of controversial remarks from Kanye on his social media accounts. 

Or Aston Kutcher’s Popchips commercial in which he wore brownface and donned an offensive Indian accent, claiming to be a Bollywood producer looking for “the most delicious thing on the planet.”

One of the more scandalous examples featured Swedish YouTuber PewDiePie – a content creator who has partnered with many large companies on his channel, including NordVPN, Ridge Wallet, Opera and World of Tanks. He created content featuring himself reacting to an anti-Semitic video showing two Sri Lankan men holding a banner reading “Death to All Jews.” The video was removed and PewDiePie soon apologized to his followers, but not before the damage was done.


Influencer marketing can be an impactful tool in a comprehensive marketing strategy. When implemented correctly, it can swiftly place your product or service in front of the perfect demographic, with a message delivered by a trustworthy figure in the industry. 

However, when done incorrectly, it could hurt the integrity of your brand and waste precious resources. 

Are you looking to work with influencers as part of your marketing strategy, but don’t know where to begin? Contact us today, we specialize in a full-service approach to marketing, including all things social media marketing!