Learn about the influencer marketing mistakes that cost brands thousands of dollars.
The global influencer marketing market jumped from $1.7 billion in 2016 to $13.8 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow to $16.4 billion in 2022.
About 49% of consumers today depend on influencer recommendations to make informed purchases when shopping online or offline. You too, we’re sure, have already tried to capitalize on the power of the influence of social media influencers. However, most brands do not understand the very basics of working with social media influencers and often get into the regular checklists of launching campaigns and burning marketing dollars.
Remember that it is not as plain simple as shelling out money to hire an influencer with a 100k or a 1Mn following on Instagram. There are brands that have built themselves ground-up using the power of social media influencers’ words, and there are many brands (including some very big names) who’ve not been able to crack anything at all with it!
Influencers can be great for driving sales, but if you don’t choose wisely, you risk alienating your customers and damaging your brand. Here’s what you need to know about influencer marketing mistakes so you can avoid them and focus on the good stuff while venturing into influencer marketing for your brand.
11 Influencer marketing mistakes for your next marketing campaign
Mistake #1: Having ambiguous influencer marketing goals
The most common influencer marketing mistake that almost all brands make is not having clear goals. Many brands just jump onto the social media influencer marketing bandwagon without clearly quantifying the success. It is usually as vague as a combination of reach and conversions. However, defining just that may not be optimal.
If you have an unclear idea of what you want to achieve with your influencer marketing campaign, you are likely to end up with a less effective campaign. This could hurt your brand’s reputation as well as the trustworthiness of your brand or product in the eyes of consumers.
The Fix: An influencer marketing campaign must have SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic & timebound) goals. If your goal is to maximize sales, go after the conversion metric and have a strategy focused on it. If the goal is simply to build brand awareness, go after massive reach as a goal within a certain period of time. Go after a combination of reach, loyalty, recall, conversions, and consumer data, and you might end up accomplishing none of these sub-goals. Center your influencer marketing campaign around 1-2 key metrics and build the whole narrative only around it.
Mistake #2: Blindly going after the followership numbers
Many smaller or newbie brands try to emulate the influencer marketing tactics of the largest brands in their industry vertical. They do this without realizing that the goals can be very different for the larger brands. Simply hiring influencers in a vertical by looking at their followership number is a classic example of bad influencer marketing. The followers could be fake, dormant, or simply unresponsive to commercial callouts. That’s what we call money gone down the drain forever!
The Fix: Look at an influencer’s engagement rate and not just the follower count. An influencer with a much lesser following may have significantly better engagement (and hence better chances of conversion). Look out for the quality of content and the influencer’s presence on other social media platforms as well. Hiring an influencer with a good engagement rate for posts on 2-3 social platforms with a decent following usually has a better ROI than paying one influencer with a massive following on just one platform with average engagement numbers.
Mistake #3: Not having clear discussions and contracts in place
Most marketers rush into influencer marketing campaigns citing the time sensitivity or life cycle of a trend or a product launch that they want to capitalize on. In this rush, they often hire influencers for barter deals which end up not showing up with the desired content. They may often come back with substandard quality content for the heck of it. In many cases, influencers may as well sue the brands if the contracts aren’t robust enough.
The Fix: Work with your legal team to create a standard contract that is simple to understand and enforce. It must have clauses on payment and deliverables along with the mutually agreed-upon timelines. All the payouts must be made dependent on the final approved content. Assuming no defaults is one big influencer marketing mistake you must avoid at all costs. The influencers are a tribe of creative folks who can sometimes be tricky to work with.
Mistake #4: Hiring the wrong influencers for the campaign
One size doesn’t fit all – it applies to the influencer selection process so much more than anything else today. A common mistake brands make while selecting influencers for their marketing campaigns is to go after the most popular names and pay heap loads of money.
The Fix: Look at things like authenticity of content, engagement rates, and frequency of activity. You can also look at the key competitor brands they may have endorsed and take a call whether you’d want someone who does repeat posts only for your brand or for competitors as well.
Mistake #5: Not diversifying the campaign to include micro & nano influencers
Nano influencers have a strong local presence and have generally higher engagement rates. These are influencers with <10k followers but are a breed that can’t be ignored. One common influencer marketing mistake is to not include different types of influencers and completely ignore the smaller ones.
The Fix: Dunkin Donuts ran several successful campaigns with nano influencers. Brands looking to establish a niche should include nano and micro-influencers in their influencer marketing campaigns.
Mistake #6: Building briefs that restrict the creativity of the influencers
Most brand marketers create tight outlines for content on social media. They go too far in sharing the exact script, location of the shoot, and even the background! This renders content generated by creators look very bland and leaves little room for them to be their authentic selves – something their followers look out for in their every post! Result? The followers are most likely to ignore such a post that is too brand-mediated.
The Fix: Share key pointers and catchphrases that must necessarily be included in the influencer’s post. Restrict yourself to sharing only sample content ideas and leave room for the influencers’ creativity in conceptualization & production. The results may surprise you!
Mistake #7: Making content unengaging by making it too direct selling-out
Entertainment-led commerce always wins over direct selling commerce. But most brands forget this while hiring influencers. They urge them to pitch the product directly and ask their followers to buy. This can be counterproductive, and many social media users call direct selling by their favorite content creators a big turn-off.
The Fix: Let the influencers work on subtle placement, organic-sounding reviews, and soft nudges for influencing product sales. Research says that 20% of consumers are actually ready to stop following an influencer should he or she fail to be up-front about advertising or sponsorships. Hence, the ideal approach is to call out a promotional post upfront but without taking away the entertainment factor from the content. It must remain as authentic as ever, the honesty is an added advantage that leads to better conversions.
Mistake #8: Not measuring influencer marketing ROI for previous campaigns
Measuring ROI can be difficult if an influencer marketing campaign isn’t started with a clear goal metric in the first place. The correct goal metric can only be based on the ROI analysis of previous campaigns. For example, if more brand awareness was the goal, just looking at the number of impressions of the influencer posts may not be the real picture.
The Fix: Have clear goals at the start of the campaign and analyze the returns periodically so as to be able to take corrective measures in time. For example, if orders are the final goal, give each influencer a customized coupon code that they can share with their followers for a 5-20% discount. You must then backtrack to see which influencers could generate the maximum number of orders and utilize them again for future campaigns.
Mistake #9: Not using social listening & sentiment analysis
Social listening and sentiment analysis are essentially going deep into the social conversations around your brand (and the industry as well). Not using the two would mean a significant loss of opportunity to understand the true brand perception among your consumers (and potential consumers).
The Fix: Use a social media listening tool to understand the conversations, and identify patterns and keywords being used repeatedly for your brand. For example, by tracking social media conversations, you may find out that ‘expensive’ is the word featured all across. A new price strategy may come out as the best growth strategy as compared to anything purely based on what your consumers are ‘actually’ talking about.
One such tool for analyzing social media conversations and sentiment analysis is Radarr. It is a powerful social media intelligence tool that helps you easily listen to, monitor, and track online conversations. It’s an AI-powered solution that aggregates all digital conversations into a unified dashboard, making it easy to:
- Understand your audience
- Identify brand sentiment
- Manage reputation and crises
Mistake #10: Not utilizing influencers across different verticals
One of the biggest influencer marketing mistakes you can make is not using influencers across different verticals. This means that you’re only hiring from one vertical, like fashion or beauty or travel, over and over again. Hiring an influencer who only promotes a specific industry will likely be less effective than someone who promotes multiple industries.
Why? Because the first influencer has been seen by followers as someone who only promotes a single industry, so when they promote a product or service outside of that industry, it’s seen as an unrelated endorsement rather than an extension of their brand.
The Fix: Consider diversifying your influencers’ portfolio by hiring them from different industries—this way, when they promote your product or service, it’ll feel more like an extension of their own brand than an unrelated endorsement.
Mistake #11: Focusing on the sales metric alone
It’s easy to get caught up in measuring the effectiveness of your influencer marketing campaign in terms of sales. After all, that’s what you’re trying to do! But if you don’t also measure how well your campaign is doing at building brand awareness and positive sentiment toward your company, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.
When you focus only on sales, you run the risk of:
– Failing to meet your campaign goals because there wasn’t enough time for a significant amount of sales to come in by the end date.
– Not getting enough customers who were actually interested in your product because they didn’t see any value in it compared to what they already had or could get elsewhere.
The Fix: In order to get a good ROI, you need to measure not just sales but also brand awareness, engagement, and customer retention.
Influencer marketing is a gold mine of opportunities. Influencers have better influence than celebrities nowadays for a simple reason – consumers can relate to them better. By avoiding the above mistakes, you can make your next influencer marketing campaign more impactful than ever.
It’s now time to utilize the power of social media rather than being at the receiving end of uncertain trends. Radarr is one powerful social and digital listening platform that helps brands gather actionable insights about their audience response, interests, and market trends in a fuss-free way, in real-time.