Influencer Marketing Gone Wrong: 8 Expert Opinions

Amy Brueckman    By under Influencer Marketing.

Last year, the average person spent nearly 2 hours on social media per day. While the main goal might be to check in with friends or follow the news of the day, we're also being bombarded with advertisements from people we follow. Platforms like Twitter and Instagram have become saturated with paid promotions.

Influencer marketing sounds as simple as picking a well established personality with a ton of followers and paying them praise your brand. But it's a lot more complicated that than.

For example, controversial YouTuber Logan Paul has tons of followers, but is he someone you want to have affiliated your company? You might want to dig a little deeper and think again.

This month, we asked marketing experts:

What are some of the biggest mistakes businesses can make when using influencer marketing?


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One of the biggest mistakes made in influencer marketing campaigns is not asking potential influencers for their audience demographics. An influencer might have 500k followers, but if only 30% of them are in the US, and especially if your product isn't available globally, you won't get a lot of bang for your buck. You should also beware of bots, and go the extra mile to vet your prospects!

Jessica Dais, TakeLessons Live


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Influencer marketing should never be a one-time deal. Investing your time and energy into a potential influencer will show through to the influencer. Simply offering your product to an influencer is just taking a shot in the dark. A company's influencer marketing strategy should be clear and concise.

Prospecting is vital to influencer marketing and prospect lists should constantly be updated. Social media/Online influencers are being contacted non-stop asking to promote a brand/product. Separating yourself from the pack is tough. Don't waste your time on high level influencers (check number of followers). Prospect smarter not harder. Just because a person is an influencer, doesn't mean you should be contacting them. Prospect to your specific product rather than the top influencers.

An influencer that is prominent in a specific area is valuable! Influencers are important in today's marketing landscape and is a marketing strategy companies should all be implementing!

Tracy Julien, GuidedChoice


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In my opinion, the biggest mistake that you can make in influencer marketing is to choose a person that seems to be a good fit for your campaign but is not related - in any way - to your market. It might seem like an odd thing to do but it happens quite often. Companies tend to choose big personas who literally no close to nothing about what they are actually marketing. It ends in awkward interviews, off-topic statements, and wrong posts. It is much better to go for less volume but more accuracy.

Although using an offtopic influencer might work to bring new customers which are not related to what you do but are interested in that particular influencer. Yet, the conversion rate of such a process will be very low and you'll disgruntle your current audience.

Jakub Kliszczak, CrazyCall


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One of the biggest mistakes that marketers make when trying their hand at influencer marketing is choosing an influencer who is already plugging too many products. If a popular YouTuber or social media influencer is advertising a different product that they allegedly can't live without each week, their followers will eventually catch on and be less inclined to make a purchase.

One of the best things a company can do when experimenting with influencer marketing is finding an influencer who has already mentioned love for their product or interest in their space but who isn't already hawking a dozen products.

Nicolas Straut, Fundera


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Inadequate Analytics. If your goal is anything beyond exposure, you need some sort of tracking, e.g. Google Analytics and giving the influencer a URL with UTM parameters in it. Otherwise, you may have trouble proving the influencer campaigns did anything for the bottom line, and you won't know which influencers were most valuable for your revenue or profits.

Obviously, if you're only doing one marketing tactic at a time, you may not need to do this, but that's not the case for most businesses. Do you have the kind of tracking you need to see the impact of influencer marketing on your bottom line and make the best choices to increase that impact?

Brian Carter, Brian Carter Group


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Not taking care of your influencers! Don't start your pitch to influencers by making them buy your product. That's just crass. Offer it up for free, and offer up a discount code they can give to their followers (10% off is a good starting number).

If you can, make them affiliates so that they can earn commission for every sale. Respond to influencer feedback as quickly as possible. Give them opportunities for visibility: guest blog posts, reposting their Instagram content, etc.

Christine Parizo, Christine Parizo Communications

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Paying for fake bots.

Padding your numbers with spam accounts -- and paying $10/month in services like MySocialFollowing to do so -- doesn't cultivate a reputation as an influencer. It's tempting early on to pay into these services and assume raw numbers matter. But there obvious issues with that.

First, you're violating the platform's terms of service (where users won't "participate in 'like,' ' share,' 'comment' or 'follower' exchange programs"). Second, businesses who could potentially partner with you want to see results. You can't give them a reasonable ROI if their sponsored content is going out to an audience of bots. Lastly, spam accounts won't accomplish your goal -- getting people interested in your content to drive them to action and conversions.

If you want to expand your audience, look to make genuine connections with real human beings, ideally other humans interested in the same goals and values you promote in your content.

Shelby Rogers, DigitalUs


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Oftentimes, marketers aren't willing to let go of their brand when they start working with influencers. They don't realize that fans follow influencers for their personality, not your brand's. Web users are growing increasingly sensitive to ads, and can immediately identify when they're not seeing sincere content. A poorly-written influencer post is dangerous to the influencer's livelihood as well as the brand's reputation.

Rather than plying influencers with the exact content you want and expecting them to copy-and-paste what your branding team created, we encourage companies to send out a list of talking points and useful information and then ask the influencers to create their own content. The influencer posts are more organic and feel more real than if the advertiser wrote something for them. They also tend to generate better results.

Craig Smith, Trinity Insights