Influencer campaigns are all the rage these days and for good reason. For every $1 that brands invest into influencer marketing, they receive $5.20 in return. In the wake of this runaway success, firms everywhere have poured money into this new channel.
However, things don’t always go as planned. In the rush to find those large marketing returns, brands make mistakes leading to suboptimal outcomes. As a result, those brands are left frustrated and disillusioned, wondering if they should revise their marketing strategies and focus on traditional channels.
In reality, they likely made simple mistakes that could have been avoided with proper research. In this guide, we’ll provide you with the most common influencer marketing mistakes–and how you can avoid them.
What Are the Worst Influencer Marketing Mistakes?
The world of influencer marketing is competitive enough as it is; you don’t need unnecessary errors weighing you down. Here are some influencer marketing mistakes to avoid:
1. Being Socially Insensitive
Tread with extreme caution if you’re thinking about leveraging a social cause for advertising clout. A few years ago, Pepsi partnered with the infamous Kendall Jenner to promote their products amid a national conversation about law enforcement fairness.
While it's difficult to tell what they were thinking, what they created was Kendall saving the day by uniting protesters and police officers with their carbonated beverage. This inevitably struck a dissonant chord with protestors, who universally accused Pepsi of trivializing their movement for easy PR.
While it certainly generated press for Pepsi, it was all the wrong kind as they scrambled to backtrack and apologize. If you’re deadset on running an influencer campaign about a social cause, take extreme care to send the right message.
2. Failing to Comply With Rules
Given how much influence advertisers have, they must act responsibly with their promotions. Such was not the case when influencer Kim Kardashian partnered with women’s pharmaceutical company Duchesnay.
When she promoted their morning sickness drug, she failed to emphasize the risks associated with taking their product. They earned the ire of the FDA, who demanded that Duchesnay immediately revise or remove their post.
Luring people into purchasing a drug without understanding the possible side effects? Let’s just say it was poor PR for both Kim and Duchesnay and leave it at that. If you don’t want your company to suffer a similar disaster, understand all the rules and regulations associated with advertising your product.
3. Poor Vetting Procedures
When you use an influencer to promote your product, understand that they’re acting as a full representative of your brand. If you choose an influencer with negative baggage, this can reflect poorly on your brand, whether or not you were even aware.
Firstly, be sure to comb through your target influencer's social profiles, and confirm they haven’t posted anything that would reflect poorly on your business. As a further proactive measure, ensure that the influencer understands that poor behavior on their part will result in the termination of any active campaign (according to your guidelines).
4. Not Building Real Relationships
When promoting with any influencer, it’s essential to remember that you’re dealing with a person rather than soulless advertising automation.
Take the time to get to know the personalities you’re working with and convince them to love your brand. This will make for profitable long-term relationships and more effective advertising campaigns. When it comes to promotional material, there’s no replacement for genuine enthusiasm.
5. Ignoring Micro-Influencers
While big influencers are great for reaching lots of people at once, their audience engagement is probably worse than you think. A few years ago, a story came out about an influencer with over two million followers. She decided she wanted to start a clothing line, and a firm agreed to create her merch if she could sell just 36 shirts from the initial drop.
The result? She failed; she couldn’t even sell three dozen t-shirts to an audience of two-million followers. The moral of the story is that high followings do not necessarily translate to high engagement, and the big bills that those influencers rack up may not be worth it.
Instead, consider investing in micro-influencers: influencers with smaller followings. While your reach may not be as big on paper, the more intimate relationships between small profiles and their following can translate to much higher engagement.
Micro-influencers are also the preferred way of reaching local audiences. While bigger influencers speak to a broad audience, targeting people influential in specific communities can lead to great results.
The biggest mistake of all is ignoring influencer marketing. This channel has exploded since its inception in the early 2010s and shows no signs of stopping as social media continues to find new ways to grow.
In recent years, advertisers have found themselves frustrated with trying to reach younger generations effectively. Young folks growing up on the internet have found themselves inoculated to traditional advertising, after having been bombarded with it during their developmental years. As a result, these same advertisers have leveraged alternative tactics to reach their target audience more organically.
The hallmark of this philosophy is influencer marketing. Advertising via a trusted source (in this case the influencer) bridges the gap between brands and their younger targets. As time passes, brands will find influencer marketing essential rather than simply interesting. When the time comes to leverage these channels, make sure your brand is doing it right, rather than making the mistakes outlined above.