Is your micro-influencer program not living up to its potential? Any of the following ten reasons could be the culprit. Fortunately, there are easy ways to change all of them and put your micro-influencer campaign back on track.

1. You Chose the Wrong Influencer

Seems simple, right? But finding the right influencers also means putting the audience first.

Who is your ideal customer? Who are you trying to reach with your micro-influencer program?

Once you know these answers, it’s your turn to stand in that customer’s shoes. Learn where they are, who they follow, what they’re interested in and how your product makes their life better.

Then the fun starts. You actually need to act the part. Become one of the people you’re hoping to target.

Follow potential micro-influencers and engage with them and other followers. This will give you hands-on knowledge about the influencers you’re interested in working with before you ever sign an agreement.

By the way, you can speed up the process with an influencer relationship management tool.

2. You Focused on Size, Not Engagement

You want mad reach, right? But taking the bigger-is-better approach in influencer marketing won’t get you there. The most successful engagement stats are linked to the magic middle: micro-influencers.

Stats repeatedly show an inverse relationship between engagement rates and number of followers. Your brand’s goal, however, is to find the sweet spot. The right combination of micro-influencers to achieve the engagement rates you want. But not so many that you’ll spend all of your time running your program and fielding influencer questions.

Our advice: 25,000-250,000 followers. Influencers of that size will get you solid organic reach. Why? Because their audience tends to engage more (which Instagram likes).

Expect a 3-4% engagement rate and the social proof they bring with them is solid. That’s because they’re still small enough to seem like a friend to their followers and carry on personal conversations online. However, they’re big enough that a single post could influence thousands of people to like, share, and try your product.

Want more details about audience size vs. engagement? Read this article from Digiday.

3. You’re Thinking Short-Term, Not Long-Term

You’ve got a campaign you’re about to launch and you really want to tap into influencers to make it click.

Our advice: stop applying marketing campaign mentality to your micro-influencer program. AdWeek puts it like this, “Consider LeBron James. He doesn’t swap shoe brands every other game; to do so would dilute his brand and those of the sponsors.”

The same thing happens with influencers. The best programs need time to build and gain momentum so they resonate with the influencer’s followers.

Genuine relationships form through mutual trust. But if messages about your brand are here today and gone as soon as the campaign is over, authenticity suffers.

Influencers are most successful when they feel like they’re part of your brand too. Give them insights, behind-the-scenes access, and let them know that you want to work long-term, not short. You’ll reap the benefits.

4. Your Brand Personality and Your Influencer Personas Don’t Match

It’s not you, we promise. Sometimes an influencer who sounds perfect – the right topic density, the right channels, the right number of followers – don’t pan out.

Toss stats aside for a minute and look at how your influencers engage with their audience. Have a funny and hip brand? You may not reach the right audience if you work with an academic influencer.

The lesson here is to learn as much as possible about who an influencer attracts before connecting. Consult your influencer content management tool for a breakdown of who the influencer is reaching. Then check out the influencer on all available channels and find out who is engaging and how.

5. Your Influencer’s Content Density Isn’t High Enough

You have a new kitchen tool and your micro-influencer is a food blogger. How can content density (the ratio of relevant content to all content) not be right? Because lately your blogger is focused on restaurant experiences instead.

In the world of influencers, you’ll find an array of takes on a single topic. Be sure your influencer relationship management tool allows you to search for specific topics and not just broad categories.

6. Your Channels are All Wrong

Does Facebook’s market saturation make it the right place to launch your new lip color? Eh, maybe. But if you’re trying to reach a teen audience, you’d probably do better on Instagram.

Truthfully, numbers aren’t everything when it comes to selecting the best channel for your product’s micro-influencers. You want to focus on channels that match your product’s selling points, too. For example, visual products will always benefit from a visual channel like Instagram but may not be busy enough for YouTube.

But, at the end of the day, if your audience isn’t on the channel where your influencer is, your reach and social proof is going to suffer.

Stereotyping Audiences

  • Facebook – Skews female (83% of adult women vs 75% of adult men); best channel for capturing a cross-section audience and for “shares.”
  • YouTube – Young males dominate the channel but it’s also experiencing high growth rates among adults 55+. Best news: 40% of millennials say YouTube influencers understand them more than their own in-the-flesh friends.
  • Instagram – Where you’ll find your college-aged daughter and all of her friends. 59% of 18–29 year olds use the channel, but only 18% of 50–64 year olds are on Instagram.
  • Snapchat – When you’re targeting a young audience, Snapchat is your best friend. Variety reported that 30% of 13- to 24-year-old said they favored Snapchat simply because their parents weren’t on it.
  • Twitch – Selling video games? This is where you want to be. Selling something else? Look elsewhere.

Remember to choose your channel carefully. Sending the right message on the wrong channel will eat into engagement rates. And vice versa, too.

7. Your Influencer is a Selling Machine

It’s a lot easier to run social ads, so remind us again why you’re using micro-influencers. That’s right, because you want authenticity. However, if your micro-influencers devote more than ½ of their posts to sponsorships, it’s time to look somewhere else.

Consumers find social ads to be ineffective in terms of purchase decisions. However, they also quickly tune out when their favorite Instagram micro-influencer or YouTube celebrity becomes a living pitchman/woman.

If your influencer campaign doesn’t seem to be living up to your expectations, check to see how many sponsored posts micro-influencers are running. Check these on a quarterly basis (or more frequently) since micro-influencers can enter into new sponsorships at any time.

8. You Haven’t Reviewed Metrics in a While

Your micro-influencer program was going great — then it tanked. What happened? Metrics may hold clues. Influencers go in and out of style.

Keeping a close eye on how yours are doing by monitoring engagement rates helps you determine if you need to keep moving forward with your relationship or if it’s time to start looking for someone new. Turn to your influencer relationship management tool to simplify the process.

9. You’re Controlling Them Too Much or Too Little

Followers find and stick with Influencers as a direct result of the content the influencer is creating. So, it’s best to step aside and let your influencer take control of the content.

Yes, you can provide ideas, suggestions, support material including videos and photos. But it’s really up to your micro-influencer as to whether he or she decides to use these.

Micro-influencers know best how to keep their audience engaged. If you insist upon pushing every post through your editorial team, creating a detailed posting calendar for them, or, in general, micro-managing your micro-influencer, you’re not going to get the results you were hoping for.

Instead, provide support and guidance and let your micro-influencers know that you’re there to help whenever needed.

10. You Rely on Solely Organic Reach for Your Influencer Content

I visited the Facebook offices in New York for ads supporting a client’s campaign. The opening line by the sales guys was “We’re not a social media company, Facebook is a media company.” I chuckled but that’s the truth. It, along with Instagram, really are pay-to-perform platforms.

Organic reach on each is declining and sits around 5% on Facebook and 25% on Instagram. On the plus side they are making it easier and easier for brands to pay and reach their audiences.

With Facebook’s branded content tool, you can instantly amplify influencer content. The one major drawback is you can only amplify the content to your followers. Intuitively, you want more of the influencer’s followers to see the post.

So how do you make this happen?

You can ask the influencer to go into their ad manager and amplify the content to their audience. You’ll want them to reach their followers who have engaged with them over the past 30-90 days. The bonus is you can have them add additional targeting such as age, location, and gender.

With Instagram, you can even have them add a CTA like “Learn More” or “Shop Now” and a URL to your brand website.

Final Thoughts

Influencer marketing is on every company’s must-do list and budgets are growing. But remember that every brand influencer program isn’t an immediate home run.

A successful influencer marketing program, whether micro-influencer or otherwise, starts long before you reach out to your first influencer. And your involvement continues as long as the influencer is working with you and beyond.

Can you think of any other reasons why influencer marketing campaigns fail? Let us know in the comments below.