4 Biggest Influencer Marketing Mistakes
Updated: Jul 21
There are a million ways to screw something up. Especially when it comes to something as fast-paced as influencer marketing. In this article, we will cover the 4 biggest (as we see it) mistakes that get made when brands work with influencers.
After all, you can't avoid them if you don't know them.
Mistake #1: No Brand Alignment
The term ‘brand alignment’ is a pretty loose term, but it is also an important one.
One of the most common mistakes brands make when picking influencers is not considering their brand tone, values and goals.
Reach does not equal results!
Here is an example...
Imagine you sell a niche product - let's say meat thermometers. Your brand focuses on helping people turn cheap cuts of meat into delicious meals. You also have a favourite influencer that you follow on Instagram. They have 50,000 followers and they produce high-quality content around gourmet cooking.
This may seem like a good match. But is it really?
The majority of their followers are likely to be interested in gourmet food - this doesn't align with your brand values surrounding cheap cuts of meat. Plus, if you decide to work with them any content they produce will either look out of place on their feed (if focused on cheap cuts of meat) or won't accurately represent your brand (if focused on gourmet food).
So, the first question to ask when looking at an influencer's suitability is whether they align with the brand. Alignment should be considered before thinking of potential costs, before thinking of audience demographics and interests - even before thinking about reach.
Missing this step is a huge mistake for a number of reasons.
Firstly, any content posted, produced or referenced by the influencer with mention of the brand is going to look out of place and will send massive red warning lights flashing in the audience's mind….THIS IS AN ADVERT!
Secondly, one of the biggest benefits of influencer marketing is having content created by influencers that is both professional and highly relevant. If you decide to build a relationship with influencers that hold influence in the heavy metal scene, but you make pony toys, that content is not going to be at all relevant.
Mistake #2: Being Purely Transactional
Paying influencers is a hot topic and one that really lights the fire of many influencer marketing professionals. Many marketers actually believe that convincing influencers to work for free makes them better at their jobs...
...this is wrong.
But should influencer/brand relationships be 100% transactional? No.
You need a balanced approach for good influencer marketing. Being all about money makes for poor relationships, which usually results in poor performance. But not paying influencers is unprofessional and frankly a little dirty.
Look at it this way. Your brand is not a charity - so why should people work for you for free? If you are using influencer content to help you make money (via marketing), then they should be financially rewarded for that.
But equally, working with influencers is all about building powerful brand advocates that make genuine recommendations to use your products and services - if you JUST pay for content then this level of advocacy is almost impossible to achieve.
Education + Relationship Building + Remuneration = Great Influencer Marketing
Some influencers can charge over $1 million for every sponsored social media post.
Mistake #3: Creative Control
Why on earth would you put time, money and effort into building a relationship with influencers just to dictate exactly what they should post?
Honestly, if you really want to push out very specific content, push it through other channels like social or PPC advertising.
One of the BIGGEST benefits of working with influencers is tapping into their creativity. If you aren't doing this, then you are wasting your money.
Even in situations where you are directly promoting content - let's say an ebook. You should allow the influencer creative freedom to highlight why downloading that ebook would be of interest/value to their audience.
Mistake #4: Bigger = Better
Bigger audience = better.
This is kind of a massive subject. But basically, imagine the ability of an influencer with a goliath-sized audience being able to remain relevant, keep engaged and scale their influence.
You also need to consider how large influencers have grown those sorts of audiences. Fake followers and engagement are prolific with many influencers as a response to brands demanding bigger follower counts and more buzz around content.
Of course, smaller influencers also engage in these practices, but it is usually much easier to detect on a smaller scale. Smaller, niche influencers also generally provide a more engaged, trusting and relevant audience to tap into.
Working with smaller influencers can be great for your brand.
Influencer Marketing Mistakes: Summary
It is clear that there are many mistakes that can be made in the influencer marketing space.
In this article, we have offered you just 4 of the biggest mistakes we commonly see.
Unfortunately, it is often overlooked that influencer marketing takes a huge amount of common sense to execute successfully. Make sure you remedy these big 4 potential mistakes to get the best ROI from your influencer marketing campaigns.
Have you seen or experienced any big mistakes in influencer marketing campaigns? Let us know in the comments below.