Influencer marketing has become one of the most popular digital marketing tactics, and for good reason. Partnering with influencers allows brands to tap into new audiences, drive engagement, and ultimately boost sales. According to a recent study, influencer marketing delivers 11X higher ROI compared to traditional digital marketing methods.
With the tremendous potential also comes risks. Influencer marketing is still relatively new and unregulated. It’s easy for brands to make missteps that jeopardize their credibility and bottom line. A partnership gone wrong can even backfire and cause PR nightmares.
That’s why it’s crucial for brands to avoid common influencer marketing mistakes. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. By being aware of potential pitfalls and staying vigilant, marketers can help ensure their influencer campaigns amplify their brand rather than expose them to any dangers.
This article outlines key mistakes brands should steer clear of when running influencer campaigns and partnerships. Follow these tips and you’ll be on the path to developing effective, fruitful collaborations with influencers. Read on to learn what to avoid when managing influencer marketing.
Not Having Clear Goals and Expectations
It’s critical to align with your influencers on campaign objectives and desired outcomes right from the start. Be very specific about what you want to achieve through the partnership. Do you want to generate awareness? Drive traffic and conversions? Improve brand sentiment? Boost engagement rates? Determine 1-3 core goals and ideal KPIs to track.
Clearly communicate these goals to your influencers and have an open discussion about how they envision contributing towards them through their content. Provide examples of the tone, messaging, CTAs, and visual style you want them to incorporate. Give them guidance around optimal post frequency, types, timing, and keywords to focus on.
Both parties should understand success metrics like target engagement rates, clicks, and conversion rates. Siloed expectations lead to misaligned content that misses the mark. Continuously collaborate to ensure the influencers’ creative output and messaging aligns with your brand and campaign vision.
When goals, guidelines, and success metrics are hazy, you can’t hold influencers accountable for results. And without shared expectations, you won’t get content that drives your desired outcomes. Clarify needs, maintain an open dialogue, and sync continually to get maximum impact from your influencer partnerships.
Rushing Agreements and Contracts
Don’t hurry through the influencer vetting and contract negotiation process. Take time to thoroughly evaluate potential influencers to ensure they are a good match for your brand and campaign goals. Review their past content and partner history – have they worked with competing brands? Do they have a track record of successful campaigns? Beyond just numbers, consider whether their audience aligns with your target market.
Additionally, carefully negotiate contract terms to protect your brand. Some key provisions to include are deliverables (number of posts, post types, requirements around photography/video quality), usage rights for the content produced, exclusivity clauses, compensation structure and payment timeline, ownership of intellectual property, and termination policies.
Define success metrics and tie compensation to performance. Have your legal team review to close any loopholes. Rushed agreements mean you may miss red flags or neglect to outline important details. This results in ambiguous expectations and legal vulnerabilities for your brand down the line. Avoid assuming good faith – do your due diligence.
Well-vetted influencer partnerships with air-tight contracts set everyone up for transparency and success. A rushed process compromises integrity and puts your brand at undue risk. Take the time upfront to thoroughly screen potential partners and thoughtfully negotiate agreements. It’s an investment that prevents headaches and conflicts further down the partnership road.
Choosing the Wrong Influencers
It’s tempting to just look at follower counts when vetting influencers. But large follower numbers alone don’t guarantee results. Not all influencers can deliver, even those with huge audiences. You need to look beyond vanity metrics when selecting partners.
Follower count means little if their audience doesn’t match your target demographic or align with your brand. Thoroughly analyze the influencer’s audience – their age, gender, interests, purchasing power, etc. Ensure it aligns with your ideal customer profile.
Engagement rates also matter more than sheer follower size. Assess the influencer’s typical likes, comments, and engagement levels per post. High engagement relative to their following signals an active, interested audience. Low engagement suggests a passive or fake following.
Evaluate past branded content performance as well. What engagement levels and conversions have they driven for other campaigns? Examples of successful partnerships can illustrate their ability to produce results.
Vetting potential partners based on audience quality and demonstrated performance takes more effort but prevents disappointment. Don’t leave campaign success to chance by choosing influencers based on popularity alone. The right influencer has the ideal audience and prowess to meet your campaign goals.
Measurement should be central to your influencer strategy, not an afterthought. Establish key performance indicators and metrics before the campaign starts. Track and monitor these diligently throughout the entire influencer partnership.
Look beyond basic engagement rates on the influencer’s posts. Measure metrics like clicks, traffic, conversions, sales, leads, and enter-to-win participation. Use UTMs to track traffic and sales driven specifically by the influencer.
Poll the influencer’s followers for qualitative feedback as well. Are they engaging with the content and responding positively? Does it align with their expectations and interests?
Continuously evaluate data and optimize based on insights. Perhaps certain post types, CTAs or topics resonate more. Use this to guide the influencer on refining their approach to improve results.
Without measurement, you leave the success of your campaign up to guesswork. Data sheds light on what’s working well and what needs fine-tuning. The only way to maximize your ROI on influencer marketing is to rely on constant tracking and optimization. Avoid flying blind – let measurement guide your strategy.
Forgetting About Compliance
Influencer marketing comes with legal risks around ethics and transparency. Don’t get lax with disclosure requirements in your rush to capitalize on influencer partnerships.
Closely adhere to FTC endorsement guidelines requiring clear callouts when content is sponsored. Include obvious disclosures like #ad or “Paid Partnership with [Brand]” in both the influencer’s posts and on your promotional materials.
Go beyond minimum compliance. Err on the side of over-disclosure and make sure audiences understand when they are seeing paid endorsements. Transparency protects your credibility and prevents issues like FTC fines down the road.
Aside from formal disclosures, ensure influencer content represents genuine opinions and honest experiences with your brand. Don’t suggest or encourage exaggerations. Authenticity builds audience trust while deceit damages brand reputations.
Influencers must comply with truth-in-advertising standards. Make sure to outline expectations for transparency in your contracts. Protect your brand by putting ethics first, following disclosure laws, and maintaining open communication. Don’t let non-compliance put your credibility at risk.
Minimal Relationship Management
The most successful influencer partnerships go beyond transactional contracts. Don’t treat influencers purely as commodities – make an effort to establish genuine relationships and rapport.
Before the campaign, get to know each other professionally and personally. Discuss objectives, interests, creative approaches, and brand histories. Build a foundation for a trusting, mutually beneficial dynamic.
During the campaign, check in regularly to provide support. Offer guidance and feedback on draft content. Make yourself available to answer questions. Act as a connector to internal teams when needed.
After the campaign, nurture the relationship. Follow up to get their perspective on what worked well and where there’s room for improvement. Share highlights and results to showcase the value they provided.
Relationship management shouldn’t disappear once the campaign wraps up. Continue engaging, even if it’s just liking and commenting on their non-sponsored posts. Small gestures can go a long way.
When influencers feel valued as true partners beyond just dollars and cents, they become invested in delivering exceptional work for your brand. Don’t neglect relationship building before, during, and after campaigns.
Missed Deadlines and Time Constraints
Influencer campaigns often have tight timelines, especially when tied to product launches or seasonal events. While delays are sometimes unavoidable, work proactively to prevent missed content deadlines.
Build in reasonable buffers when setting campaign schedules and delivery expectations. Discuss timing constraints transparently upfront so influencers can plan accordingly.
Accommodate justified delays when possible, but have provisions in place to uphold commitments. Consider tying final payment to on-time delivery to reinforce accountability. Outline your approval process and turnaround time for reviewing content.
Have open conversations about scheduling challenges on both sides. Adjust individual deadlines if needed to better align with the influencer’s schedule and prevent rushed or late content.
Stay on top of upcoming deliverables and gently nudge if you sense potential issues on the horizon. Offer help navigating any roadblocks causing delays.
With proactive planning, reasonable expectations, and open communication, most deadline dilemmas can be avoided. But have backup plans ready in case Plan A falls
Influencer marketing can produce tremendous value, but subpar execution can diminish ROI and damage your brand. By avoiding these common mistakes like vague goals, rushed contracts, improper vetting, lack of measurement, compliance issues, and poor relationship management, you set your influencer campaigns up for optimal success. Remember that prevention is the best cure – dedicate time upfront to strategic planning and due diligence. Invest in genuine partnerships, not just transactions. Adopt a data-driven approach, insist on transparency, and nurture collaborations. Follow these tips to develop effective influencer relationships that amplify your brand and exceed your campaign goals.