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There’s no doubt about it, partnering with a social media influencer to market your products can be extremely effective. Followers often become devoted to an influencer’s authenticity, personality, and expertise in niche topics. Having this working in harmony with your brand can be a powerful method of outreach and engagement — when handled with skill. A strategy misfire with one of the most common influencer marketing mistakes, however, could have you going down in flames…not in history.

Check out these common influencer marketing mistakes

8 Common Influencer Marketing Mistakes

In order to become armed with the right knowledge to carry out a successful influencer campaign, make sure that you avoid these eight major influencer marketing mistakes.

Not being prepared

Jumping straight on the influencer bandwagon just because everyone else is doing it is not a good marketing strategy.

You need to draw up a well-researched influencer marketing strategy that includes precisely what you are trying to achieve, as well as who your target audience is and what type of influencer you’d like to partner with.

There are thousands of top influencers out there. Selecting the right one can be paramount to your success.

Going in blind with no apparent objective is not only a potential waste of time and money, it’s likely to frustrate your influencer since they won’t know what you want to achieve.

A lack of clear goals can damage an otherwise successful campaign, so be sure to start by clarifying your business KPIs (key performance indicators) prior to getting started

Selecting an influencer based on followers

Unless your influencers are the Kardashian sisters, it’s an influencer marketing mistake to focus purely on follower numbers. (And even then, celebrity influencers may be wrong for your specific goals.)

A high-profile influencer may appear to be the perfect match, with followers that run into the hundreds of thousands or millions. Scratch the surface, however, and you may find that while they have a lot of followers, they actually have an abysmal engagement rate.

The key here is quality, not quantity. Yes, your content creator needs to have a good amount of followers, but their engagement rate needs to be up there too. Any influencer worth working with will engage with and motivate their audience. People want their comments and concerns acknowledged, and engagement reinforces the “human” element of social media.

A good influencer will know that authentic engagement is how to inspire fierce loyalty. You want this quality behind your brand.

Making the collaboration a one-off

If you’re working with a few influencers and you’ve found the perfect one for your brand, you will want to hold onto them. Even though it can be tempting to work with other influencers, it’s worth building a relationship with content creators who are delivering the engaged, target audience you’re looking for.

Remember that followers are usually loyal to certain influencers, and those followers will respect loyalty too. Leaving immediately after a campaign risks alienating the followers you were hoping to engage.

Focus on building a long-lasting relationship with an influencer. This will allow your brand to grow with particular influencers, and reinforce authenticity and trust.

Focusing on one platform

People are active on a variety of social media platforms for various reasons. If you limit yourself to just one social media platform, you’re limiting the reach of your campaign.

If you’re already successful on a particular platform, it may be helpful to find an influencer that uses a relevant platform where you have less presence. This way, you can expand your customer reach while maintaining the success on your existing platform.

Also remember that just because your brand isn’t active on a platform, your audience may be. Using influencers to reach that audience can be a critical element in growing your online reach and potential customer base.

Micro-managing your influencers

Just because you pay an influencer, that doesn’t mean you own them or that you know what’s best. If that’s the stance you adopt, your influencer partnerships are likely to be extremely short-lived.

Influencers have already built their following using their own creative freedom. They are not likely to appreciate or tolerate you telling them exactly what to say and how to say it — nor will their audiences respond to an abrupt switch in tone or overly sales-y messaging. Working effectively with an influencer is about growing a relationship where you both have the power to make decisions.

If an influencer thinks something is a bad idea, listen to the reason why. Take their experience and advice on board; after all, they know their audience best. Aim to collaborate rather than to dictate and your campaign has a better chance of running smoothly.

Ignoring the law

You must make sure that a sponsored post is labeled as such. Failing to disclose can land your business and the influencer in very hot water.

Stay up to date with the latest FTC endorsement guidelines. Follow them to the letter and make sure your influencer also knows how to comply.

Rushing the creative process

Influencer content is so much more than snapping a selfie with your product in the background (at least GOOD influencer content is). Getting the photo or video just right can take time, and we assure you, it’s time well-spent. Give influencers the space they need to get the job done well.

Short deadlines or rushing when you brief an influencer is likely to lead to low-quality results which could spell disaster for your campaign.

Failing to be authentic

People follow influencers because they’re interested in their lifestyles, talents, and skills. They don’t expect an influencer they follow to suddenly start pushing a product at the cost of all their other messages.

If a surfer stops posting surfing videos, for example, and only posts about your surfboard wax for a week, followers will quickly lose interest. Similarly, if you expect the influencer to change their tone, words), style, or aesthetic to fit in with your brand, you’ve either got the wrong influencer or you’re expecting too much.

Promoted posts need to blend in with an influencer’s life without compromising it in any way. This allows the influencer to continue building their audience in the style their followers have grown to love.

The final word on influencer marketing mistakes

Finding and nurturing the right partnership with a social media influencer is crucial: you’re trusting your brand to them, and they’re entrusting their credibility to you. You both have a lot to gain from one another, and in order to work well together, it’s important to plan ahead and make strategic choices that benefit you both.

Avoid these eight influencer marketing mistakes and you’ll be well on your way to an amazing partnership that truly connects with your ideal audience.