There's no doubt about it, partnering with a social media influencer to market your products can be extremely effective. While this is a relatively new form of marketing in the history of advertising, the trend of using influencer campaigns to reach highly targeted audiences shows no signs of slowing down. Followers often become devoted to an influencer's authenticity, personality, and expertise in niche topics. Having this working in harmony with your brand can be a powerful method of outreach and engagement — when handled with skill. A strategy misfire with one of the most common influencer mistakes, however, could have you going down in flames...not in history.
Avoid These 8 Common Influencer Marketing Mistakes
In order to become armed with the right knowledge to carry out a fantastic influencer campaign, make sure that you avoid these eight major pitfalls.
Jumping straight on the influencer bandwagon just because everyone else is doing it is not a good marketing strategy.
You need to draw up a well-researched plan that includes precisely what you are trying to achieve, as well as who your target audience is and what type of influencer you’d like to partner with There are thousands of great influencers out there; selecting the right one can be paramount to your success.
Going in blind with no apparent objective is not only a potential waste of time and money, it’s likely to frustrate your influencer since they won't know what you want to achieve. A lack of clear goals can damage an otherwise successful campaign, so be sure to start by clarifying your business KPIs (key performance indicators) prior to getting started
Selecting an influencer based on followers
Unless your influencer is a Kardashian, it's an influencer marketing mistake to focus purely on follower numbers. (And even then, a celebrity-level influencer may be wrong for your specific goals.)
A high-profile influencer may appear to be the perfect match, with followers that run into the hundreds of thousands. Scratch the surface, however, and you may find that while they have a lot of followers, they actually have an abysmal engagement rate.
The key here is quality, not quantity. Yes, your influencer needs to have a good amount of followers, but their engagement rates need to be up there too. Any influencer worth working with will reply to and motivate their audience. People want their comments and concerns acknowledged: engagement reinforces the "human" element of social media.
A good influencer will know that engagement is how to inspire fierce loyalty. You want this quality behind your brand.
Making the collaboration a one-off
If you’re working with a relatively few number of influencers and you've found the perfect influencer for your brand, you want to hold onto them. Even though it can be tempting to try other influencers, it’s worth building a relationships with influencers who are delivering the engaged, target audience you’re looking for.
Remember that followers are usually loyal to a particular influencer, and these followers will respect your loyalty too. Cutting and running immediately after a campaign risks alienating the followers you were hoping to engage.
Focus on building a long-lasting relationship with your influencer. This will allow your brand to grow with the influencer, and reinforce authenticity and trust.
Focusing on one platform
People are active on various social media platforms for various reasons. If you limit yourself to just one social media platform, you're limiting the reach of your campaign.
If you're already successful on a particular platform, it may be helpful to find an influencer that uses a relevant platform where you have less presence. This way, you can expand your customer reach while maintaining the success on your existing platform.
Also remember that just because your brand isn’t active on a platform, your audience may be. Using influencers to reach that audience can be a critical element in growing your online reach and potential customer base.
Micro-managing your influencers
Just because you pay your influencer, it does not mean you own them nor that you know best. If that's the stance you adopt, your influencer partnership is likely to be extremely short-lived.
Influencers have already built their following using their own creative freedom. They are not likely to appreciate or tolerate you telling them exactly what to say and how to say it — nor will their audiences respond to an abrupt switch in tone or overly sales-y messaging.Working effectively with an influencer is about growing a relationship where you both have the power to make decisions.
If an influencer thinks something is a bad idea, listen to the reason why. Take their experience and advice on board; after all, they know their audience best. Aim to collaborate rather than dictate and your campaign has a better chance of running smoothly.
Ignoring the law
Sponsored posts must be labeled as such. Failing to do this can land your business and your influencer in very hot water.
Make sure you’re aware of the latest FTC endorsement guidelines. Follow them to the letter and make sure your influencer also knows how to comply.
Rushing the creative process
Influencer content is so much more than snapping a selfie with your product in the background (at least, the GOOD influencer content is). Getting the photo or video just right can take time, and we assure you, it’s time well-spent. Give your influencer the space they need to get the job done well.
Short deadlines or rushing when you brief your influencer is likely to lead to low-quality results and spell disaster for your campaign.
Failing to be authentic
People follow influencers because they're interested in their lifestyles, talents, and skills. They don't expect their influencer to suddenly start pushing a product at the cost of all their other messages.
If a surfer stops posting surfing videos, for example, and only posts about your surfboard wax for a week, followers will quickly lose interest. Similarly, if you expect the influencer to change their tone, words), style, or aesthetic to fit in with your brand, you've either got the wrong influencer or you're expecting too much.
Promoted posts need to blend in with your influencer’s life without compromising it in any way. This allows the influencer to continue building their audience in the style their followers have grown to love.
The final word on influencer marketing mistakes
Finding and nurturing the right partnership with an influencer is crucial: you're trusting your brand to them, and they’re entrusting their credibility to you. You both have much to gain from one another, and in order to work well together, it's important to plan ahead and make strategic choices that benefit you both.
Avoid these eight influencer marketing mistakes and you'll be well on your way to an amazing partnership that truly connects with your ideal audience.