The 9 Most Common Influencer Marketing Mistakes Brands Make

influencer marketing

Updated June 2022: Since we wrote this post back in 2018, influencer marketing has continued to grow. In 2022, spending is expected to grow to $4.14 billion. As brands invest more of their hard-earned marketing budgets into influencer marketing, it’s become even more critical that they avoid common influencer marketing mistakes. As such, we’ve updated this post with three more common mistakes and how to avoid them. 

When it comes to influencer marketing campaigns, we know a thing or two. Not to brag, but we’ve literally worked with hundreds of brands to support their influencer and advocacy marketing campaigns. Through our extensive works, we’ve learned to identify commons aspects of a successful campaign. We’ve also, more importantly, seen firsthand how simple mistakes and pitfalls can derail an influencer marketing campaign before it even hits the Twitter-verse.

We’ve laid out some of the most common mistakes brands make with their influencer marketing campaigns.

But before diving into these mishaps, let’s talk about what makes influencer marketing so appealing to brands in the first place.

Why More Brands Are Turning to Influencer Marketing

To see what makes influencer marketing appealing to brands, you only need to look at the numbers:

Influencers are effective at influencing because of the trust they’ve cultivated with their audience. At its core, it’s this trust that makes influencer marketing so effective at building awareness, fostering engagement, and driving sales.

But, to be successful, an influencer marketing campaign has to be done right.

9 Common Influencer Marketing Campaign Mistakes

1) Not Starting with a Goal in Mind

Deciding to let some random person mention your product on Instagram is not an influencer marketing campaign. At best it’s a one-off placement; at worst it can be a considerable waste of time and resources.  Successful influencer marketing campaigns are built on a foundation of mindful intent.

Brands need to have a tangible idea of what they want to achieve with their influencer marketing efforts.

  • Do they want to grow their own social following?
  • Increased brand awareness among a new audience?
  • Drive sales or leads?

Each of the above goals can be met through an influencer marketing campaign, but the specific strategies of a campaign are going to differ for each goal. Not all influencer marketing campaigns are created equal.

By understanding what you want to achieve with your campaign efforts, you can better identify the types of influencers you want to work with and the messaging you want them to share.

Which leads us to the second most common mistake we see brands make…

2) Choosing the Wrong Influencer

May we present the golden rule of influencers:

Don’t pick an influencer simply because they have a large following.

Following is important, but it’s not the end-all-be-all of influencer marketing. There are several factors that go into picking the “right” influencer including:

A) Brand Relevance

Does it make sense that a specific influencer is talking about your brand in the first place? Picking a relevant influencer or spokesperson for a brand can do wonders for supporting your influencer marketing goals. We’re talking increased trust, more engagement, and just a better overall experience for the audience.

Picking a non-relevant influencer, on the other hand, can have quite the opposite effect. People know when an influencer is simply shilling a brand for the paycheck and they tend to ignore (or even heckle) these types of messages. They provide prospective users a poor first engagement with your brand and are a waste of money to boot.

B) Audience Engagement

Does the influencer have a strong relationship with its audience? How many comments and reactions do their posts get? If an influencer has an audience of 20K followers but only gets one or two comments on their posts, chances are that your posts are going to be similarly received.

As a general rule, if an influencer has a strong relationship with their audience, they can expect a 2% click-through rate on any shared message. They can then expect a 2.5% conversion rate from those clicks. The better relationship an influencer has with their audience, the stronger the performance of these numbers.

C) Influencer Type

Top influencer marketing campaigns utilize a broad mix of different influencers to help drive ROI and success. We’ve found that there are 3 different types of influencers:

  • Celebrities: Individuals with a following of 100K+
  • Micro-influencers: Individuals who have a following of 10K to 100K
  • Everyday Fans: The “average” social media user with a following up to 10k

Celebrities are useful for building awareness and broadcasting your messaging to a large group of people with a single post, whereas Micro-Influencers and Everyday Fans tend to drive stronger engagement and have a deeper connection with their audience.

3) Not Providing the Influencer with Direction and Support

Influencers are content creators. They’re the kings and queens of their domains. They do a great job marketing themselves – but don’t expect them to be experts at marketing YOUR product. That’s your job.

Successful brands provide their influencers with clear content direction and creative support.  

While you don’t have to (nor should you) write the influencer’s piece verbatim, you should provide clear instruction on what you want their post to be about. Is the post going to point towards your brand’s social platforms? Promote a specific product? Or be associated with a certain lifestyle?

Let your influencers know the angle that you want them to take, then be sure to provide them with the tools they need to fulfill that angle. Don’t be stingy with product imagery, samples, or promos.

4) Opting for One-Off Blasts Instead of Longer-Term Campaigns

If you think your sales will rocket from a single post from an influencer, you’re going to be disappointed. Sure, it may work for Kylie Jenner and Oprah, but most brands aren’t media moguls with millions of followers. A single post, regardless of who’s sharing it, won’t be enough to move a customer from initial awareness to purchase in a single go.

The best performing influencer marketing campaigns are the ones built on long-term arrangements. Brands identify the influencers they want to work with and then lock them into a multi-post deal. This arrangement not only allows you to spread your work with an influencer over multiple weeks or months, it also allows your influencer to forge a stronger connection between their audience and your brand.

5) Not Staying Compliant

Some brands are still surprised to learn that the FTC has guidelines for working with influencers. In general, if an influencer receives any compensation from promoting your brand on their social channels, they need to disclose that in the post.

We wrote a great blog post on the ins-and-outs of these guidelines here.

Successful brands not only ensure that their influencers follow these guidelines, they encourage their influencers to be fully transparent in their dealings with a brand. Again, people are smart. Even if an influencer doesn’t say anything, it’ll still be obvious to many that they’re being compensated by a brand.

Be proud of your partnerships with your influencers and encourage your influencers to be fully transparent in their dealings with your brand.

6) Not Using the Right Platform to Manage Your Influencers

Successful influencer marketing campaigns aren’t managed from spreadsheets. Brands need the right tool to help engage with influencers, distribute content, and calculate the ROI and impact of their influencer marketing efforts.  

The SocialToaster platform not only automatically tracks the earned media value (EMV) generated by your influencer marketing campaign, it also organizes your brand’s Everyday Fans and Micro-Influencers to optimally mobilize them when you want them to share content. A single Everyday Fan doesn’t have near the reach as a celebrity but get 1,000 of them together through an advocacy marketing program and watch their combined reach eclipse even the most popular celebrity.

7) Not Measuring Results

One of the most common mistakes businesses make with influencer marketing is failing to track and measure their results. Without tracking and measuring your results, you won’t be able to determine whether or not your campaign was successful.

Be sure to set up a system for tracking key metrics like reach, engagement, and conversions, so you can make informed decisions about your influencer marketing strategy moving forward.

Work with your influencer to determine the optimum method to track results. Is it through provided URLs, affiliate codes, or landing page visits? There are several options to consider. You’ll want to also align your overarching goals.

8) Only Selecting One Influencer

While it can be tempting for brands new to influencer marketing to want to dip their toe in the influencer water by only working with one influencer at first, this isn’t always the best approach to evaluating influencer marketing.

If you only work with one influencer (and the campaign doesn’t work), your brand won’t definitively be able to say what the issue was. Did you choose the wrong influencer? The wrong messaging? The wrong media? Instead of answering these questions, most brands will look at the underperforming campaign and throw their hands up that influencer marketing “doesn’t work for them.”

While testing influencer marketing as a potential channel is essential, your test must include multiple influencers. This way, you can get a clear understanding of the channel’s effectiveness. Using multiple influencers also allows you to benefit from a compounding of your efforts.

In other words, if your target audience suddenly hears multiple influencers talking about your brand or product, it’ll have more of an impact on their buying decision than if only one influencer was toting your brand.

9) Relying on a Single Platform

When it comes to influencer marketing, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Don’t just focus on Instagram influencers, for example.

While Instagram is certainly one of the most popular platforms for influencer marketing, there are other platforms that can be just as effective – if not more so.

Depending on your goals and target audience, you might want to consider working with influencers on YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter, or even TikTok.

The key is to experiment and see what works best for you.

Avoiding these common mistakes will help you launch a successful influencer marketing campaign that achieves your objectives and generates the results you’re looking for. If you need help getting started, our team of experts can assist you with every step of your campaign,

Ready to take your influencer marketing campaign to the next level? We’re here to help! Schedule a free SocialToaster demo today.

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