More companies are working with influencers now more than ever. Influencers are social media moguls. They rule social media empires, and that means they are a huge part of the online culture of this generation. Marketers have said mostly good things about influencers, that they help promote your brand cost-effectively. However, not all influencer marketing stories are success stories. What do you do when your influencer marketing strategy goes south?
Check your expectations.
If influencer marketing were too easy, every brand that has implemented it would have been successful by now. That, however, is sweet fiction. The reality is not as easy as doing influencer outreach and then working with your influencers. Instagram and Facebook marketers know the steep challenge. It doesn’t always end in huge sales.
Know that big influencers charge big.
As we speak, the challenge for brands to look for social influencers and ambassadors has even become more daunting. Esteemed Instagram and Facebook “celebrities” and influencers have learned the game and has since charged brands thousands of dollars for a single post. Yes, they are acting like your traditional advertisers or endorsers. Big brands don’t mind at all. At some point, the lines between advertising and influencer marketing is blurred. Big brands are a minority, though. Why do you think most companies now look for micro-influencers? The answer is simple: it’s not always about the huge numbers.
Know that it takes a good deal to make an influencer exclusive.
You might have been drawn to sweet platitudes about influencer marketing, that it’s about bringing brands and influencers together. That’s partly true. The half of the picture is that many influencers want to work with as many brands as they can, because the more brands they work with, the more goodies they get. That doesn’t mean you can’t keep one to work only with you. But you need to strike them with a deal they cannot refuse.
Read success stories.
You can learn from other brands. We have seen fashion designers work with vloggers to promote their events. We’ve seen a budding sports gear company utilize a network of adventure bloggers to sell their accessories. Like most business dealings, influencer marketing begins with looking for the right partners and employing your negotiating power.
Improve your product.
Influencers don’t like pushing a product onto their followers only to be bombarded by complaints a day after because of terrible quality. This hurts their reputation. So they want to know if your product is what you say it is. Brands sacrifice their products or services so their influencers can try them and write or record a review about them.
Keep in mind influencer marketing isn’t everything.
This is what we always tell clients. Any influencer marketing agency in Japan or United States will tell you the best digital marketing practice employs multiple strategies and approaches. Influencer marketing works well with other forms of digital marketing, most especially social media and content marketing. If you are doing well in those areas, working with influencers will enhance your advantage. On the other hand, influencers can help you gain readership or audience if your social network is small. In any case, marketing with influencers is necessary, but doing just influencer marketing isn’t going to cut it.
Events create noise, and noise should be good for your brand. People will start wondering what it is, and why you’re putting up such an activity. More importantly, events are your chance to invite your influencers and encourage them to announce the activity to their audience. Altogether, these create a stronger impression for your brand.
Oversee what your influencers are doing.
While you will have to let them handle the creative aspect of talking to their audience about your brand, you will have to act like the rudder, guiding the campaigns towards your vision. It’s not like you can just leave them to guess what you want and where to take your brand. The initial step to an influencer marketing strategy is planning, and planning entails you and your partners sharing mutually beneficial ideas.
Hold your influencers accountable.
This is hard for many business owners to do because they feel they are indebted to their influencers. But while working with them isn’t within the confines of traditional business partnerships, it’s not like you’re mooching and asking favors from them for free. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship, not a one-sided parasitic symbiosis. If your influencers make gaffes that hurt your brand, make them accountable and don’t let the mistakes pass without getting fixed. Of course, this doesn’t have to end in some nasty skirmish. What do you do when your friend screws up your project? You talk and you fix it. Otherwise, end the friendship and find new friends.
Find influencers who share your values.
It’s a tall challenge in influencer targeting. Finding influencers in your niche entails shortlisting and picking those who share relevant content and have good engagement. On top of that, find people who represent your values. Do not disregard the importance of finding the right influencers.
In our influencer marketing research, we found out that brands and marketers ran into problems because they failed in influencer targeting, which is like doing your homework before tackling a project. The common mistake is relying on vanity metrics, the superficial numbers of followers, likes, and shares. Without looking closer, you won’t get an accurate picture of what the follower count and those likes and shares mean.
Another mistake is ignoring the influencer’s content history. It’s easy to read old posts of anyone on social media. But some clients find it time-consuming and not worth the effort. The contrary is true. If you miss old acerbic rants, if you miss former unethical social media conduct, because you just looked at following size and engagement, you miss the red flags.
Keep reliable influencers.
One of the most unethical and disgusting influencer marketing behavior is dumping influencers after an event or campaign. This is definitely a horrible way of treating people who have helped you gain an audience and definitely a bad way of letting them go and possibly making them your critics. It’s even more disastrous for you if you associate with a famous influencer and then just drop them. Remember, these people can write bad things about you if you treat them unfairly, and bad publicity will hurt your brand or your reputation.
Even though you didn’t sign contracts and you didn’t draft a formal arrangement, dropping your reliable social media partners will not do you any good. We recommend that you keep engaging them. Keep track of their activities. Write comments. Send them a message, maybe to say hello or just engage in a conversation. It’s easier to work with them again if you keep communicating.