The 3 Biggest Mistakes Brands Make When Building Influencer Programs

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Business Marketing
Influencer marketing is the hot topic in marketing right now. Over 70% of all marketers rolled out influencer campaigns in 2016, according to (ADWEEK?), and it will only continue to grow in 2017. So what are the biggest mistakes brands make when launching influencer campaigns?

Influencer marketing is the hot topic in marketing right now. Over 70% of all marketers rolled out influencer campaigns in 2016, according to (ADWEEK?), and it will only continue to grow in 2017. So what are the biggest mistakes brands make when launching influencer campaigns?

I’ve identified three main mistakes here (although I could point to dozens more). As the CEO and Founder of BuzzMG, an agency that’s been focused on millennials and influencers for over 20 years, I’ve built over 100 campaigns and worked with thousands of influencers. I believe in the power of the consumer voice to elevate products and services, and when executed correctly, influencer campaigns are important tools that allow emerging brands to play in the big leagues, and powerhouse brands to reconnect with their customers.

Here are the key mistakes you don’t want to make in 2017 and beyond.

  1. Not clearly identifying your brand ethos and brand values. There are influencers for every type of brand, but sometimes brands feel the need to build their campaigns around a well-known blogger or influencer. This is the biggest mistake you can make. Brands like lululemon have nailed their influencer strategy, partnering with well-known yogis and spiritual gurus like Gabrielle Bernstein. Their influencers always channel the spirit of lululemon, not the other way around.
  2. Thinking all influencers are good influencers. Just because an influencer has millions of followers doesn’t mean they’re a good partner for you. The best influencers have a solid following with tons of engagement and a passionate community built around their core values (yes, again, influencers are brands too, and their personal values matter). Before you hire an influencer, check out their last 10 posts and see how engaged their communities were with those posts. Would you want that kind of engagement for your post with this influencer? If it’s not a YES, move on.
  3. Not defining the end goal from the beginning. This is, by far, my biggest red flag that a campaign is doomed for failure. In this day and age, you are not just “testing” influencer. No one has budget to throw against the wall with prayers for success. At BuzzMG we build our campaigns around the goals of our client. Are you trying to increase sales of a product? Change your brand image or share of voice? Launch in a new market? Better target moms 35-55? You have to clearly define your goals. As I just said, all influencers are not created equal, and you need to engage with them based on their areas of strength. Think of a category like “mom bloggers,” for instance. Are you looking to engage with moms of toddlers? Teenagers? Empty-nesters? This may seem tedious at first, but identifying your goal and then matching influencers to a very specific goal will already put you on the path to success. And it should go without saying that before you begin the campaign, you need to identify third party tools like Keyhole that will handle measurement for the program. Do not allow the influencer agency to completely control what success looks like.

 

The next few weeks present the perfect opportunity to get to know a diverse group of influencers. Consider all of the things you are passionate about, and follow one or two influencers in that space. Explore creative tools and innovation in the influencer space. It’s definitely an exciting time to create influencer campaigns that connect with your customers.

Tina Wells is the CEO and founder of Buzz Marketing Group, an agency that serves clients like Dell, Microsoft, OWN, American Eagle Outfitters, and Levo. She authored the youth marketing handbook Chasing Youth Culture And Getting It Right and the best-selling tween series Mackenzie Blue. Follow her on Twitter @tinacwells or visit her website at buzzmg.com.