5 Common Influencer Marketing Mistakes To Avoid

Don’t be like this guy.

As you know, influencer marketing is on the up tick.

Companies of all shapes and sizes are looking to get into it, and if they are already doing it, they’re looking to ramp up their budgets to do more.

This is great news, but in all the excitement its easy to rush in and make some fundamental mistakes along the way.

I’d like to help you be mindful of these mistakes so you can avoid them.

Let’s get to it…

Influencers Are Not A Panacea For Lousy Marketing

If you are having trouble marketing your product/service or content and your ideal consumers aren’t interested in buying it, take a step back and evaluate why.

Examine what your customers are saying about it. Ask them why they aren’t buying it?

Is the price point too high? Perhaps it’s not as interesting as you think it is? Maybe it doesn’t solve a real problem?

Whatever you do, don’t think influencers will fix the problem.

Here’s an example:

Recently, I helped a marketer located in South East Asia.

She was running a campaign on Instagram for a local client but the trouble was her influencers weren’t having a positive impact on sales of the product.

She asked me for advice because her client was getting frustrated.

I told her to query her influencers about why they thought the product wasn’t selling despite their best efforts.

What did she find out?

They almost uniformly conveyed to her that the product was lackluster and their audiences didn’t like it.

When she told me that, she also mentioned that her client admitted the product wasn’t selling well through traditional marketing channels either.

Ah, so the problem wasn’t with the influencers.

Have a good product, service or story to share and the influencers will be able to do more for you.

You’ve got to have a clear objective.

Not Having A Clear Objective

This happens more often than you might think.

Some marketers are so eager to get involved they forget to decide upon a clear objective before starting out.

They simply want to recruit some influencers, get some products into their hands and fly by the seat of their pants.

Don’t be like them.

The influencers will likely be confused and not know how to market or position you correctly.

So, know what you want to achieve before you get started.

Think about it:

If no one knows who you are or what your company does, perhaps you need to build some awareness first?

That will determine what kind of strategy you take with your influencers.

Maybe your company is already well known and you want to leverage influencers to help market content to boost your company’s “thought leadership” in your niche.

If so, build that into your objective and you’ll be better able to design a good strategy.

Is it to get more leads and drive consideration for your product?

Is it to drive sales?

If so, set some clear benchmarks to measure what success looks like.

Whatever you do, don’t have a vague idea of what you want to achieve and leave it to the influencers to figure out. They’ll be confused and your results will not be what you expect (or want).

It’s also poor planning and bad marketing.

Don’t be dazzled by big audience numbers.

Choosing Influencers Simply Because They Have “Big” Audience Numbers

This problem is common and one of the reasons why many marketers see lackluster results.

Big audience numbers are like the dazzling lights of the Las Vegas strip to a first time visitor.

It all looks shiny and wonderful at first.

It generally goes something like this:

“We’ll get some influencers who have really BIG reach numbers and pay them to promote our product. The millennials will love it.”

And when marketers make this mistake, they often choose the wrong ones and over pay them.

One executive admitted he was guilty of this and came clean.

The point is, they throw good money away, blow their budgets and wonder why their results weren’t better.

Don’t do that.

Instead, here’s what you need to keep in mind:

“Reach” is the term used to describe large aggregate audience numbers.

That’s it.

It doesn’t mean that much. There’s nothing magical about it.

Many influencers do have large reach numbers but that doesn’t mean they have much of an impact on their audiences.

In fact, studies are finding that influencers with smaller, more targeted audiences (aka micro influencers) are more effective at driving sales.

So, instead of concentrating on reach, look for influencers who are congruent with your brand/company/product/service.

Why is congruency so important?

Here’s why:

A men’s lifestyle influencer told me he was contacted about reviewing a special bra for breastfeeding moms. This is for a site filled with cars, gadgets, video games, tools, knives, and generally manly stuff!

“Spray and pray” campaigns like this are a surefire way to annoy influencers.

To help you with congruency, focus on these things:

  1. Relevance. Is the influencer relevant to your ideal consumer? It doesn’t matter if you are a consumer company or a business-to-business (B2B). Does your ideal consumer follow the influencer? Do they trust him/her? Once you introduce yourself to the influencer, ask them who comprises their audience. You might be surprised.
  2. Resonance. Does their content prompt the audience to like, share, comment and more? Does the audience respond to it? What kind of an impact does it have? Would that engagement help you?

Therefore work with influencers who are directly relevant to your target consumer and who are engaging them.

You’ll get better results.

Compensate your influencers fairly.

Don’t Low Ball Your Influencers

There’s nothing worse than a cheap-skate marketer.

You know what I’m talking about:

The marketer who expects influencers to develop content for a cheap product for next to nothing.

Believe me, it takes time to craft blog posts and to shoot and edit video.

It takes time to photograph a product to ensure it looks attractive.

So don’t ask influencers to create content about your inexpensive product and not compensate them for their time and effort.

Oh, and letting them have your cheap product in exchange for their time and effort doesn’t cut it either.

Contact the influencer and work out a mutually beneficial compensation.

You’ll find you get a more responsive and interested influencer.

I’ll bet your results are better too.

Good communication is key.

There’s No Excuse For Poor Communication

When you communicate write in clear, concise language (no jargon) and be sure to:

  • Tell them who you are and why you are reaching out.
  • Be up front about what you are proposing and how it would benefit both of you.
  • Demonstrate you are familiar with their content by referring to some of it in your communication.

What not to do:

  • Don’t simply throw a couple of lines of text at them and expect them to want to work with you.
  • Don’t annoy them with pitches that are out of sync with them and their content (the breast feeding bra mentioned above).

And the best vehicle to use for outreach?

Email remains the best, most professional way to contact influencers.


I’m not a fan of email templates because I like to craft each one individually.

But, I understand many people like to use templates.

If you are one of these people, you can get a few here.

These appear more thoughtfully put together and genuine than the commonplace, easy to spot variety of templates used by many.

Wrapping Up

Much of life is learning and knowing what not to do.

This is also true of influencer marketing.

Once you know that, it’s much easier to concentrate on doing the correct things that will make a positive impact on your marketing and business.

Let’s summarize:

  • You now understand that influencers are not a cure-all for a piece of crap product or service. They also can’t make up for lousy content — so don’t ask them to.
  • Have a clear objective before you begin recruiting influencers. You’ll have a much easier time measuring your successes. As to any failures you encounter, you’ll be more prepared to make intelligent assessments and corrections for future campaigns.
  • Don’t choose influencers just because of “big” audience numbers. Look for influencers who are congruent with your brand, company and product. Be sure to weigh relevance and resonance more heavily than reach.
  • Don’t low-ball your influencers and expect them to work on the cheap.
  • Practice good communication.

If you want more actionable advice and tips for working with online influencers, be sure to claim your free blueprint on my site: 13 Laws To Slingshot Your Marketing Using Influencers.

No clickbait. No B.S.