Remember the TV show MythBusters? A mash-up of science and entertainment, the show’s (and its hosts’) goal was to use scientific methods to validate—and more often, invalidate—urban legends, rumors, internet videos, even scenes from popular movies.

There’s a reason myths become myths and get spread far and wide, and, not surprisingly, it’s got to do with survival. According to an article in The Atlantic magazine, “When researchers analyzed 220 urban legends, they found that the stories were much more likely to mention hazards than benefits. This makes sense: Because believing in a fake hazard is less harmful than failing to believe in a real one, evolutionarily speaking, we should err on the side of being overcredulous about threats.”

That evolutionary “drive to survive” makes perfect sense, and if you distil it down, it’s something that drives us everyday at our 9-to-5s as well. We all want to survive the year, prosper, and contribute to the growth of our respective organizations. That’s why we at GroupHigh wanted to take this opportunity to address—and dispel—some of the more popular myths that surround influencer marketing.

The Top Three Influencer Marketing Myths, and Why They’re Wrong

Reach Wins Over Relevance: This is a common misconception, and one that we’ve written about before. Many companies believe that an ambassador with 800,000 followers immediately trumps one with 80,000. WRONG. If you’re working with a skilled social media influencer, they will have built an engaged and loyal community, one tailored to their particular niche. They won’t have hundreds of thousands of random followers because they will have instead worked hard to build an online community of like-minded individuals, who are engaged and interested in what they have to say, who trust them to provide valuable content, and who are relevant to your brand. Anyone can buy hundreds of thousands of fans and followers. Sadly. But what you can’t buy is trust.

Only Brands With Deep Pockets Can Play: Influencer marketing is expensive, right? You have to pay these huge digital superstars to shill for your company or product! We’re just starting to get off the ground, and only have 20 employees … we could NEVER afford to invest in influencer marketing. WRONG. Yes, it’s true, as with anything in life, money talks, and it’s the mega brands like Nike and Disney that can afford to invest in the superstar ambassadors. But that doesn’t mean a smaller company can’t get in the game. The key is to focus hyper-local and find those up-and-coming influencers that are perfectly matched to your brand. Let’s say you specialize in the latest rock-climbing gear. Source local climbing pros in your area, and work to develop an online relationship with them. Suggest bartering a sponsorship, or some free gear as payment (but be sure they know they MUST disclose your relationship). The bottom line here is it doesn’t have to be super-expensive, and you’ll get a few thousand highly engaged eyeballs on your content. Which is better than none. And as your company grows … so will your influencer!

Influencer Marketing is Easy: With the right keywords and a little online sleuthing, you’ll have your influencer marketing campaign running on full cylinders in no time, right? WRONG. Nothing worthwhile is ever that easy. As we’ve said before, multiple times, sourcing the best influencers for your brand and budget is key to influencer marketing success (and that’s why we think our Blogging and Influencer Marketing software is pretty sweet! ), and trust us when we say a keyword search won’t get you there. It’s also not a job best left to an intern. Influencer marketing requires experience with social media and a gut instinct for how people work, as well as the tact required to build relationships—real relationships—with them. No, it’s not easy, but with social media influencers starting to have as much purchasing clout as friends or family word-of-mouth does, the results are worth all the effort you are prepared to put into it.

So there you have it. Influencer marketing myths officially busted. And with fewer explosions and potential for bodily harm than the popular Mythbusters TV show!

Check out this 1 minute video on GroupHigh’s approach to influencer marketing!