Despite influencer marketing challenges, eMarketer indicates 84 percent of marketers will launch at least one influencer marketing campaign in the next 12 months. That’s big news, considering the massive adoption of adblock and ever changing social media algorithms. Many brands have seen impressive results from this emerging discipline, with influencer marketing ROI outpacing most other forms of digital advertising.

Yes, there’s a ton of data telling marketers why we should invest in influencer marketing. We won’t preach why; savvy marketers already get why. It’s the how that’s holding many back from getting the highest returns on their influencer marketing campaigns. Although the “wild west” of influencer marketing is becoming more civilized, it’s still a new channel. Influencers and even the savviest marketers are still working out influencer marketing best practices and running into challenges. In this three part series on influencer marketing challenges, we’ll count down the three biggest challenges and tell you how to solve them.

Influencer Marketing Challenges: #3 – Not realizing successful influencer marketing begins with understanding your persona, first.

Good marketing always begins with understanding the who—your buyer’s persona. My colleagues just launched a compelling report called “10 predictions to guide your 2017 digital strategy.” Prediction number eight was all about this. In it, they explained why an influencer and their audiences are not synonymous. People who are new to influencer marketing get this mixed up (almost always). Newbies are often starstruck by an influencer’s massive following, rather than understanding whether the influencer’s audience is the same as their ideal customer profile.

Make sure you assess the influencer’s audience, first. Beyond standard demographic criteria, analyze whether the influencer shares similar interests to your brand and your consumers. Understanding this, marketers will be able to leverage influencers create a much deeper connection with their followers than possible on brand channels.

One way to look at this is this “formula” from Forbes:

Influence = Audience Reach (# of followers) x Brand Affinity (expertise and credibility) x Strength of Relationship with Followers
In other words, in lieu of reach, if the influencer doesn’t have subject matter expertise, there’s likely a lack of credibility. Ultimately, they won’t relate to your ideal customer profile. Find another influencer.

Robust influencer profiles, like those in our influencer discovery suite, give you a personal look at each influencer, so you can discover influencers who can tell your story most convincingly. You’ll see everything from age, location and pet ownership to topics they care about and that describe the social content they create. By combining your buyer’s persona with our influencer data, you can find influencers who can carry your brand message authentically.

What’s next in our list of influencer marketing challenges? Next week, we’ll tackle influencer marketing KPIs.