5 Key Mistakes to Avoid When Working with Influencers

— December 16, 2016

Influencer marketing—the use of internet personalities to drive brand awareness—is an effective and often necessary advertising strategy for small businesses that want to grow their audiences. The right endorsement can boost conversions tenfold. The rise of professional bloggers and social-media stars gives companies an opportunity to speak to specific audiences like never before.

However, influencer marketing can be difficult to navigate at first—it’s relatively new and uncharted territory. Avoid making these five common mistakes when working with social media influencers and you’ll be able to stay on track with your brand management.

  1. Targeting the Wrong Influencers

If your company Instagram account has forty-five followers and a small budget, it’s unlikely that bloggers with large followings will be interested in working with you unless you have a product that really impresses them. And that’s okay. Be realistic when searching for appropriate influencers to market your company, and look for people with a good amount of engagement relative to the size of their following.

Remember: an influencer’s relevance to your brand is often more important than the size of their audience. Don’t be wooed by numbers if their content is too different from your company’s message.

  1. Forgetting About a Contract


Though relationships with influencers may seem more casual than standard business relationships, that doesn’t mean you should neglect writing up a contract. If you want to engage in a professional partnership, you’ll need to do more than mail out a few free products.

The best route is to put the terms of your relationship with the influencer in writing. A solid contract will make note of any required disclaimers and clarify when the influencer should post. A mutual contract will help ensure both parties get what they need from the relationship.

  1. Ignoring Results

As with any marketing strategy, influencer marketing should involve quantitative measurements of success. Some campaigns—such as those involving affiliate links and discount codes—will be easy to measure; others may require more work to track results, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth the effort. Identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) you care about, stay aware of how various influencer marketing campaigns are going, and consider creating things like surveys as additional barometers of success.

  1. Expecting Too Much

Influencer marketing is effective, but it shouldn’t be your sole strategy. Don’t expect one influencer to triple your bottom line. Instead, build a network of influencers to really make a difference in your sales over the long term, ensuring that each relationship helps grow your brand and image.


Be realistic about the nature of influencer posts, as well. Influencers still have to manage their own brands, too—remember that when you feel like a mention of your product isn’t as grandiose as you’d like. If an influencer posts a blog or status that sounds like infomercial for your business, you both risk losing out on consumer buy-in, so you’ll want to avoid the salesy tone that is common in traditional advertising.

  1. Neglecting Legalities

Influencers are required by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to disclose when they’re being sponsored by a company to promote a product. This can be simple—a one-sentence disclosure of sponsorship, for instance—but it should never be left out.

Ask influencers you’re working with to run content by you before posting it so you can check that it’s up to scratch and includes any necessary information. This is especially important on platforms like Snapchat, where FTC rules are often followed loosely, if at all. Professional influencers should already know and do this, but it never hurts to be sure.

Influencer marketing is the future—it’s a way for brands to connect with consumers authentically on platforms they’re actually using. It can seem daunting, but start small if that’s all you feel capable of. Just make sure you communicate well with anyone you’re working with, and you can reap the benefits of influencer marketing without too many issues. Good luck!

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Author: Alice Williams

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