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Don’t let your clients make these influencer marketing mistakes

It is predicted that brands will spend 7.14 billion on influencer marketing by the end of 2024. In fact, as this channel continues to grow, 25% of brands plan to spend over 40% of their budget on influencers. But while brands continue to invest more heavily into influencer marketing, we know that more money spent doesn’t always equate to better results. 

In fact, many influencer campaigns actually backfire because brands still don’t have the expertise to execute them properly. Agencies working with brands to build out successful marketing campaigns should avoid these top influencer marketing mistakes: 

Choosing the influencer before outlining the goal

Everything turns out better when it starts with a plan. However, many brands get excited to slap a trendy influencer up on their Instagram and hope to make a sales impact, without careful thought beforehand. It’s your agency's job to ensure that your client knows that that's not what a real influencer marketing campaign looks like. 

Without first outlining their goals for the campaign and what they hope to achieve, they could end up wasting a lot of money. 

The best influencer marketing campaigns are built with mindful intent. Ask your clients, do they want to grow their social following, reach a new target group, or drive sales? Because the influencer marketing campaign is going to look a lot different for each. 

Get your client’s brand very clear on what the goal of the influencer marketing campaign is, before ever starting to ideate on the influencer/platform/campaign. When brands see their competitors working with the hottest new influencers, it might be tempting for them to want to jump on the bandwagon and work with that influencer too. But they must take pause, and work from the goal onwards. 

Sticking to familiar influencers only

Here’s another thing that could be hurting your client’s brand - only sticking to influencers who are familiar to them, and not willing to explore newer influencers. 

When an influencer has a proven track record, brands feel like they eliminate a lot of risk by choosing them. But playing it safe isn’t always what is best. It’s even more important to be relevant to your audience right now, and reach net-new audiences. 

This means looking for fresh talent, to reach untapped markets. 

Another faux pas is choosing these “familiar” influencers because they have a huge follower count. Millions of followers doesn’t guarantee campaign results, in fact, mega influencers with 1 million plus followers typically have lower engagement rates as compared to influencers in the mid-level range, with 100K-500K followers.

When blinded by the follower count, brands might ignore the fact that the influencer doesn’t truly align with the brand or its core values. Remember, it's better to choose a smaller influencer who is authentic, than a well-known influencer who your audience doesn’t believe would actually use your product or service. 

We see this all the time, like when influencers promote a sustainable brand but they’re always posting pictures of them wearing fast fashion, or they endorse a line of organic makeup but they’re also open about all the fillers and botox they get - it just doesn’t fit. Get your clients used to forgoing big follower counts for authenticity instead. 

Lastly, big-time influencers come with a big-time price tag, so nano or micro-influencers could be a win for your client - all in terms of budget, authenticity, and campaign results. 

image nano-micro influencers

Not allocating enough budget to the campaign

That brings us to our next point. While it can be nice to save some money by going with a mid-range influencer, your clients should be ready to make a steadfast investment in influencer marketing as a whole, if they expect it to work. 

This means working with multiple influencers at one time and creating many different campaigns. 

Some brands think that after working with one influencer, sales will change drastically, but in reality they have to swap a lot more of their marketing budget out of traditional channels, and into influencer marketing to really see it perform. 

The trick isn’t just to dip your toes into influencer marketing, but go all in. Encourage your clients to invest in influencer marketing just like they would any other major marketing channel, to really see results. 

image influencer marketing blog

Choosing influencers who deliver the wrong audience

Another common mistake that brands make when choosing an influencer, is choosing one that delivers the wrong audience

The influencers themselves might line up with your client's brand in the sense that they share the same values, and it would be believable that they would use the brand themselves. But until you get under the “hood of the car”, and understand which audiences they really attract, you won’t know if that influencer is going to bring the audience you are after. 

A makeup brand, for example, might be tempted to use a popular makeup artist to promote their luxury makeup line, but if the majority of the audience that follows said influencer works for minimum wage and doesn't have a budget for luxury makeup, the video might get a lot of views, but won’t equate to many purchases. 

So how do you help your clients get under the “hood of the car”, and see the audiences behind each influencer? You can do so by using a tool like Audiense, which collects and segments the audience of any influencer, to show you who that audience is, which brands they buy from, their top interest and passions, and their behaviors (including spending behaviors). 

Image Audiense Insights dashboard + Mikayla Nogueira pic

Then, and only then, can you validate that you are picking the influencer who will bring the audience you are shooting for. 

Ignoring the metrics 

Brands have been known to skip a crucial step in the influencer vetting process - reviewing the metrics! The key metrics not to be ignored include audience reach, impressions, engagement rates, and branded content frequency. But the most important metric, before signing any influencer, is the number of fake followers they have. 

Too many times brands have been swooned by follower count, and then when it comes to campaign time, the results don’t add up because half of those followers are fake and were bought by the influencer (aka they are bots, and not real humans). 

There are many tools out there that you can recommend to your clients, like Upfluence’s fake follower counter, to see if an influencer's following is real. When brands come to your agency with a list of influencers they hope to work with, it's your agency's job to do the due diligence and determine if their audience is fake or not. 

Not including influencers in the creation of the creative strategy 

Even with the best influencer in place, there are still ways that brands have been known to screw up influencer marketing campaigns. One example of this is not including the influencer in the creation of the creative strategy.

The influencers are the experts here, in most cases. They’ve seen firsthand what works and what doesn’t, especially when it comes to their audience. So leaving them out of the planning process is denying yourself an expert in the field. 

Encourage your clients to give their influencers lots of creative freedom when it comes to planning the content for the campaign. That way it comes off as more authentic to the influencer's audience - because it sounds and feels like them. 

Let the influencer naturally showcase why they love your product or how they use your service, and see the campaign garner more success because of it.  

Too many times have brands been too restrictive with the creative brief or haven’t given influencers the freedom to do what they do best, and the content ends up looking forced. So don’t let your clients keep their influencers out of the planning and creative process. 

With the predicted ramp-up of influencer marketing in 2024, agencies need to position themselves to brands as influencer experts. They need to avoid the common mistakes made when it comes to influencer marketing, and they need to employ the right tools for selecting the right influencers. 

Sign up for Audiense today, and find the right-fit influencers for every brand. 

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