What Doesnt Work in Influencer Marketingby: Dustin Hawley | Thursday August 22, 2019
With the ever-changing nature of social media in full effect, brands are now embracing influencer marketing as the latest and greatest digital marketing tactic. Influencer marketing is essentially a form of digital PR that allows brands and influencers to form partnerships that promote the brand on social media while compensating the influencer, usually to build brand awareness and boost social media engagement. Today, influencer marketing has proven to be an extremely viable marketing and advertising strategy for many brands. However, as with any marketing tactic, there are some Do's and Don’ts you should keep top of mind before you jump headfirst into influencer marketing.
What to avoid in influencer marketing
DON'T pick the wrong influencer
If you were to ask "What are common mistakes in influencer marketing?", the first answer you would likely receive is picking the wrong influencer. Maybe your selected influencer has reach and even an impressive engagement rate. While these are important metrics for influencers, the more important metric is relevance.
In a sense, this means don't let the metrics override the optics. Before deciding on an influencer, pay attention to their content and get a sense for it on a granular level. Does their brand or aesthetic align your brand image and values? Do their followers align with your brand's target audience? It's immensely important to consider these factors when deciding upon an influencer. Aligning your brand with an external voice is symbiotic to supporting for their messaging. That means if they say something controversial before or during a potential partnership, you’re likely going to have to endure the fallout as well.
DON'T make it vanity
When it comes to creating goals for your influencer marketing campaign, make sure they’re impactful. This means basing them on measurables that relate directly to your business goals, the most important of which is making money. This is why vanity metrics such as likes, follows, and comments won’t help you here.
Sure, it’s nice to grow your brand's Instagram audience or even get a blog post to do huge numbers. But at the end of the day, does that really do anything for your business? In some situations, the answer to that question may be an emphatic yes. But every campaign has its own metric of success, and this must be considered when deciding what truly measures the success of your influencer marketing efforts. Forget just building brand awareness. Create a goal that will make a real impact, and make that the target of your campaign.
DON'T underestimate their professionalism
When you decide to make contact with an influencer, be sure to keep it professional. At times, there’s this misconception that influencers are amateurs in the world of business, likely because the industry is so new and many of them run their business from home. This assumption couldn't be further from the truth.
Influencers come in all shapes and sizes, and many are independent entrepreneurs who manage their own profile and brand. While they may appear online to be more creative than business savvy, the reality is that behind the scenes, a great deal of them are working hard to maintain and grow their brand and business.
DON'T create generic content
While it may be tempting to simply scroll through Instagram and browse other paid posts looking for ideas regarding paid content, this isn't a best practice. If you copy this model, it's all but guaranteed that most audiences will see through it and not engage with your content. Brands who implement a sort of 'templatized' approach are frankly doing themselves an injustice. Focus your content creation on breaking the mold and being unique and engaging.
DON'T contact them looking for cheap promotion
When influencer marketing was still in its infancy, brands looking to partner with influencers on marketing campaigns could simply offer some free product in exchange for the endorsement. And while some influencers are still generous enough to give your brand a shout-out or promote the product, most influencers require compensation beyond that.
That’s why companies are increasing their influencer marketing budgets. You can't pay influencers by 'giving them exposure' or even free stuff anymore. It's 2019 and this practice is a bit outdated. Look at contracting influencers similar to the way you look at paying for a Facebook ad. With an ad, the idea is that you’re paying to get your product in front of more people. This is exactly what influencers do, and that’s why a majority of them will require payment.
DON'T limit your focus to Instagram
While it's true that Instagram is the leading platform for influencers today, trends are constantly changing, whether it be in style, culture, and even social media. It's for that reason that many marketers find it useful to utilize many different social media platforms to promote their brand. With that in mind, partnering with influencers that use a variety of media platforms is often more effective due to their ability to reach their audience through different mediums.
DON'T keep an overly tight leash
Have you ever seen those ads that just seemed too perfect? If you are like most people, you probably became skeptical and likely didn’t trust that it was an authentic representation of the product or service advertised. The caption isn’t casual enough to seem organic, the photo is perfectly lit and clearly staged. The post may even have tons of likes and comments, though remember, those are vanity metrics.
The point is, when a promotion feels forced, it automatically loses a sense of credibility. This is a common occurrence that is often the result of brands giving influencers very strict directions on how to promote their product or service.
We get it, marketers want to be in control, so they tell the influencers exactly what to do instead of letting them promote your brand in an organic, natural way.
The primary benefit of influencer marketing is that influencers (when trusted and given some creative freedom) can promote your product or service in a unique, personal fashion. Giving influencers some breathing room provides them the opportunity to make your campaign more unique and memorable.
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