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Unlucky 7: Common Influencer Marketing Mistakes Brands Keep Making

These are our top tips for getting influencer marketing right!

If brands get influencer marketing right, it can launch them into stratospheric status. Take Glossier for example, they’re a company who now shift more product per store square footage than Apple do, and if you look at how they grew to seemingly overnight cult status, it’s micro–influencers that stand out at the core of their success. Founder Emily Weiss is well connected, so she could’ve asked her celebrity friends to preach about the product online, but instead she worked with people you’d never heard of, who were influencers in their pockets of community. This ever-expanding network of super fans and micro-influencers, who might have low individual reach but high influencer locally, has driven Glossier to become one of the most successful beauty brands of all time. However, if brands get influencer marketing wrong, they can burn more bridges than the ones they’re trying to build, and the problem is that many are making such mistakes without really understanding how or why. As an agency, we’re obsessed with data – it drives perfection and guarantees results – so instead of using influencers as billboards (most common mistake Numéro Uno), we harness their unique capabilities to inspire consumers and drive impact for brands.

So, to help you make sure you’re building bridges instead of burning them, we’ve identified seven different mistakes brands tend to be making when it comes to influencer marketing. Avoid them, and you’re golden!

  1. Looking At The Wrong Numbers
    • A lot of brands will be attracted by the dizzying heights of an influencer’s follower count, but whilst the massive ‘M’ might seem attractive when you’re investing time, money and effort into someone, having millions of followers very often means an influencer’s engagement rate is really low. The algorithms that govern our social spaces mean that Instead of focusing on follower counts, brands should be looking at more relevant, deeper statistics. This could be average reach per post, fan base split, or of course engagement rates.
  1. Multiple Contacts Emailing The Same Influencer
    • When you introduce influencer marketing to your company’s strategy for the first time, it can be difficult to know which team you should appoint to look after them. Whether it’s the PR, Creative or Social Media Marketing team (this last one is your best bet in our opinion), you need to make sure only one person is contacting one influencer. Good influencers are inundated with brand deals daily, so things will get confusing and unnecessarily complicated if they’re trying to adhere to different needs and standards all at the same time. Influencers are freelancers for a reason – efficient, 1:1 relationships will work best.
  1. Offering Different Fees, To The Same Influencers
    • When there’s multiple points of contact, brands are getting in touch with influencers and offering payments that aren’t align. They’re also offering influencers in the same space, different rates. Introduce standardized payments, track last point of contact and document fees.
  1. Not Setting Out KPIs Upfront
    • Brands very often get overexcited about the beautiful content influencers are busy creating for them, that by the time their campaign comes to an end, they become frustrated when they realise they’re clueless on how to measure the actual effect of the campaign. If brands are using influencers to promote a product, service or otherwise they need to understand the exactly how to measure and evaluate a campaign’s effect numerically. This is why it’s imperative that brands define their KPIs before content creation kicks off – if you don’t know what good looks like, how will you know if you’ve achieved it?
  1. Poor Briefing
    • Bad briefing is the poison spoiling nearly all influencer marketing cakes. Influencers are natural creatives, but guidance is important – especially the right sort of guidance. If you brief badly, they won’t understand what you want and therefore you won’t get the most out of them. Worst still, briefing them to post content to their own audience, that’s specifically tailored to youraudience, means it’ll look like an #ad, read very inauthentically and totally belittle their creativity. So, brief properly. Capiche?
  1. Being Too Restrictive
    • This one is sort of subheading to the ‘poor briefing’ bullet, but it’s a really important one to consider. This is a big problem with brands assigning their in-house creative team to liaise with influencers. It’s important to remember that influencers are freelancers, so they’re not used to extremely strict deadlines and like to do things their own way – so let your influencers breathe. Whilst guidance is important, it’s also imperative you don’t try to control every aspect of the influencer collaboration. Each influencer has their own unique way of communicating, which is what their followers expect and love, so when you hand them a script – so to speak – their voice is lost and your content instantly loses authenticity.
  1. Not Putting Them On Contracts
    • One of the biggest problems surrounding influencer marketing right now, is a worrying abundance of fake followers. Without getting too scary, buying followers is fraud. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to spot fake followers before you get influencers on board (pro tip: extremely low engagement rates in comparison to their follower count = probably bought their followers), but one way to guarantee you won’t end up in the midst of a fraud scandal, is to ensure your influencers sign a contract before working on them, that includes a fraudulent activity clause. It’ll also ensure you’re not being taken for a ride, so you can enforce deadlines and make sure they’re not billing you way above what their fee is.