Influencer marketing is no longer a black box. In recent years, it has commanded a large and growing share of annual budgets and increasingly siphoned budgets from traditional advertising. From executing influencer marketing campaigns globally for over 5,000 brands over the last nine years, we have seen the highs and lows, challenges, and opportunities that brands are faced with when developing a strategy. Based on our rich historical data, we have identified these five tactics to avoid when launching an influencer campaign:
1. CASTING BASED SOLELY ON FOLLOWERS
Although high follower counts can be alluring, they do not guarantee success. With the rampant misuse of fake followers on social media, the number of likes immediately becomes an arbitrary measure of a person's true "influence.” Success is defined by identifying clear campaign objectives and by achieving them through consumer engagement that translates to results.
A celebrity may have 800,000 followers, but a majority of those followers may not be engaged daily or shopping as a result of a post. Whereas an influencer with a smaller follower count may be better aligned to achieve results for the brand’s objective, because that person’s audience are readily engaging with the influencer’s content.
2. SENDING FREE PRODUCT EQUALS GREAT RESULTS
Today’s consumers are well aware of influencer marketing. They also have confidence in influencer recommendations because they are invested in the influencer’s lives and stories. Therefore, influencers remain diligent in maintaining their authentic voice with the products they endorse to their audience.
While gifting is still an opportunity for brands, the outreach needs to be paired with strategic casting so you are able to identify the right influencer to champion your product in an authentic way. Brands still gift, but coupled with smarter casting of strategic influencers, it looks a little different.
3. ELIMINATING CREATIVE FREEDOM TO YOUR INFLUENCER
Brands are used to managing all creative aspects of a marketing campaign. However, influencer marketing is different in that you are empowering an influencer to translate your brand story to their audience.
An influencer has the deepest understanding of their audience and how to best communicate your message in a way that will resonate most effectively. Allowing them to storytell through their personal lens will yield better results that deeper engrain a brand with the consumer, versus forcing strict guidelines that could erode trust.
4. WORKING WITH TOO MANY DIFFERENT INFLUENCERS
Because the root of influencer marketing’s success lies in authenticity, for a consumer to believe that a brand is used by an influencer in their daily life, that brand needs to emerge as a thread throughout the influencer’s narrative.
It only benefits brands to build long-term relationships with a set number of influencers so that they can use their voice to tell a brand’s story in a way that reads as genuine with their audience over a period of time. When this is done well, a campaign can succeed far beyond product placement and ads, and all parties involved will have won by creating an authentic experience from start to finish for the consumer.
An influencer who respects, represents, and ultimately speaks to the desired consumer community are the ones who bring the best results for your brand.
5. TRYING IT ONCE
Utilizing an influencer for just one campaign or just one post won’t drive the type of engagement most brands are hoping for. Influencer marketing is not unlike other advertising approaches: it takes consistent messaging over time to reach and convert consumers.
The best influencer marketing campaigns are evergreen, with products reemerging in the influencer’s narrative more than once and at different points in time. The repeated exposure through that story is what ultimately helps brands achieve their objectives. Strategic planning with the understanding that it takes time for a brand to build trust with an influencer and, in turn, an influencer to build trust in their audience about a brand are needed for reaching a successful full funnel influencer marketing plan.
- Follower count does not equate to results.
- Gifting does not guarantee quality posts.
- Guide, don’t prescribe.
- Working with influencers is about building relationships at scale.
- Consistent pressure is the key to long term success