8 Influencer Marketing Mistakes CPGs Make | Online Sales Guide Tips

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There is a tremendous amount of excitement about influencers today. Influencers can help CPGs solve so many challenges like saving de-listed items, launching a new product, educating consumers on complicated products or updates and helping increase basket size. But working with influencers is not as simple as it might seem at first glance and along the way you might find yourself in a bit of a pickle. Here are some typical influencer marketing mistakes that CPGs make:

1. Not establishing clear objectives/KPIs at the start of a campaign and communicating them internally.

It’s so important to align everyone across the organization on the objectives and the KPIs at the onset of any influencer campaign. This is imperative since there is often no clear owner of influencer marketing. Is it owned by brand, the shopper marketer, digital or PR? Each might have a different perspective on objectives and measurement.

2. Thinking influencer marketing is another form of direct marketing.

Influencer marketing is a valuable asset to marketing. Not only do influencers light up engaged audiences and provide an inroad to audience expansion, but also their content provides real relevance for brands today. Influencer content is not another direct marketing vehicle and should not be treated as such. Yes, calls-to-action can be included within influencer content, but expectations need to be set for the advertiser. If not, the  brand-influencer content does not work like a direct response ad, one that is packed with product benefits and structured for direct sales. Influencer content is about context and storytelling that influences a decision and moves someone to ultimately buy. It’s a softer sell than direct response.

3. Not remembering it is all about people stories, not brand stories.

People want real stories, not advertising. A study by Havas back in 2013 showed 73% of people wouldn’t care if brands disappeared. People trust people talking about brands and how they provide context and relevance. It’s important to never turn an influencer into a shill. Let them tell your brand’s story their way. They know what type of content their audience engages with. 

4. Changing direction after influencers have been briefed.

Nothing will destroy a relationship with an influencer quicker than briefing them and then mid-campaign changing the direction. It’s better to take your time writing the brief and verbally briefing the influencer when possible than rushing to get the brief out only to have to make changes. The brief should have a checklist to help the influencer make sure they’ve met all the requests.

5. Handcuffing the influencer’s creativity.

The worst thing you can do is to tell an influencer what to create. They want to please the brands they work with and get asked to work for them again and again. When you handcuff their creativity you not only stifle their enthusiasm for the campaign, you won’t get their best work. In my experience, this is a hard lesson learned for clients who insist on controlling the creative process.

6. Messing with the influencer’s voice.

Every influencer develops a unique voice over time, which his or her audiences come to recognize. Inserting dictated copy, legal language into their content or making edits of their copy typically sticks out in context. Not to mention, prescribed content puts the influencer in violation of the FTC disclosure “all opinions are my own.”

7. Being fearful of innovation.

Social platforms are changing every day, or so it seems, and there can be missed opportunities if you sit back and wait and see. While influencer content should never be treated as a direct response tactic, we have seen promising success with coupons attached to influencer content across a couple of categories. Amazing influencer content sets the perfect stage for a purchase and the coupon tied to it is a win/win situation for the reader.

8. Thinking it’s all about celebrity influencers.

We conducted several studies this past year on the topic of influencers because it’s a question that comes up every day. A nine-month study of our community influencers showed a drop off of in engagement once the influencer reached 100,000 followers. It makes sense: the bigger the audience, the farther apart the engagement. We also studied celebrity versus non-celeb influencers and their impact on purchase behavior. Once again, non-celeb influencers are more apt to influence a purchase to the tune of 30% more.

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