7 Common Mistakes Brands Make While Working With Influencers

Influencer getting ready to record a video - Working With Influencers

Social media marketing has become a necessity for most businesses. Nowadays, unless you have a strong social media presence, you’ll have difficulty reaching users and getting them to engage with your brand.

Although it isn’t difficult to create several profiles for your company on various social networks, unless you are active and manage to amass a large following – it will be hard to gain a significant benefit from managing those channels. Thankfully, there are ways to get around this problem. One of the most efficient techniques is to partner with an influencer who can promote and represent your brand on social media.

However, many marketers aren’t too knowledgeable when it comes to influencers, and we see the same mistakes get repeated time and again. To help you avoid the common pitfalls, we have compiled a list of 7 common mistakes brands make while working with influencers.

The importance of having an influencer represent your brand

Unless your company profiles on social networks have large numbers of followers, it can be hard to reach a wide audience with your social media marketing. Things are even worse for new companies that are just starting out since they need to build up a following from scratch. It can take a long time before you have a community that wants to hear what you have to say. Fortunately, you can get the ball rolling by partnering with someone who already has an established fanbase. 

Influencers who already have a following on social media can help you promote your business. You can use their reach to get your message in front of a new audience that hasn’t heard about your brand before. Additionally, users are more willing to trust a recommendation from a person they have been following for a while than the advertisement coming from the brand itself. 

Another huge benefit of hiring influencers is that they can add their unique style to your marketing. They can present your company and your products in an approachable way, fostering discussion and engagement. General audiences will also have an easier time interacting with influencers rather than brands. Users will feel comfortable asking influencers questions about the products they are using. 

Some influencers also have profiles on several networks. This means that they can post about your company on different channels, help you build backlinks, and boost your SEO. When we look at all of the benefits of influencer marketing, it is clear why this has become the dominant form of advertising on social networks.

The importance of having an influencer represent your brand

How to approach an influencer to represent your brand

Some of the largest macro-influencers have teams of people working with them to manage a single profile. They have managed to turn influencing into a lucrative venture. This means that if you want to reach out to a celebrity influencer you will probably have a manager you need to go through to work out an agreement. They might even have set fees for different types of posts. In these situations, just directly sending a message to their profile won’t do you any good. One of the common mistakes brands make while working with influencers is to think that the most popular e-celebrities are just waiting to hear from your company. Profiles of major influencers probably get bombarded by messages all the time. However, they may have a separate link to contact them if you want to collaborate.

There is also an unspoken rule of ‘courting’ an influencer before you make a proposition. You should follow their profile and engage with their posts. If you think you have found the right influencer for your brand, you can share some of their content on your company profile. This can act as a great sign of goodwill, and it can help you draw the influencer’s attention. Now you should contact the influencer and tell them that you are impressed with their work and interested in collaborating with them.

On the other hand, smaller and micro-influencers should be much more approachable. Feel free to contact them directly and offer your proposal for their promotion. You can expect the fees to fluctuate based on the popularity of the influencer, how many followers they have, and how many other brands they are promoting.

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Mistakes brands make while working with influencers

Whoever you decide to cooperate with, you need to ensure that collaboration is fruitful. You can do that by avoiding some of the common mistakes brands make when attempting influencer marketing. 

1. You look at the wrong numbers

Since social marketing has become a popular trend, most business owners know that they should start doing something related to social media – even if they don’t know exactly what. Perhaps they read a guide or an article that recommended hiring influencers to represent their brand. However, unless you already know a lot about how social networks function, how are you supposed to choose the right influencer for you. Here we reach the tipping point for those inexperienced with influencer marketing. 

Most people would try to get a famous influencer with many followers. While this isn’t exactly a mistake, the size of the influencer’s audience is just one component of their popularity and effectiveness. Regardless of the platform that you choose to advertise on, it is possible to purchase or artificially inflate the number of followers. Even Google recommends avoiding impressions and likes as relevant influencer statistics. For this reason, it’s much safer to look at other metrics if you want to gauge how famous an influencer truly is.

We suggest that you look at the engagement rate they have with their audience. Check to see how many of their followers comment on their posts and share their content. This interaction is usually favorable in the eyes of the platform’s algorithm, which could lead to the content getting served to even more people.

Mistakes brands make while working with influencers

2. You have no overlap in demographics

Even if you like an influencer and they have a terrific audience that reacts well to their every post, they still might not be a good pick for you. Perhaps the reason that their audience is engaged is that the influencer is covering the right topics. Would that same audience be equally interested in the promotion of your products? Instead, you should look for an influencer who attracts the right audience. Ideally, you should find someone who has an overlap between their audience and your target demographic.

If you manage to find an influencer who caters to your target audience, the promotion they do for you is bound to be effective and get a good reception. Fortunately, there are influencers for practically every niche in the modern social media climate. Therefore, you should have no problem finding someone who has attracted the same crowd you want to market to. 

Unfortunately, some small niches will always struggle to draw a large audience. This might also be reflected in your choice of influencers and content creators you can partner up with. However, we still believe that, for most businesses, it’s better to go with a smaller influencer who speaks to the right crowd. They will come across as sincere, and their audience is much more likely to take their recommendation on one of your products or services. On the other hand, you could waste a lot of time and money if you hire an influencer with a following that isn’t interested in your business.

3. The influencer conflicts with what your brand stands for

No matter the platform where you are running it, all of your marketing needs to be in line with your company’s mission and vision. More importantly, every representation of your brands needs to fit with one another and work in unison tonally. If the influencer you are considering has a style that clashes with your company‘s values, perhaps you should continue looking. You should only work with the right people who can represent your company and its values adequately. Hiring an influencer who goes against the core values which you stand for can send mixed messages to your customers.

However, finding an influencer who perfectly fits your ideal values probably isn’t necessary. Marketing sometimes goes against the grain to draw more attention from users. Hiring someone with a different perspective could be a breath of fresh air for your marketing, revitalizing your brand‘s interest. That being said, you should still be very careful when deciding on which influencer you go with so that you don’t alienate your loyal customers.

Another solution would be to ask the influencer promoting you to inform you of any posts that might go against your company values. You could also agree that you must approve any posts before they go live. This tactic could allow you to veto anything you deem extreme or offensive.

4. The influencer isn’t on the right platforms

Hopefully, you’ve done research on your customers and their online behavior by now. You can even create a profile for your ideal customer. This can include which target demographic they belong to, their age, shopping preferences, and also which social network they spend time on. Hiring influencers for platforms other than those where most of your audience spends time feels like a waste of marketing budget. 

Knowing which social media platforms to target will require you to be up to date with the latest trends. However, this can prove to be a valuable skill, which can help you weed out the influencers who are the wrong picks for the campaign you had in mind. Every social network will have a preferred form of content that gets the most engagement. Take a look at what your influencer is producing and how well it matches the current trends of the network they are posting on. For example, an effective marketing tactic for TikTok would be to post short vertical videos that are lighthearted or comedic in tone.

Then you look at the more popular influencers. They usually have some presence on multiple platforms. However, they typically choose just one which acts as their home turf. This is where they have the most significant following and post most of their best content. 

Influencer deciding which photos to post.

5. Not developing a long term strategy

You shouldn’t view hiring an influencer to represent your brand as posting an ad on a billboard. Influencers are modern e-celebrities, and they are often content creators whose brand is their personality. You can expect them to grow and improve over time. For this reason, it would be a good idea to nurture your relationship with the influencers representing your brand. 

Once you have finally managed to find the perfect influencer for your brand, you can work out a deal for them to promote you. However, have you thought about what happens after they make a post for your company or product. Of course, it is possible to use an influencer as a one-time marketing trick. We can often see this with high-profile influencers. Although, that probably has a lot to do with the prices some of them charge for a single post or mention. 

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Your marketing team should develop a long-term strategy to use all of your assets, employees, and business partners. This includes creating a detailed influencer strategy. Sometimes, small businesses which don’t have their marketing teams leave this up to the influencer. You can hear what they have to say and what their plans are. However, it would be best to create a detailed plan and posting schedule.

6. You are promoting the wrong type of content

We previously mentioned that influencers often have their style and need to develop content suited to the platform they are posting on. Even with those guidelines and restrictions, there is still room for influencers to post various forms of content. Have you thought about what content would be best suited to your products and your brand? The easy answer would be to have pictures of the influencer with your products. Unfortunately, that is also the least impactful form of promotion.

Audiences usually follow influencers to get tips and recommendations, but also because audiences find influencers interesting and want to enjoy their content. The best form of influencer marketing shouldn’t detract from the content usually posted. Instead, the advertising should be baked in and inseparable from the content. Unlike TV shows which pause to serve you ads, with influencers – the advertising is the content. One of the most common mistakes brands make while working with influencers is that they want to have a hands-on approach.

Companies will often tell influencers what to say word-for-word because they want an accurate presentation of their products. As much as companies want to keep creative control, this is usually the wrong approach because the marketing will sound obvious and disingenuous. We recommend that you give your influencers a bit of trust and creative freedom to represent your brand in their unique way.

7. Not measuring results

Out of all the influencer marketing mistakes we’ve covered, this one is the biggest offender on the list. Brands will often throw money at influencer marketing without knowing what they can expect; and sometimes seemingly not even caring about the results. This probably stems from their misunderstanding of how influencers promote products. Some marketing executives probably read that influencers are the latest hip trend and decided to ‘invest’ a large portion of the marketing budget on the new buzzword. 

This isn’t to say that influencer marketing is a bad idea. A social media marketing campaign created by the right influencers can achieve outstanding results when adequately planned out. However, for that strategy to work, you will need several things. Start by making a detailed plan, and think about which goals you want to achieve. Next, you will need to figure out which metrics you will follow to ensure how the campaign is performing. Like any other form of marketing, you can make adjustments if you see that things aren’t working out.

You can give your influencer referral links and then track the ROI from the traffic and the sales they have directed to your website. Keep in mind that some forms of advertising take a little time to show measurable results. Don’t expect wonders after one single post. However, if you don’t see an improvement after multiple posts from the same influencer, maybe it’s time to find someone else to represent your brand.

The Bottom Line About Working With Influencers

Influencer marketing can be a potent tool in the hands of an experienced marketing team. Just make sure to avoid these seven common mistakes brands make while working with influencers, and you will be able to dominate social networks and leave your competition in the dust.

Meta description: Improve the social media presence of your company by hiring an influencer, but avoid these 7 common mistakes brands make while working with influencers.

Nick Djurovic’s success in the field is an uncanny product of having a Bachelor with Honors in Mechanical Engineering, Psychology, and Psychotherapy. With all these skills under his belt, he turned his focus to understanding and mastering Programming & Developing and improving other processes. In 2019, he co-founded Digital Dot New York, a digital marketing agency based in New York. He adores WordPress and is dedicated to a loving relationship with search engines and social networks.