It’s no secret that influencer marketing is a hot industry. It’s forecasted that influencer marketing will be a $10 billion industry by the year 2020. This means that many brands including your competitors are likely already implementing influencer marketing. So, with the marketplace being almost saturated, your brand really needs to stick out to make an impact with your influencer marketing program. You can only do so if you stop making the many influencer marketing mistakes that I see happen on an almost daily basis.
Some brands report earning $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing, is your brand one of those brands? If not, it could be because you’re making one or some common influencer marketing mistakes. But not to worry, in order to ensure your influencer marketing strategy is successful, I’ve outlined some common influencer marketing mistakes that I have seen throughout my 8 years of influencer marketing and if any of these mistakes resonate with you, I’ve provided ways you can fix them.
Mistake: Prioritizing Reach Over Context
Influencer marketing isn’t just about partnering with content creators who have a lot of followers. Many brands make the mistake of working with an influencer because their number of followers and end up overlooking what really matters—a content fit and engagement rates.
Many brands prefer to work with “mid-level” influencers who have between 10,000-100,000 followers on any given channel or monthly traffic to their blog. These influencers have a manageable enough of an audience size that they can still interact with their followers and answer questions. They also don’t drain the budget as much as an “A-list” influencer so brands are able to keep their campaign costs down by working with mid-level influencers.
How to fix it: Numbers aren’t everything so be sure that you look at the whole influencer picture when you’re vetting your influencers and don’t choose someone just because they have a lot of followers. Look at the number of comments on their blog posts and their engagement rates on social to gauge how active the influencer is.
Also, a context fit is everything. If your brand doesn’t make sense with an influencer’s content then it’s not going to resonate with their audience no matter how many followers they have.
Mistake: Not Experimenting with Verticals
There will be some obvious verticals of influencers to work with that align with your brand. For example, an athletic clothing brand would obviously work with fitness influencers but they may also have luck in the travel space to show how versatile their clothing is.
How to fix it: It’s good to experiment with different influencer verticals so that you can track the data and see which spaces and which influencers are performing the best for your brand so you can refine your influencer marketing program based on data making it exponentially stronger each month.
Mistake: Lack of Influencer Personas
Influencer personas ensure that you’re reaching your target consumers through the influencers that you work with. They can be developed off of your buyer personas and examining common pain points that your target consumer experiences.
How to fix it: To develop influencer personas, here are a few key questions to ask yourself:
- What pain points do your target consumers experience and how can you work with influencers to speak to these pain points?
- Which types of influencers do your target consumers follow or seek out for advice for product recommendations?
- Which channels do your consumers spend the most time on and which influencers are active on these channels?
- Considering that the mid-level influencer costs $200-$400 per post, how much can you afford to pay your influencers?
- What types of influencers fit into telling your brands story accurately?
Mistake: Focusing Only on Sales
Sure, influencer marketing is capable of generating sales, but it achieves many more goals than sales so don’t judge success only by the amount of sales your campaigns bring in. Some other goals that influencer marketing achieves include brand awareness and earning media that you can use on your website, on social, on your marketing materials and more.
If your product is at a higher price point, it’s not an impulse buy so you may not generate a ton of sales from your influencer posts, but, these posts are contributing awareness and your target consumers may make the decision to purchase later.
How to fix it: Embrace other metrics than just influencer marketing ROI. Some key things to encompass when you’re measuring the results of your influencer program include number of pieces of earned media, traffic to your website, estimated impressions and a gain in social media followers.
Mistake: Not Seeding Your Influencers Properly
It’s your job to help your influencers talk about your brand properly and seed them with the knowledge and links that they need to tell your brands story. Neglecting to do so can result in misinformation about your brand.
How to fix it: You should be equipping influencers with a campaign theme, hashtags, brand story and anything else that you think would contribute to them telling a great story and having a great experience with your brand.
Mistake: Not Leaving Room for Creativity
Keeping in mind the point I made above about seeding your influencers, you also don’t want to be too strict with the post details as you want to leave room for creativity. Your influencers will know their audience better than you do and it’s wise to trust them to create content that will resonate with their audience.
How to fix it: Seed your influencers with what they need to know about your brand but allow them to authentically incorporate your brand into their lives and showcase their genuine experience with your brand through their content.
Mistake: Having a Campaign Mentality
Many brands make the mistake of viewing influencer marketing as a one-off campaign while the most successful influencer programs utilize influencers on an ongoing basis. The more a consumer hears a brand recommendation from an influencer, the level of trust in that recommendation increases.
How to fix it: Make a plan to work with influencers on a monthly or quarterly basis. A crafting company I did influencer marketing work for worked with influencers for a year on a quarterly and each quarter they sent the influencers instructions and supplies for art projects they were wanting to promote. The results were fantastic because the influencers’ audience saw multiple mentions of the same brand.
Mistake: Not Planning Out Themes
In order to earn great content, brands should give influencers a theme for their campaigns. A creative theme earns higher quality content than just a straight product review.
How to fix it: Align your themes with the messaging and products that you are trying to promote. For example, I worked with a clothing brand who was promoting a line of organic cotton clothing so we seeded the influencers with information on why consumers should wear organic cotton and built our campaign around that theme. The result was some really educational thought leadership content from the influencers.
Mistake: Neglecting to Define Clear Goals at the Beginning
I’ve seen many brands make the mistake of not defining goals for their influencer campaign and just doing it because they think they should. This leads to disorganization and results in less than ideal success.
How to fix it: Decide what you want to accomplish through influencer marketing and who you want to reach so that you can design and influencer campaign around these goals. Be sure to measure them every month and brainstorm how you can make your program better based off of the data you collect.
Mistake: Missing Out on the Multi-Channel Approach
Influencers have the ability to target potential consumers in a variety of ways and brands should take advantage of it. That’s why I recommend finding influencers who are bloggers who have a full social presence so that the earned blog posts show up in search results for years to come and so that the social media posts create a quick spark for brands.
How to fix it: Look at the whole picture and recruit influencers who have a strong blog presence as well as social presence and give them the direction and assets they need to post on all of their channels including some of the things that we discussed like hashtag, campaign themes and creative direction.
Have you seen any common influencer marketing mistakes that I missed? Would love to hear from you in the comments below!
For more on the dos and don’ts of influencer marketing, check out this great infographic from America Noize.