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With the rise of influencer culture in the digital era, social media has become a staple of mobile marketing. As a result, user-generated content has never been more relevant. Nowadays, any influencer with a large enough following can successfully launch a brand to superstardom with a well-planned influencer marketing strategy.
Even though influencer marketing is a very useful tool, this strategy can cost time and money when it is poorly implemented, dragging any company’s advertising to the ground.
Luckily, we have compiled the most common mistakes companies make regarding influencer marketing just so that you can avoid making them in the future.
Thinking it Doesn’t Work
Although it may be difficult to believe, some companies simply refuse to think of this strategy as a viable option. Fashion, video games, and the fitness industry are the markets commonly associated with influencer marketing. However, it can be implemented in any sector and by any company.
Take a page out of Apple’s marketing strategy and let others market for you. Companies like Apple have used social media and influencer marketing to build a strong culture around their brand image. Consumer reviews by technology pundits usually work as their main advertising strategy when they launch a new product.
This approach to marketing offers many advantages. For starters, it significantly reduces the costs of hiring marketers and advertisers, and it helps brands get in touch with their customers directly, establishing an interactive marketing touchpoint.
Not Choosing the Correct Platform
Nowadays, influencers are everywhere. In a world dominated by Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Twitch, and Twitter, it’s nearly impossible to know what social media platform best fits your brand and product.
Although sources like Statista can tell you which are the most used apps, that data is merely referential and too generic.
Companies looking to venture into influencer marketing should thus check where their followers are the most active in order to pave the way for a prospective influencer who can successfully interact with their audience and followers.
Lack of Transparency
Let’s be very clear about this point: intentionally hiding information from potential buyers doesn’t benefit anyone. It can hurt both the brand’s public image and the influencer’s reputation, and it can also mislead the audience.
Regarding the latter, more extreme cases (like ungenuine reviews) can be used in court as deceptive or false advertising. In general, it’s strongly recommended to ask influencers to clearly state that their content is sponsored.
In recent years, with the rapid rise of influencer marketing, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has started to impose stricter surveillance and more rigid guidelines regarding sponsored social media posts on platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.
As a result, the FTC has called for tougher penalties in cases where endorsement guidelines aren’t properly followed.
Reach is Not the Only Metric
When trying to develop the perfect influencer marketing campaign, it’s important to understand what social media metrics matter the most. Usually, companies fall into the trap of only looking at reach, thinking that influencers with the largest following will be the most beneficial to them.
However, no matter how big an influencer’s audience is, if their content or posts generate large bounce rates, then the campaign will be pointless.
It’s far more important to prioritize engagement, i.e., to see just how much an influencer’s opinion matters. Different measuring ratios like CTR or lead conversion rates are also extremely helpful when trying to identify how to approach an influencer’s work during a marketing campaign.
Not Being Consistent Throughout a Campaign
Many businesses make the mistake of approaching influencer marketing as a one-off thing, expecting immediate results and an instant growth in sales. However, influencer marketing is no different from any other marketing campaign.
In reality, it usually takes influencers a while to gain the trust of their audience when introducing them to a new brand or product. Remember, when planning and executing a marketing campaign, patience is a virtue.
Not Matching the Right Influencer with the Right Product
As mentioned before, going for the most popular influencer and just looking at the number of followers they have is simply not good enough. Choosing a big name instead of opting for a more specific or niche influencer that understands the industry you work in is another common mistake.
In order to pick the ideal influencer to represent your brand, it is important to develop robust influencer personas. Much like buyer personas, these profiles help you find the perfect match for your campaign and product.
How about a hypothetical example? Let’s say your company sells telecommunications products and services. Who would you ask to post a tutorial explaining how to fax a document online? Here are two influencer personas to choose from:
- John, 24. He has over a million followers on Instagram and is a hugely popular fitness influencer.
- David, 35. He runs a YouTube channel with a little over 50 thousand subscribers and mostly uploads vlogs, reviews, and tutorials regarding gadgets and technology.
If the company in question in this example was looking for the perfect influencer to explain how to receive a fax without a fax machine, David would be the better choice. However, if the company venturing into influencer marketing was a growing fitness apparel brand, John would be the perfect ambassador for them.
Creating Unoriginal Content
Coming up with eye-catching and original marketing messages is an essential part of advertising, and influencer marketing is no different. Influencers and brands should try to design and post memorable content that turns leads into buyers.
So how can a company accomplish this? The real-life example of Sony and the launching of the PlayStation 5 comes to mind. Spanish streamer Ibai Llanos (a Twitch superstar with five million subscribers on the aforementioned streaming platform and 7 million followers on Instagram and Twitter combined) partnered with Sony to promote the launching of their new console.
Ibai promoted the unboxing of Sony’s new product, as many other influencers did. However, in an unexpected turn of events, the live streaming turned out to be a horror short film directed by award-winning filmmaker Jaume Balaguero.
The viral marketing video reached over 30 million views in a week. The result was the most unique advertising campaign the company has ever launched.
Obsessing Over Selling a Product
As mentioned before, building a strong brand image and grabbing your lead’s attention are as important as seeing those sales rates go up. Companies that put out overly promotional marketing regarding a product tend to do worse than those that work on reinforcing their brand image or simply create eye-catching content.
Influencers that post overly corporate ads usually turn audiences away since their followers feel like both the content creator and the brand in question are trying to desperately sell a product.
Lack of Collaboration Between Companies and Influencers
Not fully integrating influencers during the development of marketing strategies is another mistake that usually ends up in unsuccessful partnerships. Neglecting to fill influencers in about your brand’s image or what products you want them to promote can lead to embarrassing and very public mix-ups, as well as miscommunication and misrepresentation of your business.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, most marketing teams have been forced to work from home. Luckily, these departments can carry on developing advertising strategies remotely, as well as implementing hybrid working, shifting between occasional office hours and telecommuting. You should do the same with influencers.
Implementing collaboration tools that allow influencers and advertisers to work together remotely can help keep everybody in the loop. To do so, you should scout the growing market of apps dedicated to file sharing for small businesses.
Victorio is the Associate SEO Director at RingCentral, a global leader in cloud-based communications and collaboration solutions. He has over 13 years of extensive involvement on web and digital operations with diverse experience as web engineer, product manager, and digital marketing strategist.