Influencer campaigns are an important part of the modern marketing mix, but as a relatively new method of reaching the masses, they can be something of an unknown. Brands must approach their influencer outreach strategies with care and avoid common pitfalls that can have a negative impact on working relationships or the reputation of the business. Here are some of the traps to avoid:
1. Not setting clear campaign objectives
The first thing to do in any campaign is to set clear objectives, as they’ll define every decision you make, and it’s no different when working with influencers. Among the important things to identify are:
- What you’re looking to achieve
- Which element of your brand you’re aiming to promote
- Who you're targeting
- How you'll measure the success of your campaign
2. Prioritizing number of followers over relevance
Just because an influencer has a large following doesn’t mean they're the right fit for your brand. It’s really important to analyze a number of influencer accounts and the types of followers they attract before approaching any to align with your brand. A more niche influencer that appeals to your target audience will offer better results than an irrelevant individual with a big following.
3. Stifling authenticity
Once you’ve chosen an influencer and agreed the terms by which you’ll work together, you need to trust them. Companies too often micromanage influencer campaigns, which stifles their authentic voice. The result is that posts jar with the rest of the content shared to their social profiles and doesn't appeal to the audience they have built up over time.
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4. Not using Instagram Stories to its full potential
Stories on Instagram and Snapchat shouldn’t be overlooked as irrelevant due to their transient nature. Instead, they should be considered a vital tool in supporting content elsewhere on these platforms. They can be utilized to great effect by pre-qualifying followers for the ultimate call to action. Experienced influencers will walk users through frames in their Stories, leading them towards an ultimate conversion. Having a conversation with your chosen influencer will help ensure this step isn’t missed.
5. Failing to research hashtags
A successful influencer marketing campaign goes beyond simply choosing the right individual to work with. Brands need to carefully craft other elements of their strategy to create a cohesive campaign that works on a number of levels. A bespoke hashtag is a vital part of the mix, driving traffic and creating hype around influencer posts. There have been high-profile cases of brands not properly researching hashtags and finding they’re already well-established in other circles, and this can lead to unexpected consequences.
6. Not understanding blogger pricing
The world of influencer marketing isn’t transparent when it comes to pricing and working out what you can expect to pay for a sponsored post is a vital part of the process. Engaging with a selection of individuals who boast audiences of different sizes is the best way to start to gauge this. Running campaigns and establishing the ROI for each should inform your decisions going forward.
7. Failing to repurpose influencer content
Once an influencer has shared content relating to your brand on their channels, that shouldn't be the end of the relationship. Repurposing their posts for your own social media accounts and your website is an easy way to increase their reach and highlight your brand’s association with the individual. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement that the influencer will be pleased about too.
8. Allowing the relationship to wane
The best influencer campaigns are seamless and it’s obvious that a relationship has been purely transactional if all contact stops straight afterward. Continue to interact with the influencers you’ve worked with, as it’ll build a deeper and more lasting link between them and your product. It could lead to extra mentions you haven’t specifically paid for or the individual seeking you out for a creative collaboration in future.
9. Breaking the rules on transparency
There are now clear rules about transparency in terms of brands working with influencers and substantial fines are levied on those that break them. The American Federal Trade Commission (FTC), for example, states that any paid partnership or personal affiliation with a product must be disclosed when it's endorsed on an individual’s channel. Being ignorant of the guidelines will not work as a defense, so make sure you know the requirements and that the influencers you work with stick to them.
10. Failing to notice new trends
Social media platforms are constantly changing their features and the types of content that works is always evolving. To get good results from an influencer campaign you don’t want to be tapping into a trend that’s passed its height. Instead, you want to be keeping up-to-date on the latest developments and getting in there ahead of its peak so you can reap the benefits.