Influencer marketing is big business. In fact, it’s massive: data suggests that more than 65 percent of marketing companies use some type influencer marketing programs and this number is steadily growing. It seems that almost every company is jumping on the influencer marketing bandwagon, and is trying to take advantage of this great opportunity to boost their market presence.
Unfortunately, influencer marketing, just like any other type of marketing, has its hiccups, particularly if the legal aspects are not clear. Although the industry is new, there are obvious trends which show that some influencers, as well as brands, do not understand how influencer marketing is supposed to work. The nature of the mistakes vary greatly: from legal aspects between influencers and companies, to poorly measuring results, choosing an inappropriate influencer or failing to create a meaningful relationship. These are all common mistakes that we hope will disappear in the next years, so we are here to help. Let’s take a look at some of them and learn how to avoid them:
Not having a proper disclosure
This is one of the mistakes that can cost you dearly. Under present regulations, companies are required to provide a disclosure (typically in text) about the nature of their relationship with the influencer. However, in a bid to attract more viewers, fame and customers, many companies simply ignore this important legal element. They either ignore this regulation altogether (and not include the disclosure at all) or include a shortened version.
According to the FTC (The Federal Trade Commission), every company needs to fully disclose their type of agreement with an influencer. This rule was famously re-enforced back in July, when the FTC ruled against Warner Bros. in a case where the company used Pewdiepie as an influencer to promote one of their video games. The case attracted attention and made people wary of influencer marketing on the whole. Some experts wondered how we should deal with this new type of marketing, what type of relationship should there be between the owner and the promoter, and what rules should be enforced in the future. However, according to the FTC, a complete disclosure statement should be sufficient and will avoid any legal issues. After all, if everything is transparent, it helps both the influencer and the potential customers.
Not using appropriate influencers
Influencer marketing is big, and can grow even bigger, because there are a lot of potential influencers around, in every imaginable niche. This means that almost every market or niche can be “covered” by a famous person who is considered an authority by potential customers. The problem, however, is identifying which influencer is ideal for your brand. Which influencer is the best communicator? How can you determine which influencer can boost your brand’s authority, establish it as a leader in the industry and attract more followers?
Unfortunately, this is an area where many marketing specialists and companies fail. Simply put, they attract the wrong influencers (and, in turn, the wrong crowd), they prescribe poor content which fails to establish a relationship with viewers or just communicate to an unresponding viewership. Another mistake some companies continue to make is to enforce a certain style of storytelling to influencers. It’s important to understand that all influencers, whether they are bloggers, vloggers, or social media stars, have become so popular because they have a personal, unique style. And companies should not interfere in this area just to promote their product. This is why it’s terribly important to have a product or service that fits an influencer’s personality and his or her followers.
Going for the wrong metrics
When companies approach influencers, they have a certain set of numbers in mind. They may want 10,000 extra followers, 5,000 extra sales or 7,000 Facebook shares. When a company comes with this type of mindset, the end result is usually a spammy, super-advertorial text that annoys and shocks customers. And this is not what influencer marketing is about. In fact, this type of promotion can backfire spectacularly for both the company and the influencer, who will lose his or her reputation in no time.
What influencer marketing is about are trust and awareness. These are the fundamental concepts which influencer marketing should foster and nurture. Potential customers should feel that a product is used or promoted by their favorite influencer because it has value, it is trustworthy, and reliable. Trust and awareness are the basic concepts on which a sale is made. You simply cannot get sales if there is no trust or sense of authenticity between a customer and a company, and that’s where the influencer gets into the equation – he or she becomes a messenger of this trust, as long as they are, themselves, appropriate for the campaign.
Failing to create meaningful relationships
Most companies who use influencer marketing fail to understand that this type of marketing is built around a long-lasting relationship between them, the influencer and the viewers. These three entities work closely together to build trust, promote a good product and eventually increase sales. In many cases, after a successful campaign (or after the likes or share numbers have been reached), companies never recontact the influencers or their viewers again. This strategy can render the campaign almost completely ineffective in the long run and will fail to engage the viewers and turn them into repeat customers.
Companies should approach influencers as long-term creative collaborators and equals, in order to get and share awesome content. Similarly, companies should ask influencers for their input on future campaigns, products or services. Basically, companies should work together with influencers all the time, not only during short campaigns.
Influencer marketing is one of the most powerful marketing strategies to master. It’s incredibly effective if you know how to use it and what to promote. You only have to pay attention to how influencer marketing works, what mistakes are there to avoid and how to make the most out of every campaign. Try to create a meaningful partnership with influencers, provide insight and share excellent content as often as possible.