Have you ever gone to see a movie your friend wouldn’t stop talking about? Or bought a song your coworker raved about after-hours? Anyone who gets you to check out something new has been an effective influencer, but in the marketing world, there’s a bit more at stake than your friend’s reputation.
Influencer marketing can increase your brand’s outreach significantly, but there are definitely also pitfalls you should know how to avoid before getting started. At Zen Media, we help our clients get the word out about their products and services through influencer marketing all the time, so we know how best to approach this extremely effective method of marketing – and we cringe whenever we notice companies making rookie mistakes.
So as a public service, here are four of the worst influencer marketing mistakes your business can make – and how to avoid them.
- Failure to StrategizeIn order to get the most out of influencer marketing for your brand, you need to have a strategy. Plan out how you will communicate with potential influencers, what your goals are, and what you hope to gain from their impact. Assess what your brand stands for, and who your target audience is, and then decide what type of influencer would best fit your message. Should you be reaching out to celebrities? Journalists? Experts in the field? Failing to strategize can lead to ineffective social media outreach, and a confused audience. Even worse is reaching out to an influencer who is opposed to your brand in some way. If your company is trying to sell sour candies, you probably shouldn’t look for influencers in the dental industry.
You’ll also need to decide which social media platform will best suit your purposes, and come up with a few ideas as to what sort of campaign you want to run, once you find the right influencer. Instagram may be all the rage right now when it comes to influencers, but if your audience hangs out somewhere else, an investment in an Instagram campaign isn’t likely to have much of an effect. Once you’ve chosen your platform, you can decide how to frame your campaign – will it be a giveaway? A simple endorsement? Don’t set anything in stone yet, though – your chosen influencer will know their audience best, and will most likely be able to give you some great ideas, as well.
- Assuming the Following Is EverythingJust because the influencers you’re eyeing have 1 million Instagram followers, does not mean they’re ideal for your brand. When selecting influencers to reach out to, keep your target audience in mind. Yes, reaching 1 million people is tempting, but what’s the point if those 1 million people aren’t interested in your product? If you limit yourself to these larger influencers, you’ll likely pay more than you need to, and will overlook influencers who are specialized in your field.
While numbers are important – there’s no point in paying someone to promote your business to their 20 followers – they don’t have to be astronomical to make sense. A better metric to focus on when selecting the right influencer is audience engagement. Out of their respectably-sized audience, how many people comment on posts, or share or like them? Is engagement consistent, or sporadic? You want to find someone whose audience is consistently enthusiastic and active in order to get the most bang for your buck.
- Being Stingy With Payment
Although some influencers will work with your brand in exchange for free merchandise, you shouldn’t expect influencers with significant reach to do the same. We’ve seen one Instagram post cost anywhere from $40,000 – $100,000 when a celebrity is involved – and since they can afford to be choosy, negotiating is usually not an option. Influencer marketing is about developing a relationshipwith people who can help your company grow, and trying to initiate that connection by lowballing them will usually be counterproductive. If you don’t want to burn some bridges, acknowledge the value these influencers are bringing to your business, and be ready to compensate.
- Lousy CommunicationOnce you’ve selected your influencers, made sure they’re the right fit for your brand, and begun to foster a relationship, don’t let communication fall by the wayside. Make sure someone from your team is always available to answer your influencers’ questions and concerns, and don’t be afraid to give your influencers some free reign. This way, you can make sure your influencers fully understand your brand’s message, without forcing them to repeat cliché statements. Let them share your brand in a way that’s authentic, and true to them. By maintaining a strong relationship with your influencers, even after your campaign is over, you’ll increase the likelihood that they’ll continue working with your business.
Avoid these four influencer marketing mistakes, and you’ll be well on your way to using this proven marketing method to grow your business. And if you’d like all the benefits that come from influencer marketing, but just don’t have the in-house resources to dedicate to cultivating long-term relationships with influencers and creating and running campaigns on a regular basis, just take a few seconds to fill out the contact form above. We here at Zen Media would love to chat with you to find out what your goals are, and how we can help you reach – and exceed – them.