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Six reasons why an influencer marketing campaign can fail

I’m amazed how often really talented marketers ask me: “I paid an influencer to promote my product, why didn’t it sell out?”

There are so many reasons why an influencer campaign can fall short of expectations. The first is that your expectations were too high in the first place. There’s still a perception that influencer marketing is a silver bullet that you can aim at pretty much anything for instant results.

Expecting a single post to sell out your product is like running one TV ad or radio spot, on one channel, one time only. It might work, but it’s pretty unlikely. Obviously, a targeted campaign backed by strong assets and messaging, plus appropriate spend across a number of channels or timeslots, has a much greater chance of success.

Think of using influencers in the same way. You need a cohesive and well-considered strategy, not ‘I have some money left over this quarter, let’s get some influencers to do some posts’.

If your influencer campaign didn’t work here are reasons why, and the questions you need to answer before starting your next campaign.


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You’re not sure what you’re trying to achieve

Is it ‘brand awareness’? Are you a new brand, hoping to make potential customers aware of who you are? Is it ‘interest and consideration’? Are you using influencers to share more product information, aligning with them for positioning and for positive endorsement? Is it ‘intent and evaluation’? Are you using them to drive traffic to a landing page with more information on the product/service, using coupon/discount codes? Or is it ‘retention and reactivation’? Are people already familiar with your brand and products/services, and you want to use influencers to stay top-of-mind, build further loyalty, target inactive customers?

Your assets aren’t ready

Is your website ready for the traffic from your Instagram campaign? Have you set up a landing page to send the traffic to? Is the mobile experience of your website fantastic? (Social media users will most likely be on mobile or tablet.) Can customers easily transact via mobile – can they enter card details, add items to their cart, easily input their address and shipping options? Have you set up UTM links for each influencer so you can check traffic that they drive to site? Is your Instagram page ready for an influencer campaign – is the campaign landing page link in the bio of your Instagram, and have you set tracking on this so you know what traffic is being driven to your site from your Instagram page? Does your Instagram account include images and video of the product/service you are promoting, with shoppable links if relevant?

Your team isn’t ready

Are your team or agency ready to respond to questions, comments or DMs on pricing, availability and shipping? Is the rest of your marketing configured to leverage an influencer campaign? Is retargeting set up for customers who visit your website and social pages? Do you have campaigns ready to move them through the funnel, retargeting them with discount codes, free shipping, testimonials, and case studies? Do you have other marketing (print, TVC, online) ready to support the influencer campaign? Have you allocated paid spend to boost each influencer post beyond its organic reach?


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You don’t have the right influencer

Did you vet the influencer by checking their engagement rate, where their followers are based and the age and gender of those followers? Did you look at the influencers’ interests and content and see if it aligns with your brand and desired target audience? Did you check to see if they have worked with a competing brand recently? Have you checked their follower growth over time to make sure it’s authentic?

Your influencer isn’t set up to succeed

Did you provide them with a brief that included the brand information, hashtags and key messaging? Have you ensured they set up the brand handshake/’In Paid Partnership with’ feature on Instagram, and have you approved their request in your Instagram? Have you briefed them of your requirement to submit content for approval before posting, to ensure it meets your brand guidelines and tone of voice? Did you reshare the content across your socials to drive further social proof?

Your product/service is wrong for this medium

What is the purchasing process for your product? Is it a big-ticket item like a mobile phone, that users are unlikely to ‘click to buy’ in the first transaction? Is it an item that people purchase infrequently like a bed mattress, that is going to have a longer sales cycle and more touch points before they make a purchase decision?

Consider this:

–          54% of users on social media use it to research products

–          49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations, and 40% purchased something after seeing it on Twitter, YouTube or Instagram

–          According to an influencer marketing study by Tomoson, businesses earn $6.50 for each dollar spent on influencers

–          22% of marketers say influencer marketing is the most cost-effective method of obtaining new customers

–          67% of marketers plan to increase their budgets in the next 12 months, particularly on Instagram

–          74% of consumers trust opinions they find on social media, including those from friends, families and influencers, to help make decisions about buying a product or service.

If your influencer campaign hasn’t achieved the results you were expecting, it’s worth going back to the fundamental questions and structure. We have found that with a strategic and methodical approach, influencer marketing can deliver incredible rewards.


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