Influencer marketing has exploded in popularity over the years, and it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down anytime soon based on the results influencer marketing is able to generate.
But the truth is that influencer marketing is not for everyone, and it won’t generate any results unless you are well-educated within the space. In order to generate great results, you must be aware of the do’s and don’ts, what you need to do to boost your results, what influencers to partner with, rules for influencer marketing and much more.
Before you start pouring money into influencer marketing, learn these five things, because they may just save you from influencer marketing disaster, or at least keep you from wasting money.
1. Follower count doesn’t matter
If there’s one myth about influencer marketing, it’s this.
Yes, of course, follower count still plays a role, but unless you look at other metrics about the influencer as well, follower count means nothing. Anyone can buy 1K, 50K or even 100K followers, and today, it’s easier than ever. An influencer with an uninterested and unengaged audience – whether bought or organically grown, is bad for your brand. Because it will generate lousy results when you start a campaign. Follower count shouldn’t be used as something else than an indication that might indicate a popular individual. Other metrics should back that up to make sure the follower count is actually “real” and relevant.
Follower count does not necessarily equal popularity. In fact, that is why micro-influencers have arisen over the last couple of years.
Micro-influencers are influencers with a smaller following than “normal” influencers, but as engagement rate tends to drop as follower count increases, micro-influencers have the tendency to generate the same results as a regular influencer with a much larger following – at a fraction of the cost.
There are several reasons to why follower count matters and the second is that the audience needs to be targeted as well. If you aren’t reaching the right people, you can invest how much you want in influencer marketing, but you aren’t going to gain any results from it.
Successful influencer marketing is all about relevancy and finding the influencers who impact your target audience. In other words, your goal is to partner with influencers who your audience looks up to because that’s when you’ll generate the best results.
2. You need to give the influencer free hands
You might hate to hear it but the influencer knows best.
At least when it comes to knowing their audience.
They have worked with building their community for years and knows the inside and outside of what their audience likes, and what they dislike.
A mistake that many brands make is trying to decide everything about the influencer partnership, leaving no creative freedom for the influencer. The key to running a great influencer campaign is making it trustworthy, but if a brand has written the text and created the content that the influencer should post, people will instantly see that something is up, because the influencer’s personality isn’t reflected in the endorsement post.
The most famous example is Scott Disick’s embarrassing fail where he copied and pasted the caption for a marketing post on Instagram. Only that things didn’t go as planned, seriously harming the authenticity of the post.
3. Long-term is more beneficial than short-term
If you’re looking to drive instant sales and want to get marketing results here and now with influencer marketing, you will be greatly disappointed.
Of course, one-time mentions by large influencers can gain you tremendous results, but it’s going to cost you. If you want to have results right on the spot, we’re talking six-figure for posts. And this is money that most brands don’t have.
Of course, getting “instant” results from regular influencers, and even micro-influencers is not impossible, but a long-term partnership will be far more beneficial than a short-term partnership.
What’s more, if you are thinking long-term and setting up the correct strategies for your campaigns, you can even generate the same, or better results by partnering with regular influencers as opposed to celebrity influencers – for a fraction of the cost.
When you do an influencer campaign, only a fraction of their followers will convert right on the spot. In order to get the most marketing juice out of your influencer budget, you need to build trust. When someone sees an influencer post one time about a brand, the majority don’t bother to look at what it is. But when an influencer shares multiple posts about a brand, spread over a period of time, people will get curious, and it might entice them to see why the influencer is talking so much about it.
The more impact the influencer has, and the more people look up to them, the greater are the chances that the followers will look up the brand because if their idol uses it, they “must” use it as well.
4. Don’t satisfy with one influencer
One influence can only reach so many.
Eventually, you’ll reach the same people over and over.
And sure, that’s important too, because some of those might have already bought from you, which means that the continued partnership will help for customer retention.
In fact, when you’ve converted people who follow an influencer, continued posts is a way to increase customer retention and make sure that you are always on top of people’s mind.
Customer retention is important, but you should at the same time always strive to acquire new customers. Therefore, you should also strive to partner with more and new influencers.
All influencers have different audiences and followers, but if you can find similar influencers within the same niche, and follow all the steps to identifying a good influencer, then you are able to reach a completely new audience that is your target audience as well.
If you do too many marketing posts with an influencer, posts that really scream marketing post, you will have a hard time trying to convince people to buy from you. People just won’t trust the campaign. It doesn’t matter how many posts you share, if the campaign isn’t set up in the right way, it still won’t produce any results. And if this happens, it is time to move on to a new influencer and fine-tune your strategy.
Preferably, you shouldn’t change influencers over and over. Many brands do this, and it is keeping them from reaching their true potential. The only reason why you should change influencer is if they’re generating lousy results, but it’s self-explanatory. You don’t want to be pouring money into it if you are seeing that the campaigns aren’t performing well.
Just look at how many athletes Myprotein has (and these are only a few of them):
5. Without authenticity, you won’t have any success
Authenticity should be the guiding star of influencer marketing. Yet still, I often come across influencer campaigns that are inauthentic from miles away – and it is keeping the campaign from success.
If nobody trusts the endorsement, it will have little effect. A big reason why an influencer post becomes inauthentic is either because the brand is trying to decide too much, or that the influencer promotes too much.
People aren’t stupid, and when the influencer (or you) is trying to hard sell something, people will quickly run the other way. There’s a huge difference between “I have been using these ___ sneakers for the last couple of days and I don’t want to take them off, they are so comfy! Love them!” and “Absolutely love my ___ shoes!! So amazing. Buy them now!!”.
The good news is that influencers normally have built a lot of trust between themselves and their followers, and this is a good thing. Most influencers don’t want to put their relationship they’ve built with their followers in jeopardy, and they certainly don’t want to get labeled as a “sell out”, and therefore, they say no to partnerships they don’t feel are suitable for them.
So if you get a “no” from an influencer when you ask if they would like to partnership, don’t get disappointed. It probably wouldn’t have been a campaign with authenticity and that would have driven results either way.
These 5 things are what we consider the most crucial points to be aware of before beginning your influencer marketing adventure. Influencer marketing has proven to be an extremely effective and powerful marketing method for increasing exposure, increasing trust, and ultimately driving sales, but just like anything, it is only effective when you know how to leverage it properly.