In recent years the influencer marketing industry has seen expansive growth, with businesses able to reach consumers in an authentic manner. In many industries, traditional advertising has been seeing diminishing returns. It is getting harder to attract attention with banner ads, leading to a greater focus on quality sponsored content. Influencer marketing is one of the best ways to avoid the common issues, using content and authority to get audiences to pay attention. There are, though, a number of mistakes that can derail your campaigns. By avoiding the following mistakes, your campaigns will be in the best possible position to succeed.
Focusing Exclusively on Follower Count
The simplest approach to influencer marketing is to target people with the biggest following. We’ve all been there, and the thought to get the largest influencer in the market initially seems to be the key to selling. This technique is similar to buying ads and targeting the broadest keywords imaginable. Better results will be gained when you target influencers with an audience most likely to buy your products. You can often get higher engagement results with smaller accounts, focusing on less popular influencers who compliment your brand. Larger influencers may be appealing pages, but their followers don’t tend to all share similar interests and purchasing behaviors. By utilizing micro-influencers for campaigns, you can reach a more niche audience that your product and service may resonate better with and serve well. If you’re interested in finding micro-influencers in your industry, you can do so here. Follower counts can often be misleading, so think more about engagement levels such as likes, comments, and shares.
Not Having a Budget
Some business owners make the mistake of not treating influencer marketing like other types of paid advertising. They may approach an influencer as though they are doing them a favor. However, influencers earn a living from promotions, so they will take their social media and the partnerships they form incredibly seriously. This is no different than traditional advertising in a sense that you are paying for brand exposure and potential sale generations. Businesses must look at this with a similar lens: influencer promotion is paid promotion.
If your business finds itself low on advertising budget, then you can reach out to micro-influencers in your industry and offer them free products in exchange for posting. This works well with fashion lines, cosmetic companies, and athletic based brands. From what we’ve seen, the only thing influencers love more than free products is telling people they’ve been gifted free products from a brand they admire!
Not Tracking Results
Most forms of online advertising have detailed tracking so you can analyze a number of key metrics. A common mistake is to not view influencer marketing in the same way, failing to properly track results. Before starting a campaign, it is important to set some goals. Most commonly, sales will be the key metrics, but you may also be interested in engagement, brand awareness, and leads. Tracking the results against your target goals will show how successful the campaign has been, rather than simply making an assessment based on a gut feeling.
A unique way to track direct results with an influencer is to create a custom link for them to be using while promoting the product / service. For Instagram promotions, the influencer can drive traffic to this link by putting it in their bio and attaching it to their Instagram Story using the “Swipe-Up” feature. When the campaign has concluded, you can identify the number of users who went to the specific link and see if it matches up with the goals you set. If the data matches up, the campaign can be deemed a success.
A business will naturally have its own ideas about marketing and branding. Most businesses have worked hard to develop an identity that consumers understand. However, influencers have also worked to build their brand, so they will have their own ideas about the content they publish. It can be a mistake to dictate exactly what should be posted, losing the knowledge an influencer has about their audience. You may have strong ideas about the campaign, but be willing to listen to any creative ideas your collaborators have.
If you are using multiple influencers for a certain campaign, expect that each of them wants to put their own unique twist on how they promote the product / service. Campaigns that allow for unique messaging to be delivered by influencers often perform better than those which just copy and paste the text a brand gives them to promote. When taking this route, remember to keep the hashtags the same across the entire campaign.
Failing to Build Relationships
Influencer marketing requires a different approach to most online advertising. It is important to build relationships with influencers, treating them like partners in the process. In many cases, influencers will go above and beyond to promote you, becoming brand ambassadors for the products they believe in. In order to have this impact, though, you need to collaborate and offer help and assistance, enabling all parties to succeed. When there are healthy relationships between the company and the influencer, it is common to see organic promotion from the influencer in the future. By bringing them on as a spokesperson for the brand, they hold themselves to higher accountability when it comes to the brand and the identity of the company. Strong relationships turn into strong partnerships even beyond the initial campaign!
There is no perfect formula for an influencer campaign. The process is a collaborative one, so your brand needs to resonate with the audience of each influencer. When the process works, though, you can get a great deal of targeted exposure, helping to grow brand awareness. The more you commit to the process, the more data you compile, helping you to structure future campaigns with greater knowledge. As with all marketing campaigns, you won’t always get the results you expected, but the potential gains available from influencer marketing make it worth your while.