10 Biggest Influencer Marketing Mistakes Made in 2019

10 influencer marketing mistakes to avoid so your business can earn a better return on investment. Make sure you get this newer marketing strategy right. Read More...
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Influencer Marketing - a sub-segment of marketing, branding and social media - is becoming extremely popular. Being a relatively new marketing strategy, the tactics and rules are so raw and unfamiliar that many brand executives are losing face and money investing in it. And yet, I consider these business executives to be heroes. They don’t give up, and they’re investing in dozens of small businesses, which is what Influencers really are.

And so - for those heroes, who are willing to try (and sometimes fail) until they get it right, I'll look at the 10 influencer marketing mistakes to avoid so your business can earn a better return on investment.

Influencer Marketing Mistake #1: Performing influencer "outreach" instead of just hiring them to a contract

The whole notion of “outreach” to Influencers is based on a myth. There is no outreach, there is “hiring.” If you want to work with Influencers who are professionals and will take your brand seriously, treat them like the professionals they are.

Influencers are students, small businesses, stay-at-home parents and entrepreneurs. They have bills to pay just like the rest of us. The time they put into building a community, engaging their followers, and creating posts for you is how they pay those bills. And so, just like you hire a graphic designer or a software developer, hire your influencers. To do that, just reach out, speak simply, and get to the point. Focus on the basics of what you want to know:

A. Will they promote your product?

B. How much will they charge?

Here’s a suggested DM to hire an influencer:

How you should contact an influencer with a business proposal.

Influencer Marketing Mistake #2: Treating influencer marketing as sales, instead of marketing

If you expect an influencer’s post to convert to sales instantly, you’re on the wrong track. There is the word “marketing” in “Influencer Marketing” for a reason!

Influencers can help with your marketing, and working with them should be a part of your marketing strategy. Of course, every department in your organization is sales-oriented, but for marketing to work you need a long-term strategy. To achieve sales (and revenue), one of your marketing department’s objectives is to achieve social media engagement with potential customers. Once you’ve done that for long enough that you’ve built trust with your followers, they’re more likely to participate in the storytelling of your brand: they can make your stories go viral, defend you on forums as evangelists, and yes, even buy from you (sales).

Influencer Marketing Mistake #3: Only using the influencer’s creatives in your marketing content once, and not finding a way to re-use or repurpose it

You see, if you find the right influencer, one thing you’ll gain from working with them will be very interesting, original, and super engaging content from a unique point of view.

When you work with an influencer, it's important to include a clause in your contract that gives you permission to re-use, re-purpose, and re-boost the content created anytime, anywhere. This can be effective in your blog posts, advertising, and even on your own website. But remember, you need to include a clause in your contract with the influencer that you are the owner of the content that they create for you. Otherwise, legally, you can’t use it without their permission.

Most influencers are fine with giving you the rights to use the creative, just make sure you spell that out in your arrangement!

Example of a use of content clause in an influencer marketing contract.

Influencer Marketing Mistake #4: Hiring the influencer for a single post

If an influencer posts about your brand on one day out of an entire year, it will feel like an ad and won’t have a lot of credibility. Their recommendations won’t come across as authentic which defeats the purpose of hiring them for influencer marketing.


Influencer Marketing Mistake #5: Hiring a general non-niche influencer

It’s been proven that influencers who build their communities/followers around a specific niche have better engagement than those who post for a more general audience. Influencers who have a specific topic, industry, or focus are considered niche influencers. They’re the ones your business should concentrate on working with.

Influencer Marketing Mistake #6: Thinking that quantity of followers is all that matters…

You probably understand this by now, but just in case: being a celebrity with tons of followers doesn't necessarily correspond with influence. Instead, what matters is the power influencers have to introduce something new to their communities and to engage them around that new thing. Look way, way beyond the follower count!

Influencer Marketing Mistake #7: Closing a deal with the influencer too fast

Even if an influencer impresses you, wait. Hold your horses and perform your due diligence. Follow that influencer for a while (minimum two weeks). See that you like the writing, the visuals, and see how invested their followers are in commenting on their posts. There are a lot of influencers that produce a lot of content, but have a large number of bots for followers. A large, but fake audience , isn't going to help your business.

Once you feel like their tone and style matches your business in an appropriate and mutually beneficial way, negotiate a good contract to make sure the expectations and responsibilities are very clear (exact day and time of the posts, number of posts, social media channels, the right to use the content, etc.)

Influencer Marketing Mistake #8: Waiting too long to start your influencer marketing campaign

Example of problematic packaging shared by influencer.

The smartest brands start working with influencers early, even before they have a product.  Use the influencer's engagement as a way to do market research and prepare the market. For example, DearMishu found issues with the packaging of a product a business was promoting, which saved a lot of money for the firm:

Influencer Marketing Mistake #9: Not allowing the influencer freedom to create

Influencers know exactly what content their followers are crazy about. Encouraging them to create that type of content, will bring great results for you. Otherwise, if you push them to create content that is too similar to what you already produce in house, you’ll end up with just another ad...

Influencer Marketing Mistake #10: Focusing too much on finding “authentic” influencers

Authenticity is great, but it has nothing to do with influence. What matters is that an influencer’s followers listen to them, and can become invested in what you do.

Follow these ten tips, and you’ll be on your way to achieving breakthrough performance with your social media marketing strategy. Good luck, heroes!

About the Author


N.G. is a lecturer on influence on social media. A marketer's marketer, ex-tennis pro, and Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur, N.G. has over 15 years of B2B and B2C marketing experience. N.G. writes about influencer marketing strategy as DearMishuDad based on his experience as a brand owner and creator of the influential @DearMishu influencer account (an Advice Column written by his dog).