Don’t make influencer marketing harder than it needs to be.

influencer_marketing_mistakeIt seems like every brand is jumping on the influencer marketing bandwagon to take advantage of this new opportunity to connect with their fans. Of course, we’re thrilled about this adoption, but we have noticed some unfortunate trends emerging from marketers who aren’t doing it quite right. We’re here to help. Read through these common influencer marketing mistakes and learn how to avoid them. Because, when it’s executed correctly, influencer marketing can be a great way to connect with your audience on a deeper level.

Mistake #1: Not including proper disclosure

One of the most common mistakes that we see is one that could cost you dearly. Many brands, either out of ignorance or arrogance, neglect to include the proper disclosures required by the Federal Trade Commission in their influencer marketing posts. In response, the FTC has hit a few brands with penalties. It’s a shame to see because it’s so easily avoidable. The FTC has very clear rules to follow and we’ve outlined these for you. The main question to ask yourself is “is it very clear that the influencer is being paid for this post?” The FTC has recently announced that they’ll be taking these issues more seriously, we suggest you do too.

Mistake #2: Measuring against the wrong results

We often see brands approaching influencer marketing for the wrong reasons— with the wrong end game in mind. A quick conversation can usually uncover whether a brand is aiming for the right metrics at the outset of a campaign. Looking to influencers for results like direct sales or app downloads can lead to spammy, sales-oriented posts that turn off customers. Promotion like this can backfire against your brand.

A consumer’s path to purchase is a non-linear journey. It takes many twists and turns as consumers travel from awareness to consideration to decision. For that reason, we recommend focusing your influencer marketing efforts where you know they can have a considerable impact. Namely, the early stages of the path to purchase. Influencers can be fantastically helpful with generating awareness and driving conversation and engagement with the right audience. Focus on Return on Influence.

Mistake #3: Just aiming for high follower counts

A lot of marketers think that because they’re working with influencers, they need to be working with the individuals that have the highest possible reach. The more eyes, the better- right? However, this approach misses the bigger picture. Loudly shouting something into a crowd is not as effective as telling the right person exactly what you want them to know. This also applies to influencer marketing. You don’t just want any person with a large following sharing about your brand. You want to focus on individuals who have meaningful engagements with the right audience for your brand. Look for the match between your brand’s values and the influencer’s. That sweet spot in the middle is where you’ll find the most engagement and activity from your influencers. Brands are clamoring to work with giant social celebrities, like the Kardashians, simply because of their massive social following. But we’ve seen where that approach leads: trouble for failure to disclose and/or laughably bad posts. When you shoot for authentic matches with the right people, the content will reflect your brand values. Just ask V8.

Mistake #4: Failure to cultivate a relationship

It can be difficult to cultivate meaningful relationships in any space, but especially in the social world. That’s why brands want to borrow on the success of influencers, they know how to do it and they do it well. Often, brands fail to engage with their influencers properly. Brands who approach influencers as creative collaborators and equals get awesome content. Think of influencers as creative professionals, solicit their input on your projects. When influencers feel valued and engaged with brands, they will create better, more authentic content. They will also be inclined to participate in future campaigns.

Mistake #5: Prescribing content and/or not trusting influencers

Influencer marketing is effective because of the influencers’ ability to communicate your brand to their audience. There are two things you, as a brand marketer, have to do to empower these creators to produce the best possible content. The first step is establishing content guidelines for the influencer. You want to guide their content creation to enable them to tell your story. This means providing brand education so they know how to talk about your brand properly and providing clear, reasonable content expectations with some creative direction. The second piece is letting go of the reigns and giving them creative liberty. These individuals have built their audience by posting in their particular style. They know what content will resonate with their audience and how to best interact with them. You’ve chosen them for a reason, so provide them guidance and then trust their ability to execute.

Influencer marketing can be extremely effective for your brand. Take the time to learn from other people’s mistakes before you make them yourself. Implement these influencer marketing best practices and your social media marketing will benefit. If your first foray into influencer marketing is rocky, remember that there is a learning curve. Try again and consider a trusted partner who can help guide you through a campaign, provide important insight into what influencers will or will not respond to, and collect incredible content for your brand.