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Shuchi Sethi

Influencer marketing is increasingly becoming a key element of any brand’s digital marketing strategy. However, as with all new, emerging channels, businesses can find it hard to get influencer marketing right the first time. This leads to worse-than-expected results or outright failure. If you’re considering launching an influencer marketing campaign, it’s a good idea to understand how things can go wrong. In this piece, we’ll be looking at four ways that influencer campaigns fail, and how to address them. Let’s take a look.

You’re not using the right metrics to measure performance

Influencers promise outreach on social media platforms. It’s all too easy to assume, then, that the results of influencer marketing campaigns should be measured in terms of social media success. An influencer campaign that garnered 150,000 likes might look great on paper. However, this metric tells us nothing about how the campaign had an impact on sales figures and other business objectives.

You need to evaluate what metrics you use to evaluate influencer marketing success. By gearing campaigns towards generating sales or qualified leads, you’re giving influencers targets to reach that benefit your ROI in tangible ways. Moreover, you’re signalling the kind of engagements and content you want influencers to share: A selfie with your product on Instagram might garner more overall engagement than a podcast takeover. However, conversion rates from the takeover — conversions into sales and leads — might be substantially higher. Use the right metrics to measure success and make sure your influencers are working towards targets that benefit you in concrete terms.

You’re reaching the wrong influencer audiences

If an influencer campaign didn’t work out, you might feel that you didn’t work with the right influencer. We’d suggest looking at the issue from a slightly different perspective. The challenge isn’t in finding the “right” influencers: it’s finding the right influencer audiences. Every social media influencer out there caters to a slightly different audience. In terms of demographics, reach, and psychographic factors, these audiences vary immensely. When deciding on the influencers you want to work with, you need to study their audiences. Do they have audiences with people that your product speaks to? If you’re a life insurance company, you might not have great luck working with influencers with a Gen Z audience. On the flip side, a viral Instagrammer might not be the best partner when you’re looking to build qualified professional leads. Assess your product and who it’s made for. Then assess influencer audiences to make the right decision.

You’re investing in the wrong influencer platforms

This point expands on what we talked about earlier. You need to have a clear idea of where your target audience is located, in terms of social media platforms. All too often, brands and digital marketing agencies focus on the “big” platform like Instagram, when they might not be where your most engaged leads are at. Each social media platform caters to different user expectations. Understand platforms and understand the kind of content that influencers can create and share on these platforms for you. If you’re a game development studio, for example, collaborating with a medium-sized Twitch streaming could deliver far better ROI than working with a large TikTok star: the Twitch streamer’s viewers are a concentrated, engaged target audience.

You’re not integrating influencer outreach with the rest of your marketing strategy

Influencer marketing is still in its nascent stage in India. When brands work with influencers for the first time, they often don’t spend enough time on understanding how influencer campaigns integrate with the rest of their marketing pipeline. This often leads to siloed influencer campaigns that are at a distance from other marketing efforts, in terms of resource allocation, expectations, and objectives. Influencer marketing doesn’t succeed in a vacuum. The key is to seamlessly integrate your influencer efforts into your overall marketing campaign. This could include follow-ups with influencer audiences, direct engagement, target mobile ads, and so much more. The key is understanding that influencer marketing is one cog in your overall marketing strategy: it shouldn’t stand apart. It’s also important to blend your influencer marketing approach with organic content, leveraging influencers to support and enable the growth of your social media presence. Organic growth and organic content, developed and published by you will in the long-term lead to better engagement and connectivity with your target audience.