Ever since the explosion of influencer marketing, people have been placing their bets about when the social media bubble will pop. With 2017 ending and 2018 being in full swing, it’s pretty clear that it’s here to stay. Since its inception, countless tools have been created to streamline the influencer industry and how we participate in it. This includes marketplaces, apps, and a ton of technologies aimed specifically at influencers and forming partnerships.

With no shortage of knowledge and expertise when it comes to this type of marketing, it’s a constant shock when brands fail miserably when using influencers. Like, hello? It’s not hard guys. Here are our 5 common reasons why influencer marketing fails (and how to avoid it).

  1. Partnering with the wrong influencer

This one is a no-brainer. If you’re a fashion company, collaborate with an influencer who’s following knows them for their fashion sense. Simple enough, right? Unfortunately, besides partnering with influencers that are a good fit for the brand, brands are overlooking the fact that their brand may not be every influencer’s cup of tea. An influencer’s personal sentiments about the brand is so, so important. Since influencers’ success relies heavily on their honesty with their followers, if you partner with someone who isn’t the keenest on your brand, they’ll likely let their followers know at one point or another.

This type of snafu will typically happen when brands outsource their influencer marketing to external agencies who don’t quite grasp the brand or audience fully. When outside people are in charge of finding influencers, they’ll typically focus on the number of followers or engagement rate rather than who their followers are and what the influencer stands for. The best way to do avoid this is to do your homework and dig into potential influencers’ history to really understand who they are and what they believe in. Make sure that you brand and its values aligns with theirs.

  1. Lack of measurement

If you’re not measuring your results against your goals, there’s no way of gaging your campaign’s success. This is a mistake among tons of brands participating in influencer marketing. While they’re going through all the appropriate steps to rolling out a successful influencer campaign, they’re not doing the after-work to study its effectiveness and tweak it going forward. Brands may be working with influencers who get tons of likes but if those likes aren’t converting to followers for you or sales for your business, was it really successful?

To properly measure your influencer marketing efforts, try to stay away from “vanity metrics” (meaningless figures that can easily be manipulated or inflated) and instead focus on things like key performance indicators (KPI’s) involving relationships, engagement, awareness, perception, and purchase consideration.

  1. Treating influencer marketing like a revolving door

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. Influencer marketing is a long game, not a short one. Brands who do one-off campaigns with influencers aren’t doing themselves any favors. Many brands “date” a bunch of different influencers but don’t create any lasting relationships with them.

While brands may think that partnering with different influencers allows them a fresh crop of followers to be exposed to, the benefits of working with influencers who regularly represent your brand may outweigh that. This type of campaign is much more authentic. This is especially true because an influencer who is interested in doing one-off campaigns may very well be working for your competition tomorrow. Not only does it hurt their credibility to be doing this, it hurts yours as well. Find influencers who believe in your brand and who are loyal to your cause.

  1. Lack of relationship management

A hugely underestimated factor when it comes to successful influencer marketing is relationship management. Influencers are people people (or at least they should be). They thrive on interpersonal relationships and this is no different when they’re conducting their business and looking for collaborations.

Building relationships with influencers is sometimes easier said than done though. Brand or marketing employees may feel uncomfortable reaching out to strangers and may even avoid it in fear of being rejected or ignored altogether. Mastering the initial reach-out and ensuing conversation is key to a successful partnership.

Ideally, the bulk of the first few conversations should be centered around how the brand can add value to the influencer’s own objectives. By doing this, you’re showing them that they aren’t just a commodity to you and that you value their brand as well.

  1. Too much focus on meaningless metrics

For the amateur brand or marketing agent, they focus solely on metrics like number of followers or amount of likes per photo. This is a huge mistake. Too many brands are number-focused rather than objective-focused. Instead of aiming to build trust or increase brand awareness, they’re aiming for x number of likes or link clicks. Sure, this works in the short term, but influencer marketing requires more than that.

Brands and marketers alike need to shift their focus from the meaningless metrics to how well their campaigns are helping them reach their goals. If they’re not connecting with the right audience and in the right way, you aren’t doing anything for the metrics that actually matter for your business.


To learn more about social media marketing and how to engage successfully at influencer marketing, click here.