Influencer marketing is a powerful and cost-effective way to reach and engage your audience, but there are plenty of common mistakes that people make when executing their campaigns. Luckily, I've made them all myself and have learnt the hard lessons of failure so you don't have to.
Mistake #1: Your Influencers Don't Align With Your Audience
Influencer alignment is one of the hardest things to get right but is hands-down the most important element of any campaign. You need to know your audience inside-out and find the influencers who are going to have the biggest impact on that audience.
Your first step should be to develop an Ideal Customer Avatar that represents the type of person you'd like to have buying your products. You should know every detail about this person from what books they read to how often they go to gym. There are plenty of good ideal customer profile templates around and we've even shared the one we use for our clients.
The benefit of having an intimate knowledge of your ideal customer is that you are able to more quickly and accurately gauge whether or not they will respond well to an influencer.
Mistake #2: Your Influencers Aren't Telling Good Stories
Good advertising is about good stories and you need to get your influencers to tell stories with their posts. I've seen countless influencer posts that feature a bland photo of a product front and centre with a generic, soulless marketing message accompanying it.
This simply won't work.
The best influencer campaigns sell a lifestyle by telling a story. The product itself should be secondary to the story it allows the influencer to tell. For example, if you're selling beanies to snowboarders, you would have your influencer record a short video of them tackling a new slope while wearing one of them. Sure, they could casually mention the brand but the focus of the video would be on the adventure, freedom and excitement that snowboarders love.
Mistake #3: You're Directing Your Influencers Too Much
This follows on from and almost seems to contradict Mistake #2. How can you get your influencers to tell good stories without directing them?
The key is to inspire your influencers to tell stories without telling them what those stories should be. It's a delicate balancing act between subtly nudging them in the right direction without blatantly giving them a script to follow.
The most effective influencer marketing campaigns don't come across as marketing campaigns at all, but rather as creative human stories told through the lens of a product. Allow your influencers the freedom to express themselves in their own unique way because that's what their followers signed up for.
Mistake #4: You Aren't Building Long Term Relationships
Influencer marketing is all about relationships. You want to nurture healthy, long-term relationships with the influencers that have good chemistry with your brand. In the same way that a one-night stand can often leave one feeling empty and unfulfilled, so too can a one-off influencer post.
Sometimes the greatest results are only achieved later in the relationship when your products become as much a part of your audience's day as the influencer's posts.
Not every influencer relationship is going to work out. That's totally normal and to be expected. The key is to develop the ones that do. So instead of thanking the influencer and sending them on their merry way; turn them into a long-term brand ambassador.
Mistake #5: You Aren't Setting Goals From The Outset
None of the above matters if you don't know what you're aiming to achieve with your campaign in the first place. You should have KPI's and the means to track them in place from the outset.
If your primary focus is engagement; use a custom hashtag and a tool like analisa.io to track it. If it's sales; use a custom tracking link or a unique discount code.
You should know exactly which influencers are helping you reach your goals and focus on building relationships with them.
Influencer marketing is one of the most powerful tools around and can seriously boost your brand exposure and sales; but making the common mistakes listed above could easily lead you to believe that it doesn't work.
Identify your ideal customer, find influencers based on your findings and build long-term relationships with the ones who tell the best stories for your brand.