The Reality of Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has seen a significant rise and demand over the past few years. For the longest time, we were used to seeing only celebrities fronting brands and businesses. With the emergence of influencers, the presence of these “regular people”, yet, with significant influential power became refreshing to the audience and business owners alike. 

To say influencers were a calling to brands and businesses for marketing campaigns would be an understatement. They are about as holy grail as rain in a drought. Audiences can relate better to the ambassadors, and business owners were able to explore new opportunities, with the potential of reaching a more targeted audience. 

Or at least when the influencer trend first got picked up. 

Back in 2009, blogger Bryan Boy (third from left) pictured front row at a fashion show alongside the iconic editor-in-chief of Vogue, Anna Wintour (fifth from left). In the period where bloggers were trying to get themselves taken seriously, Bryan Boy’s appearance at the front row gave confidence to the blogging industry.

We saw influencers taking up front row seats at fashion week, jet setting off to tropical destinations on private planes and getting all glammed up walking the red carpet for movie premieres. This is on top of possibly getting paid to feature a product on their social media and receiving freebies from brands. With the dream lifestyle portrayed to the entire world, do we dare wonder how the influencer industry eventually became a billion-dollar industry

With everyone trying to get a piece of the dream lifestyle, recent exposés have begun painting influencers in a different light. While it is not a sweeping statement of all influencers, the few rotten ones are the reasons why some marketers and brands are becoming sceptical about engaging influencers for their marketing campaigns. How do you find the right influencer for your brand amidst the uncertainty?


Experts have claimed that micro-influencers or nano-influencers are the next best bet when it comes to considering one for your marketing campaign. What are micro-influencers, you wonder? They are influential individuals with a following of about 500 to 10,000, or if in Singapore, it’s 5,000 to 20,000 followers. 

Compared to macro-influencers (10,000 to 1,000,000 followers), surely the latter would be able to reach to a broader audience. However, experts have it that marketing right now is more than just mere exposure. To get actual returns, it is about time that brands and businesses look into how to create an impact on the audience and convert them into sales.

A study has also shown that micro-influencers, though with lesser followers, can achieve 7 times more engagement with its audience compared to influencers with a higher following

This study simply means that the small community that the micro-influencer cultivated is genuinely interested in his/her content and basically, ‘quality over quantity’.


Source: IG/Selena Gomez

When engaging celebrities, who are also social media influencers like Selena Gomez, it is expected for companies to have to fork out a hefty amount, knowing their status. Think it is cheap? How about USD$800,000 per Instagram post! If you think that is a massive amount to be spending on an influencer alone, try Kylie Jenner where an Instagram post would set you back USD$1million. More established brands often opt for celebrities because of the budget they have and also to maintain a reputation for its wider (like international) audience.

Singapore influencer, Deekosh with a paid partnership instagram post with LEGO Singapore for their then latest LEGO movie. For an influencer with a following of about 200k like Deekosh’s, per Instagram post could go up to SGD$3,000

Not everyone has such deep pockets. This is probably the reason why brands do not mind considering bloggers/influencers, or influencers-turned-celebrities if they need one that has the same influence power to Gomez’s and Jenner’s tier. 

Take comedian, Lele Pons, for example. She initially found fame on the now-defunct app, Vine, before moving on to YouTube. Just last year, the 23-year-old was signed to Universal Music. With a following of 36.7million on Instagram, Pons charges a whopping USD$144,000 per sponsored Instagram post. 

While that might seem like a lot for someone who does not really have a “full” presence, (like out of 10 people in a room, probably only one knows of her existence), it is still a lot more affordable than engaging a celebrity. And just like micro-influencers, her followers are more niche compared to one of a celebrity’s. If you are considering deep engagement and your product has the same brand proposition as your candidate influencer, you can consider engaging them.


Of late, both local and international mainstream media have highlighted on influencers and the constructed growth of their pages. Apparently, a survey that was conducted by HypeAuditor revealed that almost half of our local influencers have mangled with their social media accounts using artificial methods– such as buying followers, likes and comments to create engagements on their page as yet another content. 

One of the biggest influencer saga that went viral in Singapore was when someone did an exposé on the influencer, claiming that he never took any of his pictures. He had instead been photoshopping himself in stock images – even those in collaboration with brands. 
Image source: Mothership

What is frowned upon is when the influencer is paid such a hefty amount to deliver, only to find out that their page is not as engaging as they have presented it to be. A bigger nightmare for companies is to find out that the influencer is merely an imposter; or someone with just the intention of getting freebies.

But fret not, there are a few easy ways to spot whether an influencer has an engaging community in their account. For starters, we can:

  • Check out the number of followers and compare it against the average likes on its posts 
  • Look out for the verified tick beside their name
  • Look through the comments section to feel for vibes on engagement with followers

At the end of the day, with regular posting and creative content, anyone can be an influencer – literally. Like knowledge, content is power. Influencer marketing is also more than just slapping the influencer’s face on your products or poster. 

As we have mentioned prior in previous articles on the importance of engaging the audience, having the influencer to participate in the planning phase will undoubtedly make a difference to the brand because influencers know their audience better. Having the right influencer to match your brand will help you to amplify your message further. The only question is, do you know if you have chosen the “right” one?

Just because everyone is doing it, does not mean you have to. If you are still contemplating on influencer marketing, say hi at talktous@wearebeknown with your inquiries. While you are at it, do also sign up for our newsletter for the latest digital insights at wearebekown.com.

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