5 of The Craziest Influencer Marketing Mistakes – And How to Avoid Them

WRITTEN BY SAIF - CO-FOUNDER OF MIN |  Updated On Thursday, April 5, 2018 ;
9 Minute Read

Influencer Marketing did some crazy things in 2017.

Brands like Sephora, Mercedes Benz and the masters of branded Influencer Marketing, Daniel Wellington, all utilised it to phenomenal effect.

In fact, most likely all of your marketing buddies are still talking about the value of it.

But it often leads to questions like:

Does influencer marketing really work?


Can I really grow my business through it?

The short answer is, you bet. And all that conversation can only mean one thing:

That Influencer marketing is here to stay in 2018.

Think of people like entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk.


Baker, actress and author, Rosanna Pansino.

or another example being…

The singing Dentist!

Influencers exist today in nearly every field.

All you have to do is find the relevant Influencer for your business and connect with them.

Easier said than done, I hear you say.

But it really can be that simple. All you have to do is avoid these crazy mistakes to set yourself up for Influencer Marketing success in 2018.

But First of All, Let’s Understand What it is… And What it Isn’t

It isn’t PR.

Think of it this way. A PR campaign is a one-way street.

Then, what is it?

Mark Growth describe it as, “the action of promoting and selling products or services through people (influencers) who have the capacity to have an effect on the character of a brand.”

Ahh, so, Influencer Marketing is about creating conversation.


But, is this a new concept?

Well, kind of.

In the late 90’s it was recognised that interception marketing, i.e the concept of making your prospects stop what they’re doing, to market to them, was doomed.

There was wholesale appreciation that permission marketing, i.e where you let the consumer decide who they want to listen to, had to be the focus.

But with the creation of Youtube in 2005 & Facebook in 2006, the way brands had to think completely transformed.

Okay, short history lesson over.

In layman’s terms, Influencer Marketing comes from people with (well put simply), Influence.

It’s people you like (and if you’re honest with yourself, maybe they’re people you love too), and trust.

That trust then converts to loyalty and you doing and following what they do.

Add your business to that and it looks a little something like this:


Building brands and a large following is both time consuming and expensive.

Influencers provide a quick solution to both those problems.

You leverage their audience through partnerships, accessing massive amounts of followings which equals huge brand exposure for you.

If you go about things the right way, you can amplify your brand’s message to thousands, if not millions of people in a matter of hours.

But that’s not happening for a lot of brands.


There are too many mistakes being made.

Here are some of the craziest ones to avoid.

1. Believing It’s Not Worth Putting a Side a Budget for It

Influencer Marketing, when done right, is ridiculously powerful.

It’s also both efficient (as you can quickly leverage a huge audience base), and effective (the engagement rate of an Influencers content is typically much higher than that of a business).

In fact, Influencer Marketing is the most effective way to market your product.

Here are some Influencer Marketing Statistics to convince you (if you still need convincing that is)…

On average, businesses are seeing a 10X return on investment (Tomoson).

It also has been noted as being twice as cost-effective compared to digital paid media.

39% of marketers will increase Influencer marketing budgets in 2018.

Equating to an amount over 1 billion dollars for Influencer Marketing alone.

And 71 percent of marketers felt that influencer marketing helps them raise brand awareness on social media (In.com).

These numbers are huge.

To really grow your brand in 2018, make sure you put aside a budget for Influencer Marketing.


2. Not Focusing on the ‘Relationship Side’ With an Influencer

Business relations shouldn’t necessarily mean you treat everyone with formality.

In the end of the day, with Influencer Marketing, you’re dealing with human beings.

Think about this.

Before you choose someone to become your life partner, you get to know them a little better, right?

You would build the relationship with them, prove yourself to them and earn their trust before you’d ask them for their hand in marriage.

An Influencer relationship has got to be treated the same (okay maybe don’t ask for their hand in marriage, but whatever floats your boat n’all).

When reaching out to them directly, by email, social messaging or their websites, focus on laying the foundations first.

Don’t start with “we want you to post x amount of times, on x amount of days for x amount of money.”

Especially if they’re a larger Influencer and you’re a small to medium-sized business. It’ll just put them off.

Start by praising their work, recognising their achievements and focusing on their unique value – and how that resonates with you.

Once you’ve established the line of communication and built that trust, you can then start the business talk.

So, start with showing them some love.

It has the power to turn being blanked into building beneficial, blossoming and fruitful relations.


3. Falling for the Big Numbers

“300,000 on Instagram?”

“Half a million on Facebook?”

“And other 400,000 on Twitter?”

“I must work with them!”

No, no, no. Stop.

Before you think an Influencer is a perfect fit because of their big numbers, be wary.

Unfortunately, the reality is that there are many ways to manipulate your numbers on social media.

People have the ability to purchase followers, buy likes and acquire comments. Meaning it can be really difficult for to you to see the true value in an Influencer campaign.

As a business in 2018, this is something you really need to become more and more aware of.

There are a few telltale signs a following is fake.

If an Influencers bio on their social profiles is poor (such as poor spelling, or in some case none existent), stay well away.

Also, if their engagement rate doesn’t correlate to their number of followers, run a mile too.



Okay, I know what you’re thinking.

“How can I define engagement rate?”

Simply put, it’s the percentage derived from likes + shares or comments, divided by the number of followers.

The typical engagement rate for someone with between one thousand and ten thousand is around 4%.

The percentage you’re looking at for someone with between ten thousand and one hundred thousand is around 2.7% (Neilson Report 2016).

This drops further with those with followings between one hundred thousand and a million followers, with the percentage dropping to around 1.5%.


If you’re seeing numbers that don’t correlate, you’re better of tucking your money back under your bed.

No one wants to work with someone who is fake or unethical.

After all, only real people can buy your products.

4. Not Having a Influencer Marketing Strategy – I.e No Goals or Measurement of Success for Your Campaign

Just like how you set financial goals for your business (and if you’re not, all I can say is yikes), you need to set goals for your Influencer campaign.

After all, how will you know if the partnership was successful?

And not just any goals. These goals have to be SMART.

I’m not talking about the kind of goals where you say, “I want to get more traffic to my site”, or “I want to increase my Instagram following.”

I’m talking about the goals that are actually specifically measurable.

This way you’ll be able to value the partnership and know what type of Influencer is right for your brand.

SMART goals are goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.



There are variations of what the acronym stands for, but the above has to be my favourite.

Start with having a clear vision for the campaign.

Instead of asking for generic details, you’ll ask, for example, them to deliver, ‘x amount of posts to generate x amount of Instagram followers in x amount of days/ weeks.’

This way you’ll see that the Influencer will care more about what is asked of them, simply because they and you yourself know the specifics requirements.

Clarity is key. It puts to bed ambiguity.

Everyone knows what’s expected of them, and what will be given in return. It allows you to measure successes, and failures early on.

It gives the Influencer the direction they need, instead of just posting without rationale and reason.

And through that, most importantly, you’ll know if the Influencer is yielding the desired ROI.

A great Influencer Marketing platform that can help you measure your campaign is Klear.

Looks like it really does pay to be SMART.



5. Restricting Their Creative Freedom

Your image represents who you are.

So if someone was to tell you what to wear, how to live your life and put you in a straightjacket, how would that make you feel?

Let’s face facts. Nobody likes to feel like they are being controlled.

So why do we feel we can do this with Influencers?

Remember, just as much as you think an Influencer needs you, you probably need them a lot more.

Influencer marketing is a two-way relationship. Of equal strength.

So it’s important both you and the Influencer know that.

“The ‘I pay you, so I own you’ mentality should not exist in 2018.” – Jeff Bulas.

The biggest detriment isn’t just the loss of an Influencer’s trust.

Asking them to do something different to the image and style they have developed will come across as fake.

And the worst thing is, it will undermine your brand.

An Influencer’s creativity led to them getting their huge followings in the first place.

They most likely already know how different people respond to different posts.

So work with them.

Without a doubt, provide them with the guidance as said above, share ideas and learn what you both want. You have to trust them, for them to trust you.

That’s why it’s called a collaboration in the first place.

Remember, We all value our freedom. Don’t create a negative energy.

By avoiding this mistake, you’ll get that crazy success from your Influencer Marketing campaign all your friends have been bragging about.

In Conclusion

Influencer Marketing can work to magical scales for a brand when valued and utilised properly.

These five crazy mistakes to avoid will go a long way in helping you be able to do that.

It starts with firstly appreciating the value of the medium in the first place.

Then it’s all about building trust with the Influencer. That’s the only way authentic and meaningful content will be created.

Once you connect with them (and now that you know how if their following is real), engage in regular dialogue with them, encourage them and don’t undermine that trust.

Combining all this will give the Influencer the confidence to be creative (albeit, directed by you), meaning you deliver engagement for your brand like never before.

All this will translate into more ROI, and best of all, you being the one those Influencer Marketing Campaign bragging rights in front of all your friends.

What are the craziest Influencer Marketing mistakes you’ve heard about? Let me know your thoughts below.

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