Social influencer marketing is where it’s at right now, with the amount of money being spent on this form of marketing growing year on year. The best part is that because you can focus on different levels of influencers – from national celebrities all the way to popular teenagers with cellphones – everybody can join in.
Of course, when that’s the case a lot of mistakes get made. To help make sure that you don’t fall victim to them, here are some of the most common mistakes in social influencers campaigns.
Not having the campaign plan worked out
The first big mistake that many newcomers make is simply jumping on the bandwagon. If everybody else is doing it then so must I! The reason that’s a problem is that if you don’t have a clearly defined plan, you’re going to end up spending money on things that aren’t all that helpful.
What should a social influencer marketing plan campaign? Well, your target market, for one. Only if you know who you’re trying to influence can you find people who can influence them. That’s hugely important because while celebrities can reach a huge swath of people, that’s not necessarily true of influencers. Many have a quite limited niche in which they operate. If that doesn’t overlap with your audience then that money is wasted.
Another decision you’ll want to make is what you’re trying to achieve. Are you trying to build brand recognition, product awareness or are you simply trying to push sales? Each of these will cause you to have a different approach.
Not doing the necessary research on your influencers
Not every influencer is born equal. Some will inflate their followership with fake followers. Others will strike a tone that is hugely unsuitable to your brand. Then there are those who will not take your specifications seriously and will do whatever they think is cool – even if that means that strikes a tone that you don’t want to be associated with your brand.
And then, of course, there are those people who end up getting mired in controversy by saying, doing, or supporting things you don’t want your brand associated with.
To avoid all that, make sure that you actually check out your influencer. What are some of their previous campaigns? Does it fit with the brand they were pushing or does it seem like they’ve gone off on a tangent? If it’s the latter, then that might be a warning sign.
How about their followers? Are they actually in your market segment? One of the best ways to find out if that’s the case is to look at the influencer themselves. Though it doesn’t always hold, generally we influence people that are like us. So if your target market is adult women with children, then you might not want to go for a 20 something guy who normally promotes writing services: despite what he may say about his market segment.
Caring about that one number too much
What number? Follower count, of course. The measurement of most influencers effectiveness is generally considered their follower count. But that’s hardly the only thing that matters. As mentioned above, whether that influencer has overlap with your audience is important.
Another stat you’ll want to track is their engagement rate. Some people have a huge followership but have almost no engagement. A disengaged audience isn’t a terribly useful audience. An interesting fact about followership and engagement is that the more followers most influencers have the lower their engagement rate tends to be. So, it might be more effective to bring in a few micro-influencers with high engagement rates than to bring in one bigger celebrity with a less engaged audience.
Expecting too much
Sometimes, we get carried away. It’s not strange. When something is new and shiny, like a new marketing campaign that we’ve never tried before, then we might think the returns on investment are going to be much higher than they will be. As a result, we spend more than we should and end up with a severely shrunk marketing budget and not too much to show for it.
The way to avoid this trap is to remember a number and that’s about 2%. On average, that’s about the click-through rate that you’ll get. Even better, actually calculate how effective your campaign is likely to be based on their engagement rate. This will make sure that you’ll not fall into the trap of going for the person with the highest number of followers.
Will you earn back your investment if that’s how many people click through? What if it’s lower? Will that still make it worth your while? Only after you’ve done those calculations will you know if it will be worth your while. Don’t like the numbers? Then start again. Find another influencer. See if the amount of cash you’re willing to stick in.
Changing it up too often
This is another common error I see. People find an influencer, get a decent to a good return on investment and then, when the run is over, they say ‘thank you’ and move on. What a waste! If you’ve found an influencer who is giving you more than you’ve invested, stick with them.
After all, a worthwhile influencer like this can be hard to find. It’s not just that, either. Influencers who you stick with will grow, come to understand your brand better and will therefore often do better on later campaigns than they did on earlier ones. Similarly, if they’re active and engaged the number of followers they have will continue to grow, meaning that often you’ll be able to get access to a larger number of people, for close to the same price.
Forgetting about one of the best ways to convince people
We’re all well aware that exposing people to the same argument over and over again can convince them. This is a strategy that’s often used by big brands. By bombarding people with their brand, they create engagement through what is known as the mere exposure effect.
But that’s hardly the only way to convince people. A far more effective technique is to make sure that people are bombarded with the same from many different sources. Why does this work? Because when different people tell us the same thing, we’re far more likely to believe them than if it’s only one person or source repeating the same message.
If everybody is saying it, then it must be true.
For that reason, having several influencers who all cover a similar audience start to talk about your brand (preferably in slightly different contexts or ways) can create the image in their audience’s mind that your product is hot and that they should pay attention to it. Far more so than if you took on one influencer with the same audience as those different influencers have all together.
Not tracking the numbers
The final and biggest mistake that is so often made is that people don’t work out some way to actually track what’s going on. They don’t have some system in place to see how many people are clicking through from individual influencers and as a result have no idea where they’re actually making money and where they’re losing it.
That’s terribly ineffective.
You need to have some system in place to make sure that you know how much traffic the different influencers are generating for you. A good system is to use UTMs, for example. These bits of code can be added to the end of standard web addresses so that programs like Google Analytics can know where traffic came from.
It’s a lot to consider, but it is worth it
Influencer marketing done right can be incredibly effective, but that it can be hard to do right. For that reason, tread carefully. Start with dipping your toe into the water and, by tracking the numbers rigorously, figuring out if it worked or not.
Then you can tweak, explore and examine to your heart’s content before you commit more resources. This is all far more effective than leaping in uttering some kind of primal yelp and hoping for the best.
For the truth is that influencer marketing is not a golden goose. Though there is real potential there, there is always a chance it goes wrong and it hurts your bottom line or your brand more than it helps it. And that’s the last thing you’re after.
By Amanda Sparks, professional marketer and blogger, head of content department at Essay Supply.