It can be frustrating to feel like all you’re doing is throwing spaghetti at the wall when it comes to your Influencer Marketing strategy. It’s not fun to waste time and money on a plan that feels more like you’re flying by the seat of your pants than a surefire growth strategy. Take a look at the top 10 common mistakes Brands make to see where there may be opportunity for you to improve. Even small changes can yield big results!
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9 Mistakes You May Be Making
1) Not Having Clear Campaign Goals to Begin With
We’ve covered this on many occasions on the blog here, but it’s important to understand what your campaign goals are to begin with so that your expectations when it comes to the means by which you’re going to achieve your goals (the type of Influencer campaign you run). The number one mistake we see is for Brands to hire a bunch of Influencers without any rhyme, reason, or consideration for their creators’ analytics and what they may yield in terms of campaign results.
2) Only Looking at Vanity Metrics
It’s a common misconception to believe that a high follower count = a ton of sales. It’s easy to fall into this trap with engagement as well when we look at websites and tools that pull engagement figures from our prospective partners’ Instagram accounts. Instead of falling blind to numbers that sound good, it would be wise to dig a little deeper. Ask a better question and you’ll get more helpful metrics. Yes, engagement IS important, but more important is the TYPE of engagement or how meaningful the engagement is. For example, shares and saves on Instagram are not counted in engagement metrics. But they should be considered just as much because they can provide valuable insights about the creator, the content, the audience, and the ultimate success of a campaign being executed on Instagram.
Other platforms will have their other respective less common but important metrics to take a second look at. There are other metrics (like followers) on platforms like Pinterest, for example, that seem attractive but don’t mean much in terms of the impact an Influencer may have on audiences across Pinterest and a blog respectively.
3) Not Utilizing Influencers on The Appropriate Platforms
A huge missed opportunity we see all the time is the chance for Brands to dig a little deeper into their Influencer partners in the beginning to uncover any other platforms that may be just as effective if not more effective on which to run a campaign. There are platforms with users who are inherently more engaged and primed to make purchases than others. This comes down to lack of research in the first phase of campaign planning where the target audience is defined and the place(s) + platform(s) that the ideal customer avatar will be primed and reached through an Influencer with an established audience base on the appropriate platform. For example, if you were a B2B company and you were looking to launch an Influencer campaign but went straight to Instagram to execute it, completely overlooking LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, that would be a massive oversight. When in doubt, go back to the basics of marketing and this simple recipe to avoid this mistake: who is my customer, where are they, how do I reach them?
4) Excluding Micro-Influencers
Another big no-no here, this one kind of goes hand in hand with mistaking vanity metrics for the be-all end-all for selecting Influencers to work with. Don’t overlook the creators with smaller audiences. If you want to read more about this, you can find an in-depth explanation in this article, but the gist is that smaller audiences usually = more engagement and thus the greater possibility of conversions. This point also goes back to defining goals at the beginning of a campaign and which Influencers will be able to best help you execute it based on the size, type, and relationship they have with their audience. Don’t write-off nano or micro influencers, especially if your product/service is very very niche. Utilizing Influencers with smaller followings may be exactly what you need to get the attention of a small but mighty and passionate community who will be your biggest advocates and spread the impact of your campaign.
5) Casting Too Wide of a Net
The whole throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks phenomenon is not a promising strategy. There’s something to be said for taking risks, trying new things, and being the first to go against the grain to test innovative ideas. However, hiring the first 5 Influential people that you scroll past without being intentional about who you might be attracting if you work with them is not a strategy at all. You have goals to hit, budgets to justify, and too much opportunity on the table to make the mistake of casting too wide a net. For example, think about using Influencer marketing to reach your target customer like a fishing trip. If you hire one Macro-Influencer with a really high follower count and reach, you may catch your fish alright but you’ll also catch all kinds of crabs, squid, and other creatures that you didn’t want. An audience that isn’t a good fit for your brand or products isn’t worth reaching and money is better spent fishing in the right corners of the ocean for the right customer’s you’re trying to hook and lure (okay, sorry I’ll stop with this fish analogy) and invite into your world where they can experience products and services that were created just for them.
6) Not Tracking Results
Multi-platform campaigns can be overwhelming for small Brands and businesses to launch if they don’t have the infrastructure to properly monitor and track the Influencers’ and content results. Every piece of data matters to collect, especially when you activate multiple Influencers at once because you then have a sort of leaderboard of which person’s audience is responding the best. Whether you are tracking impressions (awareness) or sales (conversions), a huge pitfall many newbie brands make is not paying close enough attention to the numbers. You can save yourself a ton of time, money, and heartache if you take the extra time to track what’s working and what’s not. It can even be as nuanced as whether your Influencers should be posting more in-feed posts vs. content on their stories. Think about how this plays into your campaigns and research the metrics that will matter most to hit in order to achieve your campaign goals.
7) Not Building Relationships
Another really unfortunate shortcoming of Brands (often the bigger name brands who may believe they have some prestige or are in a luxury category) is not making it a priority to create real relationships with the Influencers. This also goes back to ignoring smaller Influencers because you never know how fast someone’s audience can expand or how successful they’ll be in the future despite the size of their current audience. This is the state of marketing in one of the fastest growing and ever-changing environments on the internet (social media), and the power of network and partnerships are of the utmost importance. For more guidance in this area, refer to our dedicated blog post about How to Maintain Relationships with Influencers (even during a pandemic).
8) Not Iterating on Your Influencer Marketing Strategy
There are a couple different schools of thought here but in general, the old “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” idea doesn’t really apply to marketing since there are SO many distractions and constant new things competing for your customers’ attention. If you do find something that’s working, peel back the layers more and figure out what are some other pieces that could be optimized or updated for the next campaign. Thinking you can copy and paste or rinse and repeat for every campaign is a bit short-sighted and you might be leaving money on the table if you aren’t taking the time to optimize your strategy for each new campaign.
9) Restricting Creative Freedom
The conversation about how much “creative freedom” Influencers should have is not a new one. It’s pretty much been an uphill battle to give creative control over content back to the creators themselves since the dawn of Influencer marketing. Why? Because audiences everywhere are getting smarter, are becoming more aware of scripted content, and are more inclined to call out facades/fake-looking placements. In other words, because the reason you are utilizing an Influencer as a piece of your marketing mix in the first place is because they can reach and connect with your target audience in ways that you as a Brand cannot. Whether that be in terms of an existing follower base, language and content, or the personal touch of an individual people can connect with vs. a big Brand with less touchpoints and relatability. So remember that there are definitely guidelines that need to be met when it comes to #allthethings in a standard sponsored post (like proper ad disclosure and campaign-specific language/copy), but the delivery and much of the content framework should be left to the discretion of the creator to come off the most natural and effective.
There could be a host of things that may work wonders for you, while the next Brand is totally struggling while using the exact same tactics. That’s why we compiled this list of the most common mistakes you might be making if you’ve been struggling with your brand’s Influencer marketing strategy. Save this list for later and refer back to it when you get stuck so that you can start seeing the results you’ve been hoping for with your campaigns. If you have any questions, perhaps that are more specific to your Brand, we want to answer them for you! If you want to chat with us and flesh out the ways we can help guide you through some of the uncertainties around working with Influencers, give us a shout HERE!