Three mistakes brands make when using influencers
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Three mistakes brands make when using influencers and how to correct them

Three mistakes brands make when using influencers and how to correct them

There are several factors that need to be kept in mind to ensure a successful influencer marketing campaign

Influencer marketing – a strategy that involves engaging ‘influencers’ in order to get your message out there and promote your product or service, is fast becoming common practice amongst brands and a staple across most marketing strategies.

When executed correctly, influencer marketing has the ability to create impact and positively affect brand recall and customer conversion.

However, when executed incorrectly, it can be a disaster and a waste of time and money. We manage influencer campaigns as part of our PR and social media services and have seen first-hand the pitfalls.

Here are the top three mistakes brands make when working with influencers and how to correct them:

Mistake #1: Choosing the wrong influencers
Partnering with the correct influencer should not be determined by the number of followers – while the size of the follower base may seem like the ideal selection criteria, it’s only a starting point. Selecting influencers to work with encompasses several factors, which can include shared visions, common interests, target audience demographics, expertise and most importantly, authentic content that resonates.

Many brands fall into the trap of choosing influencers because they have a huge following – but that is in fact the worst way to go about it. A huge following doesn’t mean the followers are authentic, engaged or even your correct target audience.

HOW TO FIX THIS MISTAKE:
A good way to select an influencer to work with, is to define clear goals and have a specific selection criteria that they need to fulfil, to be a perfect ‘fit’ for the brand. Then ensure a deep dive into their past content, analytics, current partnerships and most importantly, screen them, just like you would a new employee. Once you know the parameters of your ideal influencer, you can set about selecting the ideal influencer to partner with.

Mistake #2: Promoting inauthentic and fake content
The art of ‘influencing’ is all about making authentic connections with followers, and effective influencer marketing is about capitalising on real conversations and the relationship that exists between an influencer and their followers.

The key is authentic content that resonates with followers and not trying to force a brand endorsement into conversations and posts. Many companies have specific brand guidelines which can seem very advertorial when influencers are asked to incorporate them into their content.

The nature of social media dictates an informal and more relaxed tone, which can – at times – be at odds with ‘corporate speak’.

HOW TO FIX THIS MISTAKE:
Don’t micro-manage. Allow influencers to be content creators and use their own language to promote your brand. ‘Corporate speak’ works for press releases and articles, but social media is all about authentic content, shared from an individual’s own point of view, so as long as the influencer is aware of your brand values and corporate ideology, let them be creative and expressive in their own words, to promote your brand. If a brand has correctly vetted the influencer, then the values, tone and messaging should align – offering flexibility to an influencer will result in authentic content, that will be well received by the followers.

Mistake #3: Not tracking influencer campaign performance
Many brands are happy to have engaged a strong influencer at reasonable rates – however, the real work starts once the influencer’s posts are live. Are people engaging with the content, has your ‘call to action’ been effective, has there been some form of customer conversion? Most brands still regard impressions, reach or views as a benchmark, but the reality is that there is a plethora of additional metrics that need to be kept in mind, starting with the rate of engagement. For example, likes, reposts, shares, comments from a smaller follower base is more impactful
than a silent and unengaged follower base of millions.

HOW TO FIX THIS MISTAKE:
Brands need to ensure that there is a clear criterion for success and that they have KPIs that not only measure performance, but also provide data to strengthen future campaigns. Decide on the right performance metrics for that particular campaign by establishing quantifiable metrics that align with your sales or marketing goals. Influencer marketing can take time, so it’s important to track a campaign from the minute it goes live. Strategic influencer marketing campaigns start with strengthening brand awareness and then move along the customer journey, ensuring conversion and ultimately, those followers become brand advocates. Every step along the way offers an opportunity to track and monitor campaign performance.

Zaib Shadani is the managing director at Shadani Consulting

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