Influencer marketing has become the latest craze in the marketing world and this trend shows no sign of slowing down.
While influencer marketing can be highly profitable and can help you to yield a positive ROI, there are many pitfalls that can also happen along the way.
Because influencer marketing is relatively new, there is not a lot of research out there, and many marketers are left stabbing around in the dark hoping they can make their strategies work.
While this is sometimes the best way to learn, it can be frustrating and often results in marketers ditching influencer strategies altogether.
Influencers are also becoming more savvy about the power they have and how valuable they can be, and costs on this end are also increasing exponentially.
Unless you have millions of dollars to throw around to secure a heavy-weight influencer like Kim Kardashian or Mark Cuban, influencer marketing can be tricky to navigate, especially at first. In fact, many marketers are failing at what should be a profitable venture.
In this article we are going to take you through all the common pitfalls when it comes to influencer marketing and how to avoid them.
Common Challenges with Influencer Marketing
One of the best and easiest ways to understand where marketers are failing is to understand the challenges that they face when it comes to influencer marketing.
A recent survey discovered the top challenges for marketers when it comes to influencer marketing.
This is what the survey found:
- 28 percent of survey respondents said gathering and finding data for influencer marketing was difficult.
- 13 percent of survey respondents said knowing which metrics to focus on or track was a major difficulty.
- 9 percent of survey respondents said they had a hard time generating reports.
These three challenges faced by marketers when it comes to influencer strategies, is most likely due to the lack of research out there.
In time, these challenges are likely to subside as more and more research and software hit the market. But there are solutions that you can implement now as well. (We will get into more of this below).
Another big challenge faced by marketers is actually liaising with the influencer in a productive way.
In a similar survey, marketers identified the following as being the main challenge when it came to working and connecting with influencers:
- 60 percent of survey participants reported that helping influencers engage with their communities while maintaining expectations to be a problem.
- 30 percent of survey participants struggled to negotiate what they feel to be fair terms.
- 50% percent of survey participants were faced with skepticism from influencers about whether their product would be a good fit for their brand.
As you can see from the survey results above, two of the biggest challenges faced by marketers include:-
- Gathering and finding data
- Managing expectations while also allowing the influencer to “influence”
It is easy to see why these would be the main challenges facing marketers.
Influencers know their brand the best, so there is a certain level of flexibility and freedom that needs to be trusted to them. This can be very difficult and many marketers struggle to relinquish control.
Also, it becomes very difficult to track the activity of how your product or service is performing because you may not have access to all the statistics.
It is also interesting to note the other side of the coin here. While these are the main challenges facing marketers, influencers also have certain challenges.
By understanding the challenges that your influencer faces, it may also help to shed some light on how to better connect with them and structure a solid deal.
Here are the common problems or challenges that influencers face when working with marketers-
- 72 percent of influencers reported that companies do not offer adequate pay.
- 40 percent of influencers complain about restrictive content deadlines and lack of ability to express their creativity.
- 24 percent of influencers feel restricted when marketers to ask for drafts for every post.
- 32 percent of influencers feel that marketers do not give them enough time to “influence”.
These challenges that influencers face may help to shed some light on the discord between both marketers and influencers.
While looking at all of these challenges may feel overwhelming, the good news is that they can all be overcome, saving your brand from failure.
This starts with a little bit of experience, knowing what to look for and aligning yourself with the best influencers out there.
How do you proceed? Let’s get started…
The Benefits of Influencer Marketing
Before you can be encouraged to overcome any obstacles, you have to first be able to identify whether influencer marketing is a good step for your brand.
Here are just some of the many benefits that influencer marketing can bring to your brand-
- Higher and more efficient reach to consumers
- Offers a higher ROI compared with other marketing strategies
- Makes advertising feel more organic and therefore, less invasive to consumers
- Allows the brand to feel aligned with the community or target audience
- A solid alternative or complimentary form of advertising to help generate traffic and engagement
- Helps to reach a younger audience (ie. millennials)
As you can see, there are many great benefits to bringing an influencer on board. There are also some great case studies out there that you can review to see how influencer marketing has worked for other brands.
One of the best case studies out there comes from the makeup brand Sephora, who teamed up with beauty expert, Tamanna Roashan.
Roashan has a large female audience and is followed by over 2.4 million people on Instagram.
Sephora took advantage of this and got Roashan to post some makeup tutorial images on their brand’s Instagram page. They also got her to take over their SnapChat page.
This allowed Sephora to tap into Roashan’s massive following and also helped Sephora to increase their own social following and motivate followers to buy the products she was recommending.
In fact, Roashan’s posts on Instagram earned an average of 10,000 more likes and 2,000 more comments than the average post shared by Sephora themselves.
This is huge for any brand, and shows just some of the power influencer marketing has.
While Sephora may not share a dollar amount of how much money they made from conducting this social media take over, these are some general statistics that may be able to shed light on things.
How Much Money is to be Made from Influencer Marketing?
The real answer to this question is – the sky is the limit. However, recent research has found that over 55 percent of marketers will profit under $500 from influencer marketing.
This statistic is disheartening, but the same research also showed that 30 percent of marketers were able to pull in profits of up to $25,000.
That is not bad, considering the average marketer pays an influencer less than $5,000.
It is this potential that gets marketers excited about how to use influencer marketing, but here is where marketers get stuck.
How Marketers are Failing When it Comes to Influencer Marketing
If you want to avoid falling into the 55 percent category that make less than $500 from their influencer marketing strategy, then listen up.
Now that you have understood the challenges and benefits of influencer marketing it becomes easier to make sense of how marketers are failing and what can be done to rectify things.
Point of Failure #1: Not Knowing Your Intention
Before you even consider reaching out to an influencer, you need to be very clear as to why you want an influencer in the first place.
Influencer marketing is great to help boost the following-
- Brand awareness
- Reach (social media for example)
- Growing Leads
All of these are great intentions when it comes to your influencer marketing campaign, so before proceeding, make sure that your intentions fall into one of these bullet points.
Point of Failure #2: Choosing the Right Influencer
This is the hardest and trickiest step for marketers. Often the fool-proof influencers are going to charge a premium price, whereas lesser-known influencers may be cheaper but pose more of a risk.
Again, you have to think about your intention and what is best going to serve your brand. You may also have to think long and hard about your target audience and who they would resonate with best.
When you have a short list of possible influencers, here is what you need to look at-
- Reach: How many people can this influencer reach? The reach that your influencer has is extremely important as this will help to give you some idea as to how many people are going to see your message. Keep in mind too that bigger doesn’t always mean better. When determining your influencers reach, look beyond their followers and to how many comments and likes they receive. This should help paint a clearer picture of their actual audience engagement.
- Relevance: How relevant to your brand is this influencer? Is your audience the same as your influencers audience? Matching up the your audience with your influencers audience is a recipe for success, so ensure that you both have the same target market.
- Resonance: How relevant is your product to the influencer and their following? Will your influencer’s audience resonate with your brand? To help you determine this, it may also help to read the comments of your influencer’s audience across various social media platforms.
By taking the time to assess these three very important factors, it can go a long way to helping you pick the perfect influencer for the job.
Point of Failure #3: Communicating with Influencers
This is another common challenge that marketers face when it comes to running a successful influencer campaign.
In fact, communicating successfully with the influencer and being on the same page as each other can determine the entire outcome of the project.
From first pitching your influencer to the ins and outs of your strategy, here is how to approach communicating with your influencer.
1. Make a Pitch and Make it Personal
Most marketers are experts at making a solid pitch, but where they fail is forgetting to make it personal. When it comes to connecting with your influencers find a way to make it personal. Show that you have done your research and that you genuinely connect and resonate with their style and message.
When crafting your pitch it may also help to keep in mind the two most important challenges or issues that influencers face when it comes to working with marketers. These include inadequate pay and lack of creative control.
2. Make it Mutually Beneficial
When crafting your pitch, it has to sound beneficial, especially to the influencer. To do this, clearly define or highlight 3-5 benefits that your influencer will gain such as-
- Monetary benefits
- Free products
- Free service sample
- Access to your followers/audience
- Opportunities for ongoing collaboration
Highlighting the benefits to your influencer is in fact, important through every step of the process.
Make it a point to treat your influencer as a collaborator rather than just someone you hired. This not only helps to build a rapport but it also allows the influencer to feel valued and that they are part of something bigger.
3. Plant Seeds for a Longterm Relationship
One of the biggest mistakes influencers make when it comes to influencer marketing is thinking “short term” rather than long term. Research has shown that influencer marketing could take time to really peak and that benefits increase over time. This means that crafting a longterm relationship with your influencer is paramount. When you work on building a lasting relationship it can help you to see lasting benefits and not just a “one hit wonder”.
According to Ian Cleary, an award winning tech blogger one of the biggest mistakes that marketers make is jumping in too quickly-
“It is important to follow a process and build the relationship and by doing this it takes more time but, you get better results.”
Point of Failure #4: Monitoring Influencers
Once you have clued your influencer in on your strategy and you have both agreed to the terms, the next step is to monitor your influencer and the work that they create.
Depending on your agreement, this may include approving any posts or images that they create, and overseeing any questions or comments that followers have.
The biggest pitfall that marketers make during this step however, is over-monitoring or becoming picky or controlling about the influencers efforts.
It is one thing if the influencer fails to abide by the terms of your agreement, but it is another thing to be constantly looking over their shoulder and asking for constant updates.
Remember, over 39 percent of influencers complain about working with marketers who pose restrictive content guidelines that allow little flexibility and freedom.
This type of business relationship can also jeopardise your strategy altogether and leave your influencer unmotivated to push your product or service.
To work around this point of potential conflict, give the influencer some breathing space, but also communicate clearly what your expectations are.
This will help to ensure that you are both on the same page when it comes to the strategy and working together.
Point of Failure #5: Getting Organised
For both you and your influencer to be on the same page, you have to get organised. This means that you need to outline the aspects of your campaign and perhaps even schedule a content calendar.
According to the founder of Mass Amplify, Britt Michaelian –
“As someone who has worked with many brands as an influencer, organisation makes all the difference for how I participate during a campaign and how I perceive the brand afterward.”
If you communicate to your influencer that you are disorganised or don’t know what you are doing, they are unlikely to want to work with you again in the future.
To avoid this from happening and to improve your campaign’s chances of success, consider keeping data sheets and a fixed schedule that both you and your influencer can refer to.
Point of Failure #6: Tracking Analytics
This is one of the biggest points of failure when it comes to running an influencer campaign, however as technology advances, this is expected to become less of a problem.
When it comes to the statistics, what you wish to track will really depend on your strategy and intention.
There are some statistics however, that are going to be important no matter what your final outcome may be. These include-
- Tracking the total shares across the various social platforms
- Tracking the comments and what people are saying or how they are responding to the image or post
- Tracking engagement rates such as clicks and likes
- Tracking use of hashtags
- Tracking how many leads you collect by sharing bit.ly or other special links
- Tracking how many sales you make by tracking the link
When you are organised, tracking this data also becomes easier and will help you to see exactly what effect your influencer strategy is having.
It is also important to keep in mind the bigger picture influence when it comes to running a strategy of this nature.
For example, the clothing brand Madewell teamed up with an influencer Stephanie Sterjovsk, who has been referred to as a rising star in the fashion world.
Madewell had Stephanie promote one of their handbags using the hashtag #totewell on her own Instagram page. This went on to score thousands and thousands of likes, earning Madewell nearly a million shares of the #totewell hashtag.
This shows that Stephanie was able to reach over a million people even though her Instagram image did not earn that many likes or comments.
Again, measuring the success of your influencer campaign is going to come back to your intention, but it definitely helps to think in bigger terms than just the numbers you see on the surface.
As David Scneider, co-founder of NinjaOutreach states-
“We have been doing influencer marketing for over 1.5 years and we have seen our traffic grow substantially, but it wasn’t something that happened in a day, a week or even a month. Instead it is a process, of getting the word out there, writing content and building relationships etc. Eventually, influencer marketing transitions into more organic, as you build up a reputation and people come to you, it is worth the wait but it takes time. If you have the wrong expectations, you will probably give up too early.”
Influencer marketing is one of the most effective strategies and is helping all types of businesses to get their name out there.
Influencer marketing is really just at the beginning stages and overtime it is likely to become one of the leading forms of marketing, particularly online.
Being an early adopter of this strategy will not only benefit your brand, but will put your company miles above the rest.
When it comes to influencer marketing strategies and avoiding failure, here are some of the biggest takeaways-
- Get clear on your intention- think long term results instead of short term results
- Choose the right influencer by measuring how they resonate with your brand
- Make your dealings with the influencer personal and mutually beneficial
- View your influencer as a partner rather than an employee, be open to collaboration
- Keep open, honest communication with your influencer
- Explain your strategy to your influencer and ensure that you are both on the same page
- Keep your strategy organised through tables, calendars and open communication
- Give your influencer creative freedom within the parameters of your overall goal
- Warm into your influencer strategy and don’t expect results overnight
- Track engagement across social media and use tracking links to measure performance
- Think bigger picture when it comes to measuring performance, results may not be measurable straight away
- Monitor how your audience is responding to your influencer and what their attitudes are towards the influencer
- Stay open to your campaign and keep editing and making changes depending on the results and your audiences’ reaction.
The bottom line when it comes to influencer marketing is that it works. You just need to be open to failing a few times before you get it right.