Marketing with influencers: Why the success hoped for fails to materialize
Influencer marketing has grown into a market worth billions in recent years. Many experts expect global investment in influencer advertising to exceed the ten billion dollar mark this year. With many brands focusing more on this area and rapidly increasing budgets, there is a strong professionalization of influencer marketing at the same time. Nonetheless, even established companies repeatedly make mistakes that diminish the success of their campaigns and, in the worst case, achieve the opposite. These are the seven deadly sins in influencer marketing:
- Lack of clear objectives
- Focus on reach instead of commitment
- Unsuitable selection of influencers
- Incorrect or lack of briefing
- Preventing creative freedom
- Campaigns not extended
- Poor tracking
#1 Lack of clear objectives
With new channels, new formats and a multitude of new creators, influencer marketing is becoming increasingly complex. Simply “doing something with influencers”, just because the competition does, does not usually lead to the desired results. An integrated influencer marketing strategy and clearly defined goals form the basis for effective campaigns. The starting point could be, for example, the following questions:
- What contribution to the brand can collaboration with influencers make?
- What, specifically, do you want to advertise?
- What concrete results do you want to achieve?
Without precise goals and a consistent strategy, there is a risk of investments fizzling out due to randomness. In influencer campaigns it is therefore particularly important to define the relevant KPIs beforehand, on the basis of which the campaigns’ effects can be measured.
#2 Focus on reach instead of commitment
Many influencers have impressive follower numbers. But by no means does a theoretically high reach alone guarantee the desired campaign success, and can cost a lot of money if the influencer is too passive. Far more important is the performance of the potential brand ambassador, in other words their ability to interact with the community and lead them to desired actions.
It is not for nothing that more and more companies are focusing on thematically specialized micro-influencers. Although the follower numbers are lower, they are much more closely connected to their community and enjoy a high degree of trust as recommendation givers. Special research and reporting tools help to develop a deeper understanding of the relevant data and figures and to better estimate the expected results on the basis of previous interaction rates.
#3 Unsuitable selection of influencers
The most common mistakes already occur during the selection of the influencer. Each influencer has their own methods, specific content and target audience. It is therefore important to consider how well the brand ambassadors fit the product and your own brand and how well they can convey the desired messages. For example, you should check beforehand
- what the creator stands for,
- what formats they use and
- whether the community includes your own target group at all.
Added to this is the way in which content is presented: ideally, for example, a product fits harmoniously into the content world of the influencer and can benefit from their high level of authenticity. In the worst case, the brand ambassador does not fit in with the product and does not present the content coherently – then social media users may be able to enjoy one of the notorious fails, for example on the German facebook page “Perlen des Influencer-Marketings”, but the actual marketing objectives are thwarted.
#4 Incorrect or lack of briefing
Flat and poorly made content that is not relevant to the target group is often the result of a lack of or incorrectly set up briefings. Companies often have to struggle with the fact that their product has been wrongly presented or described. A central component of influencer marketing is therefore close communication between partners. At the same time …
- mutual expectations should be stated clearly and openly.
- guidelines should be given.
- the content to be delivered should be closely coordinated.
Equally, it is important to ensure that the creative freedom of the influencer, in other words the way in which they present a topic to their community, is not restricted.
#5 Preventing creative freedom
The success and therefore the question of how much the costs of influencer marketing pay off depends to a large extent on the correct “translation” of the content. Well-designed briefings provide influencers with suitable starting points for drawing the brand, product or service into their world in a creative and authentic way.
But if the specifications are too strict or too detailed, the pieces will quickly appear contrived or too much like advertisements. As a rule, influencers are the best judges of what will appeal to their followers and how to package a product or message in the correct style.
#6 Campaigns not extended intelligently
Even if everything fits within the influencer marketing campaign, the work is far from over. The brand ambassador and their respective platform are usually at the beginning of the whole user journey. If unwanted interruptions occur for users at other contact points, for example on a product site, because they expected something different, many users will bail out.
These scenarios can be avoided by an intelligent, holistic extension of the campaigns. Marketers should pay particular attention to ensuring the smoothest possible transitions in the user journey, in which the individual stations or stages build on each other in terms of both content and style.
#7 Poor tracking
In order to analyze what the collaboration has actually achieved, detailed influencer marketing tracking is essential. Especially when it comes to hard figures, inaccurate work leads to distorted results and a lack of new knowledge gained. Particular care is required when several campaigns run at the same time. Different influencers should therefore be given individual tracking links so the traffic can be followed accurately.