6 Ways to Lose Money While Working with Bloggers & Influencers
Just some sad real-life stories from working experience of marketing specialists and some advice how to avoid the same mistakes.
lebowski
In 2019, influencer marketing is not a trend — it's a must-have SMM method that any promotion specialist should use.

The efficiency of influencers' help in terms of promotion is backed up by data. 60% of users trust bloggers and about 73% follow them and look forward to the updates.

At first sight, the process of working with influencers may seem easy: agree on advertising → make advertisements → enjoy your profit. But in reality the budget is wasted more frequently than you expect. Here are some ways that are nothing but the money blown:

1. Trust the account's statistics

An account with 10k followers is surely more impressive than the one with 2k, but should we really pay that much attention to the followers and account statistics? The answer is both yes and no. The data given by different services may help to create the first impression, but you shouldn't rely on it completely.

The thing is that two thousand real followers actively interacting with page are more effective than 10k or 100k bots. Many people believe that the higher Engagement Rate is, the more profit it will bring, so the budget won't be wasted. But it's important to understand that ER, Love Rate, Talk Rate and views (stories/videos), as well as other indicators of involvement, are easy to buy. It's much cheaper than achieving real high rates.

What can I do? It's vital to conduct a complex analysis (not only the data analysis, but also the quality analysis, which means reading comments and examine if they're real or fake) and structure the work so that your budget would be protected from being wasted on fake audience.

The worst experience that we've seen was related to Bounty programs, common for international crowdfunding projects. The idea of Bounty is that once you joined, you need to complete some small tasks and get a particular amount of stakes for them (stakes are parts of the Bounty funds). The tasks are really easy — you just need to make a repost or like some posts. It's clear that if the Bounty participants are conscientious, the company will reach a broad audience.

As a result, people realized that it's possible to create as many accounts as you want, buy a few "friends" on the exchanges — and voila! Now each participant can be added to the program under several accounts, do simple actions that will not bring any result to the company, and get more stakes for it! In fact, the budgets of Bounty programs are simply distributed among the participants and bring almost no benefit to companies!

2. Choose influencers by recommendations
people
We tend to trust the recommendations, but in case of influenсer marketing it may be a trap. It is clear that different products can be popular in different ways when promoted by the same influencer. But even if we take into account the similarity of products, the results can turn out very different. For example, the audience's location and the blogger's attitude towards the product can affect the result, or the audience can simply "burn out".

For instance, the company working on a technological project was recommended a "great blogger". So they insisted on turning to that blogger, specializing actually in digital business transformation, for attracting investments to their project. Imagine the disappointment of the company's management, when they realized that there were many visitors, but there was no investment at all. It was especially disappointing if you take into account that the post costed about $10,000.

What to do? It's vital to conduct a research to understand each influencer's contribution into the overall campaign result.

3. Use the same strategy for different influencers

You spent day and night creating a great post, which, in your opinion, should get into the collection of "2019 Best Selling Texts", but your influencer database includes automobile bloggers, young moms and business coaches…

The practical side of influencer marketing shows that it's impossible to spread one and the same material among different influencers. Even if bloggers work in a similar niche, everyone has their own approaches, intonations and accents. When unifying the material, the advertiser deprives the post of native advertising, which is the most valuable feature of influencer marketing! It turns out that you have to create the possibility of introducing something unique for each and every case.

What to do? Choose some different approach: give a chosen blogger a considered commercial offer and provide him or her with the solution to the problem. Describe the product, give a task, indicate what is allowed to do and let the blogger make a post. The influencer will make it in the most natural way to his audience. That would be the right thing to do.

Here is the example of cooperation with a financial adviser on the topic of investment. After several unsuccessful (according to the results) interactions with different influencers, who were always given clear instructions on how to advertise the product, one quite active financial adviser appeared on the horizon, so it was decided to invite him to the promotion campaign.

It's interesting that it was not specified what to promote and in what way. The only thing that was described in detail was the product itself: its core principles, technology and benefits. And that's it. During his speech, that adviser started talking about the product, enthusiastically shared his opinion and regularly mentioned that the project could be invested in. Thanks to that approach, that financial opinion leader managed to attract $10,000 of investments for the company, thus earning well himself, as he received certain percent of all the investments that he lured. That's what happens when you hit the right audience and the right approach in working with the influencer.

4. Ask bloggers only for sales
bad marketing
Influencers are a great channel for sales, but if you want only sales all the time, you will soon kill that golden goose. We all know about the "banner blindness", so, if you constantly ask influencers for sales only, one fine day you will have to face something like "blogger deafness".

What to do? The answer is obvious, it is necessary not to sell directly, but involve the audience in communication with the brand. Creative and viral mechanics can be helpful in this case.

Many advertising campaigns today include the sales funnels that warm up the audience, and other wise techniques of up sales, cross sales and down sales instead of a simple "Buy it!" and "Our sweets are the sweetest sweets in the world!". It is not about the "culture of placement", it is the result of ineffectiveness of advertising campaigns that call to "buy right now".

Influence marketing will inevitably come to the funnels — this fact should be understood and taken into consideration and usage. Today, when planning influencing campaigns, it's necessary to work out proper "keep-in-touch" strategy, which starts with not selling anything, but introducing the product and educating the audience.

5. Not identifying your goals in numbers

As everywhere, opportunities depend on the budget size, but every influencer campaign should have its goals set in numbers. These goals could be different: from simple post-click analysis metrics to large-scale Brand Lift research.

What to do? Always set goals in numbers. If you need sales from bloggers and ambassadors — fix them. And if you're working on raising awareness, increasing engagement, or other brand objectives — create mechanics that work for increasing brand outreach and awareness, engagement and keeping your audience. Measure results at the most accessible level and compare with your goals. Then optimize them.

6. Not using instruments

Digital marketing has tools almost for everything! For example, for quick design you can use canva.com, for autoposting — SMMPlanner.com and Amplifr.com, for the ads analysis — Mixpanel.com, for client accounting and marketing automation — CountingWorksPro.com. You have multitude of instruments to address an ocean of challenges.

We have noticed that some companies start using promo codes. Yes, it's better than nothing! However, promo codes have some significant drawbacks. For example, website visitors can forget or mix up the promo codes, do not enter them at all, if there is not enough motivation, enter a code incorrectly and don't get the promised bonus, and influencers, meanwhile, often can't see when and how many people used their promo codes, which doesn't let them make improvements, doesn't add optimism and desire to work.

What to do? Influencers and ambassadors can use the great variety of tools (such as TrendKite.com), that allow you set up the tasks for bloggers in a flexible way with very different aims of the campaign, measure the results of influencer on one or more target actions and even automatically pay to each participating blogger depending on the quantity and quality the customers he or she has brought.

Sum-up

Remember that influencer marketing is a complex of various tasks that require analysis, control and result evaluation. Be aware that it's easy to waste your budget by believing the bloggers' and influencers' promises, or by blindly following recommendations and popular methods of influencer selection for advertising campaigns.

Mass looking, mass liking and mass following are the essential part of our lives. Though, Instagram is fighting with mass following and even threatens to hide likes, those who wanted to buy followers — did it a long time ago. So always analyze potential ambassadors' accounts thoroughly before starting working with them and don't forget to evaluate the efficiency afterwards.

And,of course, pay only for your business profit, not for the posts with unpredictable outreach and blurred efficiency.
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