The impact of the influencer is now so great that a whole new category of marketing has been created in their name. “Influencer Marketing” relies on the stars of YouTube, Instagram and other social media platforms to push products and services in a way that feels organic, natural and genuine. When it works, this is one of the most effective modern marketing tools a company can use, and the most popular online figures frequently gather legions of enthusiastic followers in just a few hours. As the market becomes more saturated than ever, competition begins to ramp up and the margin for ever becomes ever smaller. Making mistakes in influencer marketing is very costly and unfortunately, as it this is a relatively new concept, very easy to do. Here are some of the biggest influencer marketing mistakes that you should try to avoid.
1. Treating Influencers Like Employees
For large companies with a lot of money, it can seem like everything is for sale. This is not always the case and some high-profile influencers have simply stopped working with certain companies because of the way they were treated by them. Though you can expect good quality videos, coherent narratives and a degree of enthusiasm, influencers aren’t the same as a paid actor in an advert or a member of your promotional team. You must respect them and allow them to work in a way that allows them to feel comfortable. Remember that you are capitalising on their popularity and if they decide to walk away from you because you’re demanding too much, you stand to lose a lot more face then they do. Just remember you don’t own influencers, no matter how big your company is. Approach interactions with influencers on an equal standing and always use manners and respect to avoid losing them or creating bad feeling.
2. Obsessing Over Followers
“Hey guys, don’t forget to hit the like button and subscribe to my channel” is something we’ve all heard way too many times already. Similarly, messages begging Instagram users to follow certain accounts seem desperate. There’s no denying that more followers equal more exposure but try not to become so caught up in this that you lose sight of everything else. The content is what matters the most when it comes to presenting your brand and if this is increasingly full of demands to follow, like, share etc, it will go stale very quickly. Never buy followers illegally, either. It might make you look popular, but most people are aware of this unethical and frankly ridiculous practice. Let your followers build up naturally over time and try not force things. By all means, remind people of how they can get more of your content, but don’t become so consumed with raising your total number of subscribers that you forget to create genuinely interesting content for them to watch, read or listen to.
3. Only Using One Platform
Sticking to one platform can seem like a good idea for the sake of simplicity and ease of management but it isn’t usually a good idea. Sharing YouTube content on twitter and Facebook is one of the easiest ways to boost views and without this kind of additional push, some excellent work can go largely unseen. Similarly, alternative streaming sites such as Twitch need to be embraced as they are enjoying a hugely successful period at the moment. Even if you or your influencers have established a large base of regular followers on YouTube, you should still be making use of as many different platforms as you possibly can in order to generate the most reach. Link like crazy and always offer your subscribers a few different ways to consume your content if you can. This might sound unnecessary but in a world of infinite choice, both marketers and influencers need to keep up with demand.
4. Twitter Beef
Controversy seems to sell very well at the moment but having your influencers caught up in ongoing twitter arguments can be extremely damaging, especially if they’re dealing with high profile celebrities that your customers may like. This is something of a double-edged sword as a certain amount of joshing and friendly banter can be great for your brand but as we have seen time and time again, it doesn’t take long for things to turn nasty when it comes to social media. Though you definitely can’t control what influencers do directly, it makes sense to advise them on how to conduct themselves on social media when discussing your product. Any negativity or hostility can be associated with you and your company, so even if it seems appropriate at the time, its never usually a good idea to work with overly volatile or argumentative types if you can avoid it.
5. Making Internal Messages Public
It happens. Notes or emails that were meant for management’s eyes only end up making their way into the public domain. Influencers have even copied and pasted direct instructions from the company they are working with into their Instagram account. This is not only embarrassing for them, it also effects the reputation of your brand badly, too. Always ensure to double check anything you are posting online if you are working as a professional influencer. Similarly marketing managers and executives need to make sure they don’t trust that the content they are given will be right first time. A quick scan for any irregularities or mistakes usually takes a matter of minutes and can make a huge difference to the overall quality of the content you’re putting out there. Make it clear which parts of your message you want to be public and which parts are instructions or guidance for the influencer themselves. Some of them work with multiple agencies every day, so its important to be as clear and direct as possible when you are communicating with them.