Influencer marketing involves marketing products and services through people who have are able to influence the thoughts and behavior of other people. This market influence generally stems from an individual’s expertise, popularity, or reputation. Influence can come from a broad range of places, such as a person, group, brand, or place. Influencer marketing is not a new concept, although social media has changed the way products and brands are marketed. Today, anyone could call themselves “an influencer” because of a large audience they have amassed, but they may not have actual influence over those who follow them.

This is why it is of the utmost importance for businesses to select their influencers wisely. There are several pitfalls in influencer marketing that companies make when deciding which influencer to choose. These pitfalls are very common, and they are avoidable if brands know how to effectively choose and work with influencers. The following are five common pitfalls.

Pitfall #1: Choosing Status and Numbers Over Relevance
Many people believe that the more followers an influencer has, the more a brand will benefit from the partnership, but this statement is wrong. One of the benefits of influencer marketing is the ability to access more targeted audiences. Celebrities with a lot of popularity and a lot of followers are not necessarily the best to target certain demographics, as their audience might be too wide for a particular brand or product. It is better to choose an influencer who is relevant to your target audience, since different influencers attract different people.

Pitfall #2: Ignoring Engagement Levels

Many people ignore engagement levels of an influencer and their audience. It is important to constantly keep track of engagement levels to see if the influencer’s content is reaching and resonating effectively with their audience. Some things to look out for include likes, views, comments, and shares or retweets. Some effective tools to help you understand an influencer’s engagement include Nuvi, Hootsuite, Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, Instagram Analytics through Keyhole, YouTube Analytics, and other analytic tools found on the social media platforms themselves, or work with a knowledgeable influencer marketing agency.

Pitfall #3: Treating Influencers Like Other Advertising Partners
Many people treat their influencers like other advertising partners. Many companies treat their relationships with influencers like a transaction or a forced partnership. It is important to treat your influencers like a valued marketing partner, and to allow them to connect with your brand on a personal level. This will go a long way when it comes to the way they help promote your brand to their audience. I find it most effective when companies build long lasting relationships with influencers, as this usually turns the influencer into a longtime brand ambassador.

Pitfall #4: Lack of research on the influencers

Many people make the mistake of not doing enough research on the influencers before choosing to work with them. It is important do thorough research on the influencers to ensure their beliefs and behavior align with your brand. The influencer you choose will become the face of your brand, so that will mean that your name will be associated with theirs.

Pitfall #5: Treating it all as a one-time thing
Many people treat influencer marketing as a one time engagement, and a short term ordeal. It is important to understand that successful influencer marketing focuses on a long term approach. By engaging and connecting with influencers over a longer period of time you empower them to them with the ability to better understand your brand and how you wish to be perceived by your target audience.

These are just a few pitfalls and mistakes that people make in regards to influencer marketing. These could all be avoided if people know how to effectively work with influencers. It is important to thoroughly research your influencers before choosing them, and choosing the right influencer for your target audience regardless of followers or celebrity status. It is also important to constantly keep track of engagement levels to ensure that your marketing efforts are effective.