Written by Hannah Sears

If you’ve run an influencer marketing campaign in the past and been burned by it, you’re not alone. Working with influencers is fun and exciting, but if you don’t have the right strategic foundation, a lot can go wrong. Luckily, you can learn from the common mistakes that lead to unsuccessful influencer campaigns so you won’t repeat the past.

Here are 7 reasons why your past influencer marketing campaign failed — and how you can make your next one succeed.

You worked with the wrong influencers

Effective influencer marketing campaigns depend heavily on partnering with the right influencer. If your marketing campaign failed, you may be working with the wrong influencers. Influencers can be a bad fit for a variety of reasons, but these are the most common:

  • You picked influencers in the wrong niche or vertical and your brand / product didn’t resonate with their audience.
  • You cared more about the influencer’s number of followers than their engagement so your reach was low.
  • You chose an influencer who didn’t naturally fit your brand mission or voice so their marketing felt inauthentic.

Picking the right influencers is time-consuming, but it’s a step you can’t afford to skip if you want to run effective influencer campaigns. Focus on finding influencers who are the best possible fit for your brand based on more than just their follower count. If you start out with the right influencers, your campaigns will be more successful.

Your campaign didn’t align with your internal content calendar

There are two ways to leverage influencers: new product launches and always-on campaigns. It’s important to have a strategy behind the product you decide to focus on for product launch campaigns, whether it’s through press samples or paid campaigns. There needs to be rhyme and reason behind your product selections. For example, if you’re focusing on marketing a waterproof mascara over the summer on social media, make sure to send mascara to influencers at the beginning of summer so that the user-generated content (UGC) you receive aligns with your social calendar.

Remember that setting up effective influencer campaigns takes time — especially if you need to send products to your partners. Account for that lead time when you’re planning your content calendar so you can generate the best UGC for your product launch campaigns.

You worked with too many similar influencers

It may seem like the influencer industry is inundated with creators (and there are a lot of them!), but there can still be an overlap in their followers. If a consumer really likes stylized beauty flat lays, they may follow several accounts who share similar posts. If you partner with 50 influencers who all primarily create flat lay photos, there’s a big chance they share a lot of the same followers.

By working with influencers who have the same followers, you’ll end up in an echo chamber with all of your influencers talking to the same audience, instead of reaching new audiences. If you’re aiming for higher unique reach and conversions with your campaigns, find influencers who are in your vertical and are sharing unique types of content.

Your campaign lacked diversity

The lack of diversity in many industries — especially fashion, beauty, and travel — has been apparent for many years. In recent weeks, influencers have declined brand partnerships if they don’t have a diverse roster of influencers. Many are asking if the other influencers in the campaign are diverse and represent people with a variety of sexual orientations, ethnicities, skin colors, genders, body types, etc. 

Influencers are using their power and their platforms to drive inclusivity forward in influencer marketing, and brands should take notice. Your audience is diverse, and your influencer campaigns should reflect that. Not only do more inclusive campaigns help you reach your goals, they help support lasting change for underrepresented groups. 

You focused on too many metrics

Not all KPIs work together, so it’s important to focus on the right metrics for your influencer marketing campaigns. If you want to drive higher interactions, then EMV is a great supplementary indicator since your EMV is determined by your number of interactions. But, if you’re focusing on engagement rate and reach, this may be harder to achieve since it’s typically true that a higher number of followers means a lower engagement rate.

Figure out what your most important goals are for your influencer campaign (and make sure they’re realistic) and use that to determine which metrics you track. Focus on metrics that naturally align instead of picking metrics that might conflict with each other.

You didn’t focus on any metrics

Focusing on too many metrics can wreck your campaign performance results, and so can failing to focus on any metrics. If you don’t have any metrics in mind, you can’t expect to effectively measure the success of your campaign. Picking the right metrics isn’t easy and it will probably differ from campaign to campaign.

Determine your campaign goals first — do you want to increase reach, drive sales, or create UGC? Once you know what your goal is, pick the KPI(s) that will show whether you’re moving the needle.

You asked for too much

Many brands partner with influencers in exchange for free products. There’s nothing wrong with these relationships as long as it’s clear from the start and the influencer agrees. But, if there’s no compensation and you ask an influencer to partner on a full campaign with specific deliverables, you’re going to have a problem. Handing over a full campaign brief in exchange for a gift isn’t an equal partnership. 

Be realistic about what you expect from your influencers in terms of timelines and deliverables. If you want full scale campaigns with a lot of specific deliverables, consider compensating your influencers in addition to gifting products. 

Influencer marketing campaigns can make a huge positive impact for your brand, from driving conversions to boosting awareness. But, if you don’t choose the right influencers or choose too many similar influencers, you won’t reach the right audiences. If your campaigns aren’t aligned with your content calendars or you aren’t tracking the right metrics, they’re bound to fail. With some strategic planning and a clear idea of your campaign goals, you can make sure your next influencer marketing campaign is successful.

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