11 Influencer Marketing Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs

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Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy shoppers. Television ads are now less effective than ever, and for the first time in history more money was spent on digital advertising than on TV ads. But digital ads are also less appealing than before, and younger demographics are starting to eschew traditional advertising formats altogether.

Influencer marketing, on the other hand, is growing in popularity. One survey found that approximately 95 percent of marketers who employed an influencer marketing strategy thought it was effective.

So how can you launch a successful influencer marketing strategy? If you’re asking yourself this question, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 11 common mistakes that marketers must avoid in order to do exactly that.

1. Working with an influencer you can’t afford.

Influencers can be found to suit a variety of budgets. Those who are well known can charge hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single post on social media. Opting for an influencer you simply cannot afford with the expectation that the attention they generate will catapult your business to the next level is misguided.

In reality, working with an influencer who is out of budget will make it harder for you to achieve an ROI-positive outcome. Instead, focus on finding influencers who comfortably fit within your budget. Micro-influencers are often much less expensive than celebrity influencers, and in some circumstances they can be just as effective.

2. Selecting an influencer without researching your target audience.

Marketers make this mistake all too often. They assume that because an influencer is famous, or because the marketing team is a fan of a specific influencer, the target audience will be receptive to the influencer’s promotion.

The best marketers research their target audience carefully before selecting an influencer. It’s important to understand which influencers will have credibility among your target demographic. To determine this, you can turn to focus groups. Or, like the website BodyBuilding.com, you can launch an influencer marketing competition in which fans vote for their favorite “brand ambassador.”

3. Failing to select a measurable goal before the campaign launches.

Developing a measurable goal before selecting an influencer will help you achieve meaningful results. Share the goal with the influencer so that they can work with you to achieve the goal. Having a goal will make it easy for you to know whether the influencer campaign was successful, which in turn will allow you to swiftly adjust your marketing strategy.

All too often, marketers launch an influencer marketing campaign hoping to increase “reach” or “brand awareness” without having a plan to measure either one. Both reach and brand awareness can be measured with a platform like Brandmates, but having some vague notion that you can build your brand through influencer marketing is a recipe for failure.

4. Assuming that influencer marketing is a short-term strategy.

When done well, influencer marketing is a long-term initiative that requires trial and error to yield meaningful results. In most cases, brands will not see long-lasting results thanks to a few social media posts from an influencer.

Instead, good influencer marketing campaigns take place over weeks or months and entail a variety of marketing tactics to convey a carefully developed message. Rather than paying an influencer to share a post on Instagram, work with an influencer who is committed to introducing their audience to your brand through social media posts, interviews, product reviews and more.

5. Limiting an influencer strategy to a single platform.

As mentioned above, influencer marketing should not be a short-term engagement. The best campaigns employ a series of platforms to ensure that the target audience receives a clear and ongoing message.

In addition to a social media platform like Instagram or Snapchat, influencer marketing campaigns often involve video, email, blog posts and, in some cases, print advertisements.

6. Overlooking the content-marketing opportunities that come from influencer campaigns.

In 2017, nearly 47 percent of the global population accessed the internet. By 2021, that number is expected to be well over 50 percent. As the internet reaches more people, search engine marketing will continue to play an important role in connecting brands with prospective customers.

Influencer marketing can provide marketers with valuable material that can be repurposed to form content assets discoverable via organic search. An interview with an influencer can become a blog post, or social media posts promoting your product or service can become testimonials placed on your website.

7. Launching an influencer campaign without having the proper infrastructure in place to support demand.

In some cases, an influencer marketing campaign spikes demand for a product or service in a matter of minutes. Marketers must ensure that their organization has the infrastructure in place to support this spike, or they could miss a major opportunity to build valuable relationships with prospective customers.

Among the things to consider before launching a large influencer marketing campaign are your website’s capacity to handle a large uptick in visitors, and your customer and social media support team’s ability to handle an influx of questions.

8. Thinking that influencer marketing is just for B2C brands.

Business-to-consumer brands have embraced influencer marketing more than business-to-business brands have. However, many business-to-business brands are starting to sense the paradigm shift and are moving toward influencer marketing.

For example, Hubspot worked with Gary Vaynerchuk to develop a video series about entrepreneurship, and IBM launched an event called Amplify designed to engage influencers in a conversation about technology and the future of work.

9. Hiring an influencer without speaking with past clients.

Avoid hiring an influencer without first speaking to past clients from your industry. A chat with a former client will let you know if the influencer is representing him or herself accurately, and will give you insights into how best to work with the influencer to achieve your goals.

If an influencer is unable to provide you with at least one reference, you have a decision to make. Either work with the influencer knowing that it’s a gamble, or opt for someone more experienced. If you do choose to work with the influencer, you should be able to secure a favorable rate.

10. Forgetting to educate the influencer about your product or service.

Regardless of how experienced the influencer you’re working with may be, it never hurts to educate them about the industry and about your organization. Otherwise, it will be difficult for the influencer to properly position your brand in a way that is effective and feels genuine.

Take the time to introduce the influencer to your organization, have them meet key people from various departments and have your team write a brief that clearly outlines how your product or service should be positioned. Finally, ensure that the influencer understands how your brand is differentiated from the competition.

11. Believing that the leadership team within your organization will automatically support influencer marketing.

Just because the internet is abuzz with tales of successful influencer marketing campaigns doesn’t mean that your senior leadership team will immediately support an influencer-oriented marketing strategy. Be prepared to present those who are not aware of the latest marketing trends with a metrics-driven argument showing that most audiences prefer influencer marketing to traditional tactics.

Conclusion

If you’re thinking of launching an influencer marketing campaign, you’re on the right track. There’s a reason why the world’s best brands are turning away from other marketing strategies in favor of influencers. To ensure that your next influencer campaign is successful, make sure to start with a measurable goal in mind, and select a seasoned, well-priced influencer with a proven track record.

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