Influencer marketing is a great way to get the right demographic talking about your brand’s product or services. Influencers will not only amplify your brand’s message, but they’ll also affect consumer purchasing decisions.

More and more marketing and PR pros are understanding these benefits and, as a result, are jumping in to activate influencer marketing campaigns of their own. But many aren’t first taking time to consider what components are crucial for success.

Below are 4 common influencer marketing mistakes and how to avoid making them.

Mistake #1: Lack of Relevancy

When done correctly, working with influencers will introduce your brand and product or service to their targeted audience that is receptive to your brand. But often times when brands are looking to active an influencer campaign, they’ll commonly look at influencers within a given vertical and assume they’re all relevant.

The danger here is of irrelevancy, as there are niches within verticals. For instance, home decorating is a popular vertical for an influencer group, but within that vertical are many separate niches, like DIY, luxury, or even eco-friendly decorating.

Influencers won’t be part of your campaign or brand lift initiative unless your brand perfectly aligns with both their overarching vertical as well as their personal niche. So, take one step further when looking to identify appropriate influencers and choose not only the right vertical, but also the corresponding niche.

TIP: Avoid a lack of relevancy by checking each influencer’s social channels, blog or video platforms to make sure the content aligns with your brand. Or, you can simplify the legwork by using GroupHigh that filters by relevancy for you.

Mistake #2: Using Vanity Metrics

While there isn’t a definitive rule of thumb on what level of influence is best, it’s often assumed that the higher the UMV and social follower counts, the more valuable that audience becomes to a brand. The idea being the more people who are following the influencers, the more engagement and activations the brand can expect.

The danger here is in equating the number of followers an influencer has to the quality of audience engagement. But vanity metrics like follower counts speak more to the number of people who could see your message then to actually how many people will engage with your message. The latter is not necessarily based on follower counts, as micro-influencers with fewer followers can be more valuable to brands than with celebrity influencers with larger reach.

With influencer marketing, what you’re really going after is audience engagement—whether that’s in sharing your message, visiting your website or even making a purchase. So, in order to truly gauge the authenticity and loyalty of an influencer’s audience, you need to see past just how many people are following, and identify if and how those people are responding.

TIP: Avoid solely using vanity metrics by incorporating stats on each influencer’s engagement rate. You do this by calculating the total engagement (i.e. comments, likes, shares, etc.) divided by the total number of posts within a particular time frame.

Mistake #3: Lack of Personalization

Once brands are confident in their set of influencer targets—ones in which align with not only their brand, but also with their ideal set of engagement metrics—it’s common to rush through the initial pitch and follow-up communication. After all, if it’s believed to be a perfect fit for the brand, the pitch is often overlooked as having any real effect in response rates.

The danger here is a lack of personalization is detrimental to response rates, and also goes much further than simply addressing the influencer by name. Personalization is also about making a genuine connection, one in which you don’t merely refer to a template for each response.

From the identification process, to the pitches you send, to the follow-up plan—all aspects of a blogger outreach strategy should be personalized for maximum success. With the home decorating example from above in mind, even if you narrow down a list of home decorating, eco-friendly influencers to target, you should still think of each one as an individual influencer instead of a person on a themed influencer list. Therefore, your initial pitch shouldn’t be comprised of canned “love your eco-friendly decorating posts!”, but more specific to what each influencer recently wrote about.

TIP: Avoid a lack of personalization within your pitches by addressing the influencer’s name, main platform (i.e. blog name), as well as always including a reference to a recent post that then helps you make the natural transition into your brand offer.

Mistake #4: Lack of Continued Relationship Building

Once your current campaign ends where the influencers you’ve partner with have shared your brand message, it’s common to then follow-up with a note of thanks and ultimately close out the relationship. Meanwhile, you’ll shelf them within your database as being successful and will move on until you have another campaign to offer them.

The danger here is a lack of continued relationship building lessens the likelihood that you’ll be able to tap into your network quickly for ongoing campaigns. Brands tend to not engage with influencers in their network on a regular basis and only reach out to them when there’s an active campaign.

If you’ve been following GroupHigh, you’ll know influencer marketing is less about short-term engagements where you work with influencers on a one-off project, and is more about building real relationships over time. Even if you’re not currently running an influencer marketing campaign, you should still keep in touch with those you’ve worked with as a way to solidify your relationship for future engagements.

TIP: Avoid damaging relationships by sending a casual hello or check-in note, whether by monthly emails or on social media. You should also keep the brand top-of-mind by alerting your influencers first to discount codes and free product samples.

Takeaway

In this digital age where everyone is inundated with ads, it’s harder for brands to cut through the noise and really engage with target audiences. Influencer marketing serves as an effective way for brands to do just that and is being incorporated more and more into marketing and PR approaches across the board.

But before jumping in to start a campaign of your own, consider the fundamental components of what makes an influencer marketing campaign excel. From the identification process with gauging relevancy and audience loyalty to the initial pitch and various interactions along the way—all are crucial aspects of maximizing success.

Have a tip for how to overcome these common influencer marketing mistakes? Find us on Twitter @GroupHigh.