Both of these strategies of marketing are very effective and work for hand in hand; an influencer complimenting a product and showing how desired it is, makes customers want it (especially if said influencer had a large following of the intended targeted audience). If this type of marketing is done correctly then it can be greatly beneficial in creating sales and creating a large awareness of the brand, product, or service.
However, like many marketing strategies, this needs to adhere to your business and its needs. By being a small local business you may not have the funds to pay for sponsorship for example and so positive word of mouth would need to be taken advantage of. Word of mouth can be spread through social media and so having a presence across certain platforms would greatly help this, as the public will be able to comment/review your product or service on your platforms. It’ll be the first place a potential customer will look to see if it’s worth investing in. The issue with word of mouth is that unfortunately negative reviews spread quicker and are seen by more compared to positive reviews which can’t be helped, customers may purposely search for negative reviews to make a decision as to whether it’s worth their visit. It may sound obvious but it’s important to realize how customers behave especially when they choose where to take their business, M. Nick Hajili stated in the International Journal of Market Research that:
“Trust, encouraged by social media, significantly affects intention to buy. Therefore, trust has a significant role in eCommerce by directly influencing intention to buy and indirectly to influence perceived usefulness.”
Alongside using word of mouth online it’s also very effective face to face as 92% of consumers stated that they would trust a family or friend’s opinion on a product/ service compared to the advertisement, this was found in a report by Nielson.
This is not to say however that a small business can’t use influencer marketing, if by chance an influencer stops by your store and posts about your product/service or if a said business decided to send an influencer or celebrity a package of their goods known as a PR package in hopes they may review your products to their followers without paying a large cost for a potential positive fake review. PR packages should be very specific and require research into who to send what, this could either be the make or break of your brand.
Even though this all looks pretty pessimistic regarding negative reviews or negative word of mouth but think of it as customer feedback, unfortunately, it is very public and could be detrimental but it also highlights how to better your business, which you can do for your future customers. This leads us to the fake reviews and some customers’ opinions on influencer marketing;
Fake reviews from paid promotions can be beneficial but not if they put your business in a position where they can’t offer it, for example, a spot cream that’s meant to reduce the look of spots might be marketed by the influencer as completely disappearing them… for future customers, it can cause confusion and may do more harm than good, so it’s important that the influencer won’t just say positive things just because you’re paying them to, you want them to be honest with your future customers. Alongside this, customers’ opinions on this type of promotion can be fairly negative as they feel that the influencers are only saying positive things because they are getting paid for it, providing a fake review. This would probably give the influencer more negative feedback than intended. Still, it will also reflect badly on your brand- you’re willing to pay someone just to say something good about your product- the fact that you need to go to those lengths for a positive review may do more harm than good on your brand image. This could be argued as 61% of consumers said they trusted influencer reviews and recommendations which is still over half of the intended audience showing it has some significance over opinions (source thesocialshephard.com)
In general, if you wish to take your brand into these types of marketing strategies, it’s important it’s done properly and with extensive research to ensure it’s done correctly, picking certain influencers that correspond with your products (makeup influencers given makeup products to try) and encouraging customer feedback directly to the business can be worth it for your businesses future.