Why Is Influencer Marketing Bad

A year ago I experienced an incredibly exciting first when a brand came to me directly and asked me to do some marketing work for them. As an experienced social media consultant, this wasn’t my first job, but it was one of the first times I was fully booked with gigs. It was exciting at the time, but I was wary at how it would end. I wanted my first client, however, to be a great brand and I wasn’t sure if it would be.

I spent some time reading the client documents, going over emails sent from them and even talked with my client about what they wanted me to do. I’ve done some amazing things for brands in the past, but I didn’t want to embarrass myself with something similar. I made a list of priorities and knew what to expect from my first client.

In reality, my work for this brand did not do anything on the level I’d expected. They wanted me to post a few posts on Instagram and create a story for their clients to share. I had every intention of going above and beyond in helping them get more views to their content. The first post never went up, but the second and third posts were produced. The story I created on the last post received 400 likes and retweets with over 500 new followers. The last day I spent with them was productive, but it just wasn’t what I’d been told it was going to be.

In the end I decided to walk away. If I had not seen examples of good influencer marketing from another industry this would never have happened. I would have relied on a hundred references, blown past the interview requirements, been sleep deprived, not even be able to finish my casserole, but somehow have been able to put this work in place for my first client.

However, it wasn’t the content or the job description or even the assignments that wasn’t working. It was the foundation of how they approached this task and how it compared to my own expectations. You have to understand what is and isn’t the norm to figure out how to do it better.

Why is influencer marketing bad?

There are four ways influencer marketing doesn’t work.

Reaching the same audience as existing content

That’s all influencer marketing is: reusing content that already exists. When a brand creates content that lives within a social space, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat, they automatically assume that everyone wants to post something of theirs. They assume that the messaging for the content is the same as for everyone else. This creates very little target audience.

If they create a post in one medium they assume it’s appropriate for everyone to see. Essentially, they take a content that everyone seems to love and make it a product they’re selling. The outcome of this is a lower ROI.

Non-standard expectations

If the influencer were to post only under four topics they would not create a targeted audience. A general strategy will not yield sufficient results. This is to not assume any influencer would be perfect for every topic. Even if they are, they would have to showcase how effective they are at the same time they showcase their subject expertise.

Brand control

Integrated social media planning where an influencer organizes his or her own media event and helps create the content to be shared should be commonplace.

The result of this is a marketing campaign that was not created in the best way and ultimately a project that the influencer ends up developing as a project that is too big to manage.

The importance of knowing your audience

Making sure the influencer understands the needs of the audience being serviced is an absolute must. The influencer’s strategy should not be based on establishing an online following to grow the brand’s overall reach. The engagement of their follower base could result in the people who are most likely to buy the products they create using a social influencer being acquired and sold by the brand.

Having your own agenda and treating every engagement as though it is of the utmost importance cannot be done. Only by thinking about the way you would do it yourself and doing it yourself you will find success.

By treating your influencer project like it was your own, you ensure you succeed and that they don’t put in similar hours to your client. By treating your project as an extension of your own marketing you will be ahead of the game.

Knowing that influencer marketing is not the same as ordinary work is the first step to taking your project beyond the cheap shot. By knowing that there are four ways influencer marketing doesn’t work, you know how to spot these pitfalls before your time at an influencer marketing company is up.