Years of Experience

There are often people out there that try and exploit new industries for their own personal benefit. Also, people naturally pick up bad habits when entering new industries. Both cases can be applied to Influencer Marketing.

Because of this, to continue to optimise every pound spent on Influencers, every marketer needs to continue avoiding the traps which the relatively new industry has brought along with it. Just as Google and Microsoft had to reduce spam in email marketing and ad bot money wastage in the PPC industry, we have to deal with certain obstacles in the Influencer world.

PMYB was founded in 2015 and we have been running Influencer campaigns ever since. For such a young industry, we have had the luxury of building and retaining a very experienced team in the Influencer space. As a result, we’ve experienced both the glories and the hurdles that the industry has brought over the years.  Alike in all industries, there are going to be these hurdles you need to overcome. However, along the way, some hurdles become mountains, and they require a clear plan of how to avoid them. The same case also applies to Influencer Marketing. There are some things that you really need to avoid when identifying Influencers, analysing Influencers, managing Influencers and creating Influencer content, as well as designing and implementing your approach.

Because of this, we’d like to support everyone that is hoping to build upon the success they’ve been seeing in their Influencer marketing strategies.  We’ve put together our personal list of 7 deadly Influencer Marketing sins that every brand, marketer and person experimenting with Influencers should avoid at all costs. We hope this list guides you through your next Influencer marketing endeavours.

PMYB’s Seven Deadly Sins of Influencer Marketing

1. Treating Influencers like Influencers

You’re most likely confused by the header above. But the fact of the matter is that Influencers don’t want to be treated like Influencers. Gone are the days where a button gets clicked and your ad is online. Now you have to put your faith into a beloved personality who has built a dedicated following. They aren’t just ad campaigns you can turn on or off – They’re real people that perform best when you treat them like people rather than an advertising platform. That’s why our delivery team at PMYB regularly make efforts to stay in touch and meet up with our network of Influencers.

Like an account manager needs to regularly communicate and cultivate relationships with clients, you as a marketer need to develop those close relations with Influencers. Once you do, you’ll find that they are more co-operative, put in more effort and you may even get better deals with them, depending on the Influencer. Attach a face to your name!

Western Union campaign content

Joe (PMYB campaign manager), Kieran Brown (Chromo-Influencer™) & George (PMYB campaign manager)

Having spoken to hundreds of Influencers, some Influencers don’t even like being called Influencers, as it ‘commercialises’ them. Remember, the main reason they create content is that it’s their passion. Essentially, that’s why they’ve been able to develop this following and why they need to make sure they don’t bombard their followers with sponsored posts every single day. We find that our Chromo-Influencers™ tend to perform better when they aren’t constantly plugging brands, especially brands within the same industry. Nonetheless, consumers often seek guidance from Influencers with regards to purchasing decisions nowadays. In fact, a recent survey conducted found that 81% of people admitted to making purchases because of Influencers. A further 26% admitted to spending £500 or more because of Influencers.

2. Disrespecting your Core Values

Two of the things many brands have struggled with over the years is the selection of suitable Influencers and knowing whether they are going to be effective. Knowing they’re going to be effective is something that took us time to understand – it took months of research into what actually makes them effective in the first place. However, that is one hurdle. The first hurdle you need to get past is ensuring the Influencer you’re going to work with is a good representative of your brand and what your company stands for. Too many times have we seen brands opt Influencers just for their name and clout, without thinking about the impact it’s going to have on the perception of their brand. Not long again we wrote about how it’s so crucial to make sure your Influencer’s values align with your brands. Read the full article here.

To identify an Influencer that’s going to perform well for you, you need to ensure that the Influencer you select is relevant to your brand. You need to know that the perception of your brand is going to be well-received by your target audience. At the end of the day, your brand isn’t just a name or logo. It’s a collection of experiences and thoughts people associate with your company. So it’s important for us all to ensure we don’t make a mockery of our core values for the sake of short-term gain. Aligning your brand with powerful Influencers that match your brand’s identity will bring more long-term success.

3. Skipping Background Checks

Speaking of core values, the worst thing you could do is to align your brand with someone who’s recently been in the news for a big scandal. This one goes without saying – For every Influencer you use, you need to do your due diligence. At the very least you should do a few Google searches.

At PMYB, we delve deeper and identify when and where there have been incidents that may negatively impact our clients, as well as who they associate themselves with. Every Influencer we use is thoroughly researched. If there is a time where something controversial has happened, depending on the level controversy, we will replace them or present the situation to our client, prior to using them. As a partner, it’s our responsibility to make sure there are no cobwebs in the closet and it’s our responsibility to enlighten our clients of potential issues that may negatively impact their brand.

Sometimes our clients actually opt to give us a list of requirements for the influencers they want to work with. For example, for one of our banking clients, Barclays, we needed to ensure that the Influencers selected had no prior criminal convictions. Clearly associating a bank with someone who has a deep criminal history would not be appropriate.

4. Inorganic Content. Not Giving Enough Creative Freedom to Influencers

This one may sound like a cliché nowadays but it’s still so important – That’s why we’ve included it in the list.

Speaking on a panel the Marketing magazine’s PR Asia conference, blogger Jemimah James Wei, argued that while she is very much open to having brand guidelines, she personally prefers to work with brands that give her creative freedom. She also mentioned that she likes to take on projects with agencies that she has already worked with. She said that that’s because the relationship has been already been established and the agency will trust her creative direction.

As mentioned before, 99% of the time Influencers haven’t reached thousands or millions of followers by chance. They’ve done it through consistently producing powerful content, learning about their audiences and engaging with their audiences whilst being their genuine selves. By removing an element of their creative freedom, you remove an element of your ability to convert more customers. Nobody knows their audience more than them and that’s why you need to listen to them.

Groupon Campaign content

PMYB x Groupon Influencer campaign content

5. Giving Full Creative Freedom to Every Influencer

On the other hand, don’t give every Influencer the same amount of creative freedom. With all honesty, most Influencers can be relied upon to do a great job 95-100% of the time. We ensure that we only work with reliable Influencers as we simply cannot afford to upset our clients.

However, in our years of running campaigns, we’ve come across the odd person who is only inspired by money and not so interested in the impact their endorsement has on the brand they’re representing. Some people aren’t even interested in the perception their audiences have of them. For this reason, sometimes you need to really consider the level of creative freedom you’re giving to the influencers you’re working with.

Additionally, it’s important to give every Influencer you work with some form of guidelines. For example, if your KPI is driving traffic, make sure their post includes a clear call-to-action. You can guide them, but you should never tell them how they’re supposed to speak. If they communicate using slang terminology in all of their posts, either let them speak using slang or just don’t use them! No sponsored Influencer post should ever sound forced or unnatural. If they are, you’re limiting the potential of that sponsored post.

6. Opting a Quick-fix Approach Over a Mission-based Approach

One-off posts dominated the industry in 2017 and parts of 2018, and it’s something that was very backwards. Additionally, something that has negatively impacted results in Influencer campaigns across the globe is the ‘quick-fix approach’. The quick-fix approach consists of spending large amounts on Influencers and content without actually testing what works first, as well as discovering why certain things are working.

We developed a new approach that helped us to create much more impactful campaigns and optimise every pound our clients spend, a Mission-based approach. Missions are experiments you conduct in a campaign to help you achieve your wider company campaign objectives. These experiments are your mini-objectives. For example, let’s say your main company objective is to increase sales or downloads. Your mini-objectives may be to discover the most effective…

  • Influencer niche
  • Social platform
  • Type of content
  • Call-to-action wording
  • Content location
  • Demographic

Once you understand every variable impacting your sales, you can use these insights to optimise future spends in future campaigns. Each mission should be tactful and focus on your brand’s challenges. You should use these missions to gather useful data and findings ready for future missions. Every consecutive mission should be more results-focused – That means collecting data from earlier missions and acting on them.

NUU Mobile campaign content (Scarlett)

PMYB x NUU Mobile campaign content

7. Over-reliance of Follower Counts and Engagement Rates

We couldn’t end this list without adding this one. Fake follower subscriptions and engagement automation have plagued the industry since the alpha (beginning). Although it only gained widespread coverage and recognition in 2018, fraudulent followers and engagements have been around as early as 2013. These websites have been around nearly as long as social media has been around. A high percentage of Influencers and content creators have been part-taking in some form of fraudulent activity for years. Because of this, you can’t just accept the ‘vanity metrics’ which have negatively affected the industry.

How PMYB ensure our Influencers have Genuine Followers and Engagement

Between 2016 and 2017, PMYB conducted a deep study to identify why the highest-performing Influencers are so effective. In doing so, we discovered various trends among the highest-performing Influencers. We condensed this into 46 factors that we found to impact the behaviour of consumers.

Now each Influencer we consider using in our client campaigns is rated against these 46 factors. Since then we have developed upon this method of analysis, strengthening it through experimentation and the assessment of real-life campaign data. The analysis takes into account scientific principles such as their verbal and non-verbal communication skills, as well as their follower growth rates.

Supercharging your Influencer Marketing Strategy

Evidently, Influencer Marketing is effective – hundreds of well-known global brands understand this – and that’s why it’s been adopted so widely. However, there are of course certain things you need to be aware of when implementing campaigns. For example, as mentioned in the post above, you need to ensure that you treat Influencers with respect and give them the amount of creative freedom they require to make help you optimise your spend. You need to let the Influencer Agency or the Influencer you’re working with to take control. The top Influencer agencies and Influencers (particularly Chromo-Influencers™) are talented at what they do – they haven’t grown followings by chance. They know what they’re doing.

As always, we’d love to hear how the Influencer marketing tips within this post aid you and your company in your upcoming campaigns. Feel free to get in touch in the comments section below. Also, if we can be of any assistance don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team for a free consultation.

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